Daily Archives: May 23, 2013

You don’t say

“We have $19 million to lend, and we’d love to lend it to you. Press 3 for loans now.”

— A message on the voicemail of the west branch of the Wichita Federal Credit Union

Lou Robelli starts demolition of former Riverview Elementary School

WICHITA — When Lou Robelli purchased the former Riverview Elementary School near 53rd Street North and Seneca several years ago, his intent wasn’t to eventually tear it down. That’s what’s happening now, though.

“It hasn’t been a good investment,” Robelli says.

He’d hoped to convert the school into senior housing, but the building deteriorated due to vandalism.

Vandals stripped the building of its wiring and regularly broke windows, Robelli says.

“Refurbishing was impossible.”

Robelli says the “biggest mistake I made” was not taking the school district up on its offer of alarm services for a small monthly fee.

He says he may still build housing there or elsewhere, but he’s not sure yet.

“I’ve got other things on my plate right now,” says Robelli, who owns Air Capitol Delivery & Warehouse. “It’s really not a priority.”

So why raze the building now?

“Because the city’s on my butt.”

Loony Bin closes deal for downtown space

UPDATED — As expected, the owners of the Loony Bin closed a deal this week to buy the 13,000-square-foot building between First and Second streets on St. Francis across from the urban park on the southeast corner of Second and St. Francis.

“We hope to get open probably early fall, September or October at the latest, I would say,” says partner Jeff Jones.

The Loony Bin had been at 21st and Woodlawn in Oxford Square from 1999 until it closed in late March.

The new space is two buildings — one a single story and one that’s two stories — that are attached.

The 3,400-square-foot single-story space is where the comedy club will be. It will hold about 150, which is down from the 299 that the previous space held.

“Although that was pretty optimistic,” Jones says.

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