Daily Archives: July 10, 2013

Mayor and governor meet about Finney State Office Building; state may be zeroing in on new DCF space

WICHITA — The state appears to be zeroing in on new space for the Department for Children and Families near East 47th Street South and South Oliver, even as Mayor Carl Brewer is working to try to keep the office where it is.

“I have been digging into this, and I have heard from reliable folks that the state is looking at (that building),” said Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita), who has been critical of a possible move.

Brewer went to Topeka on Wednesday to visit with Gov. Sam Brownback about keeping DCF and other state agencies in the Finney State Office Building at 230 E. William.

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that the state of Kansas has notified the city of Wichita that its nine agencies that occupy the downtown building won’t be renewing their leases after 20 years in the city-owned space. That means more than 700 people will be moving, more than 550 of whom are with DCF.

According to Loopnet, an online commercial real estate site, there’s a two-story, 100,000-square-foot former Bank of America call center that’s available near the southwest corner of the intersection, and it looks like that’s what the state could be interested in.

“I hope that that’s not true,” Ward said. “I don’t think that’s a good spot. … I don’t think that’s a good location for those kinds of services.”

One of his concerns is that Jezebel’s, an adult club, is across the street.

“It’s not unusual for kids to be part of their parents’ dealing with the state,” Ward said.

He also wonders how accessible the site would be compared to the more centralized Finney building.

Brewer didn’t return calls for comment. A representative of the governor’s office confirmed the meeting but wouldn’t say anything more.

“I know that the governor and Mayor Brewer did in fact meet this morning,” said spokeswoman Sara Belfry. “I believe they talked about a couple of things, including the Wichita office building.”

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Jeff and Susie Longwell mindful of appearances while adding new Ad Astra Print Resources division

WICHITA — Jeff and Susie Longwell have started a new division of their Ad Astra Print Resources, but it wasn’t without a lot of discussion first.

That’s because the new division is creating construction documents – what used to be known as blueprints – for engineers, architects and construction companies.

Those are the same business people who often appear before Jeff Longwell on the Wichita City Council.

“We just want to be very clear what the position is,” Jeff Longwell says.

He  says they currently don’t do work with the city and plan the same policy with the new division.

“We won’t bid on any city work – period.”

He adds, “All my customers require me to be competitive. That’s just the nature of the printing business.”

Still, the Longwells are concerned about appearances.

“The reality is we’re in the printing business,” Jeff Longwell says. “It’s nothing new.”

In fact, he’s been in the business since 1984 and owned Ad Astra for a few years.

“Here’s the thing, I guess, that people need to understand,” Longwell says. “We are a part-time council that gets paid part-time wages.”

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Kanza Office Park is up for auction online

WICHITA — The Kanza Office Park, which church builder Roe Messner built as his corporate headquarters in 1987, is being auctioned online.

“It’s been on and off the market for a while,” says Kelly Lovegrove of Newport Beach, Calif.-based Freedom Realty Exchange.

“This is a tough property to sell,” she says of the approximately 39,000-square-foot building near Central and North 159th Street East. “There’s just a lot of office available out there.”

The Class A office space used to be known as the Terradyne Office Building, but the name was changed to avoid confusion with the Terradyne Country Club to the north.

Lovegrove says an online auction “expands exposure and accelerates the sale.”

“It usually pulls buyers off the fence.”

There’s a minimum bid of $1.9 million for the property.

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Port of Wichita to reopen in August

WICHITA — Pat Alvarez of Alvarez Construction & Floor Covering was eating dinner one night at Felipe’s Mexican Restaurant near Harry and Webb Road and looked over at the closed Port of Wichita bar.

“I said, ‘I’m going to open that bar,’” he says.

He says he’s always wanted to open a sports bar and saw his chance.

Since then, he purchased the more than 30-year-old business, gutted it and is preparing for an August opening. The grand opening is August 10 with a performance by Annie Up, and Alvarez says he’ll have a soft opening before that.

“We’re going with a real sexy theme,” he says. “Beautiful ladies.”

Alvarez says he’ll have a female-only wait staff similar to a couple of other restaurants in Wichita, though he says outfits won’t be quite as revealing.

“I’m married to a good, Christian woman,” he says. “I’ve got to keep it clean.”

The Port, which is at 1548 S. Webb Road, closed in May.

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