WICHITA — Property owner and Wichita broker Jeff Greenberg confirms the state is considering leasing his 100,000-square-foot building near East 47th Street South and South Oliver, but he says the potential deal has nothing to do with a payback for supporting the governor or anyone else.
“It’s not political,” he says.
Since Have You Heard? reported that the state of Kansas has notified the city of Wichita that it’s leaving the Finney State Office Building downtown, Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita) has raised concerns that the search for new space might be politically motivated. He says he’s also worried that clients – particularly at the Department for Children and Families – won’t have easy access to services if the state moves.
Greenberg wants to address both of those points.
“The biggest thing … is allegations of political payback,” he says.
Greenberg says he’s registered as a Republican but only so he can vote in primaries.
“I’ve never been able to pigeonhole myself,” he says. “I’m not political. I’m not an activist.”
Greenberg says he hasn’t made a political contribution to Gov. Sam Brownback or anyone else in at least a decade or more.
He says a broker with J.P. Weigand & Sons brought him the possible deal.
“This was a natural,” Greenberg says of his space.
There aren’t that many buildings of that size that are available in Wichita, he and other brokers say.
There are nine state agencies in the Finney building, and none of them is renewing 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.
A DCF spokeswoman previously stated that the department would like to be on one level. Greenberg’s building is two levels.
“The critical things that they want will all be on one floor,” he says.
Ward has questioned moving a state agency across from a strip club – Jezebel’s is across from Greenberg’s building – and wondered how convenient that site would be for clients.
“This also bugged me,” Greenberg says.
“It is a good location because, obviously, Youthville has been (next door) a long time and doing well.”
He says there’s plenty of parking “right up at the building.” He says that compares to parking garages and meters downtown.
Greenberg also points out that there’s a QuikTrip on the corner of the intersection, and a bus line runs to the area as well. He says DCF representatives like the layout of the building, and it would require very little remodeling.
Still, Greenberg says it’s not like a deal is close.
“I’d say it is so green,” he says. “We haven’t even discussed details of any sort other than they like the building.”