Monthly Archives: August 2013

Derby’s Bristol Square shopping center growing under new owners

UPDATED — The new Sedgwick County drivers license bureau that’s opening in Derby this fall isn’t all that’s happening at the Bristol Square shopping center at Madison and Rock Road.

“It’s going to be a fabulous center for Derby,” says Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons.

“It’s under new ownership,” she says. “That is the reason they’re getting things done. The new owners are aggressive deal makers, and they’re turning the center around.”

Lowry says Bristol Square’s previous owners didn’t invest in the center to “keep it running right and looking right.”

“These new owners will do everything right.”

They’re a mix of local and out-of-state investors who prefer not to be named.

The Dollar Tree has renewed its lease at Bristol Square and expanded to 10,000 square feet.

“They’ve doubled their space now,” says Lowry, who handled the deal.

Sunshine Nail Salon has also more than doubled its size from 1,200 square feet to 2,800 square feet.

The UPS Store has renewed its lease for another five years as well. New tenant Precious Debut 4D Ultrasound opened at the center this spring.

Weigand’s Cristi Howell, who did the Precious Debut deal, and Bradley Tidemann are handling leasing for Bristol Square.

“I do think the fact that it has local ownership now is a real positive for the center,” Howell says.

She says it’s more than just the financial investment.

“Just being local, they’re more in tune with the community and responsive to tenants.”

 

You don’t say

“He said we could bring one thing to the table that no one else could. Lunch.”

Jon Rolph, the emcee at the Business Leadership Network of Sedgwick County kickoff lunch on Thursday, on county Manager Bill Buchanan asking Carlos O’Kelly’s to be the group’s lead employer

Craig Gabel closes Mike’s Steak House

WICHITA — After a decade in business, Craig Gabel has closed his Mike’s Steak House at 2131 S. Broadway.

“We’re pretty sure it’s permanent,” says Gabel, whose lease is up in December.

“The costs are enormous,” he says of running the business.

“We’ve had street repairs there for three years straight.”

Gabel says there’s one year to go.

“It’s taken its toll.”

He says there are other factors as well.

“The economy in south Wichita is just terrible. Restaurants and bars are dropping like flies.”

Gabel says that while “there’s no traffic on Broadway anymore,” there are “lots of transient” people.

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You don’t say

“It’s fun seeing our customers and interacting with the employees of these two restaurants, but I think I’ll keep my day job!”

Mike King, Kansas Turnpike Authority director and secretary of transportation, in a release about how he helped behind the counter at the opening of Hardee’s and Dunkin’ Donuts at the Matfield Green service center this week

Smoothie King and two other businesses to open in former Rock Island Depot space

UPDATED — Some people buy sports cars or take extravagant trips for their midlife crises, but Neil Bhakta is choosing to share his with all of Wichita by opening three new businesses.

The Smoothie King partner is planning his fourth Smoothie King site, this time downtown in the former Rock Island Depot, where he also plans a new restaurant and venue space.

“This is going to be my midlife crisis project right here,” Bhakta says.

“I love the building that we’re going into.”

Old Town Martini, which was the last business there, closed in 2009.

Occidental Management purchased the building earlier this year as part of its purchase of the Union Station campus. The company plans a mixed-use development, which will have retail and office space and possibly residential as well. Smoothie King is the first announced tenant.

“It’s good to get the first one done,” says Chad Stafford, Occidental president. “We’re excited to get rolling down there.”

Stafford thinks Smoothie King will do well.

“It’s going to do terrific,” he says. “Certainly there’s a lot of traffic. … That site, as it begins to develop and get rolling, we’ll have a lot of visitors to it.”

Bhakta says Occidental will restore the exterior of the building.

“It’s going to be a nice project.”

It’s one he says he previously wouldn’t have even considered.

In the dozen or so years of having Smoothie King, Bhakta says, “We never looked at downtown.”

That’s even though he grew up in the area.

“We actually left,” Bhakta says. “Downtown in the ’90s, we didn’t have much faith in it … coming back.”

That’s what has happened, though, he says.

“What they’ve done downtown is amazing.”

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Echo Hills developer Mike Loveland tells Park City chamber he’ll have “something of significance” to announce soon

WICHITA — Mike Loveland is quiet to the point of silent about his deals, and it wasn’t much different Wednesday when he agreed to speak to the Park City Chamber of Commerce about his Echo Hills project.

“You said a whole bunch of stuff without saying anything,” one attendee said to Loveland on his way out the door.

Loveland did share one little-known detail about the 80-acre project northwest of Interstate 135 and 53rd Street North in Park City.

“I was looking for a site for a nighttime golf course,” he said of how he first started looking at the land around 2000.

He said it then occurred to him what an incredible retail site it would make. Loveland says it took a while, but he closed on the land in 2010, which he says wasn’t a great time to start attracting interest.

“I wish I could have made it go faster,” he said.

“In ’12 they started talking again,” he said of potential retail tenants.

Loveland said he’d been close to a big deal for an anchor tenant.

“I‘m not saying who it was,” he said. But he added that “Cabela’s beat ’em to the punch” when it announced it would open at Regency Lakes in Wichita.

Loveland said he’s now close on another possible anchor tenant, which he thinks he has an almost 90 percent chance of landing, along with another one that he thinks is a 50-50 chance.

“Those anchors have such an effect,” he said of attracting smaller tenants.

He expects to announce “something of significance” within a month.

“We’re really close. I wish I could tell you who they are.”

Loveland said attracting major retailers to that area is a battle similar to what Derby once faced.

“You had to beg people to come down to Derby, Kansas,” he said.

That, of course, changed in a big way with retailers such as Lowe’s, Target and Kohl’s opening there.

“That’s what I’m in hopes of here in Echo Hills,” Loveland said.

Read More »

You don’t say

“We know you’re a Democrat.”

– Park City administrator Jack Whitson, teasing the city’s chamber president, registered Republican Dean Frankenbery, about a misprint that said Rep. Mike Pompom, not Pompeo, would be the group’s next speaker

New Midwest Kia site grows by 2 1/2 acres

WICHITA — Les Eck is already needing a little extra space for his Midwest Kia, which he moved to 4.5 acres at Kellogg and Tyler earlier this month.

“We had about two and a half acres to the east that we were going to keep open,” Eck says.

He says he thought he could one day use the land for another franchise, such as an Audi or Land Rover dealership.

Now, though, he’s refinishing the surface of the extra acres – partly in concrete and partly in gravel – because he needs the extra parking.

Eck says when he bought the Kia franchise from Steven Auto Group last year, the dealership had been selling about 25 or 30 Kias a month.

“That’s why they sold it.”

Eck says over time, he quadrupled those sales, and now it appears the new site will allow him to double his best numbers.

“We started doing even better.”

Eck says the extra space will allow him to hold events as well.

He’s still keeping his eye out for another franchise. If it’s small enough, he could possibly put it next to the Kia dealership. Most likely, he’d need new space, though.

“I’m always interested in something if it’s out there.”

Cato apparel and accessory shop to open in Wichita and have as many as three stores

WICHITA — Cato, an apparel and accessory shop for women and girls, is coming to Wichita with what looks like will be three stores.

So far, the North Carolina-based chain is confirming only one Cato, which is going in the former Senor Tequila space at Pawnee and Broadway.

There currently are Catos in Derby, Newton and El Dorado.

The Pawnee and Broadway Cato, which will open in November, will be Wichita’s first. Leisa Lowry and Cristi Howell of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Cato Corp. also owns Versona Accessories, which opened in this spring at Bradley Fair.

Nail Elements to expand in Derby

WICHITA — Nail Elements, one of the first tenants that opened in Occidental Management’s Spring Creek shopping center at Madison and Rock Road in Derby, is expanding.

Owner Vivian Le says it’s all about “more options for customers.”

She’s adding 632 square feet to her existing 1,600 square feet. Le says this will allow her to add more pedicure stations and throw parties for people wanting group nail treatments.

Le says the effect is “pretty much more delux.”

Occidental’s Chad Stafford handled the deal.