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.
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’s what I’m in hopes of here in Echo Hills,” Loveland said.
“The development that’s going to take place here is a lot like Kellogg and Greenwich Road,” he said.
One thing that Echo Hills has working in its favor over that hugely successful retail area of Wichita is traffic count. Loveland said it’s higher near his development than at One Kellogg Place.
“Some people don’t really realize that.”
There hasn’t been an official announcement, but Loveland acknowledged that Arby’s will locate at Echo Hills.
“With Echo Hills, we’re trying to create that city center kind of feel,” he said.
“I think that is going to be a … much better use,” Loveland said in reference to the nighttime golf course.
After the meeting, Loveland did not appreciate being stopped by the media for questions, and he wasn’t shy about saying so.
“I hesitated to come down here,” he said of speaking at the meeting and attracting more media attention. Loveland has avoided media contact for years despite lots of interest in his projects.
The chamber gave Loveland a choice between an August date and one in December, but Loveland figures by then everyone will know his news. That’s how confident he is that something is coming soon.
He’s similarly positive about Parkstone at College Hill, his seemingly stalled development of brownstones near Douglas and Rutan, but Loveland is no more eager to discuss progress there.
“I won’t talk about Parkstone.”
“Because I’m working on it.”
Isn’t there anything Loveland might like to say to the naysayers who believe Parkstone is dead?