Daily Archives: Oct. 30, 2013

Tenants at former Commerce Bank building are scrambling for new office space

WICHITA — Tenants at the former Commerce Bank building at First and Main downtown are scrambling to find new space.

“Monday, the gas was shut off in the building,” says Kevin Berube, who has run the Snack Attack deli in the building for 27 years.

“One elevator still works part of the time, but it’s no way to operate,” he says. “It’s very hard on everyone.”

The 10-story building is not quite a third occupied with about 10 tenants, the largest of which is the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.

“We don’t want to move,” says Keith Lawing, Alliance president and CEO. “It’s just untenable, though.”

Building owner Joe Moosally didn’t return two calls for comment on Wednesday.

“The building has just not been maintained,” Lawing says. “It’s that Minnesota boys hangover.”

The Real Development developers out of Minnesota once owned the building. Moosally, also out of Minnesota, had ties to the other developers but was not part of that company.

Delton Sandefer of Essential Property Management managed the building until the beginning of October.

“We were just trying to help him keep the building afloat,” he says. “I was managing the building for a little while and quit managing … because of lack of funds with the owners.”

Sandefer says Moosally was working on a deal to sell the building, but it apparently fell through.

He says when Moosally took back the property, he attempted to pay past bills associated with it.

“It was just overwhelming for Joe,” Sandefer says. “He didn’t realize that nothing had been paid for five months.”

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You don’t say

“I said, ‘No,’ and I kind of exhausted my no’s at this point.”

– Derby economic development director Allison Moeding, who in January will regretfully leave her job after 11 years because her husband, Air Force reservist Mike Moeding, is being transferred to Joint Base Andrews

Wink Hartman Sr. may run for office again

WICHITA — He has more businesses to keep him occupied than the average 10 people combined, but Wink Hartman Sr. is once again considering a run for office.

“The model that we’ve lived by for so many years is broken in Congress,” says the oilman, who also is a restaurateur, among other things. “The bickering (has) deteriorated to name calling, which has deteriorated into the inability of either party doing something for the citizenry that they were elected to do.”

Hartman lost a blistering campaign for the 4th Congressional District in 2010.

“When I ran for District 4 in 2010, as many people remember it was unpleasant banter amongst the candidates,” Hartman says. “But yet I have learned in life that a lot of things that need to get done, there’s no easy path, and if I have to take a few hits and a few slaps along the way, I’m … more than willing to do that.”

He’s not saying if he’s going to run or what office he may seek.

“I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but it is under consideration,” Hartman says.

“I have a rather large expanse of interest politically,” he says. “My number one goal is to improve … the quality of life not only in District 4 of Kansas, but in the state of Kansas and hopefully affect some change nationally if the proper people are elected in Kansas. … In my life, I’ve been fortunate and been very successful at a multitude of businesses, but at the end of the day, the people of this state have earned the right to have qualified elected officials, and in my view, there are multiple areas where that is not the fact.”

Hartman says others have approached him about running, but he says it’s all about finding the right person for each office. That may not be him, Hartman says.

“It is incumbent upon people like myself and many others to put the best slate of Kansas possibilities for the voters to make a selection.”

He plans to do some polling to explore possibilities.

So why not be content to reign over his own business kingdom and let someone else fight political battles?

“History tells us that that attitude is one of the many problems that we now suffer at different levels of government,” Hartman says. “The kingdom attitude, the swing back at your opponent, the name calling, the inability to come to a consensus.”

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316 Vapes to open in Tallgrass Plaza

WICHITA — It may seem like a lot of electronic cigarette shops are opening around town, but store owner Derek Hoover doesn’t think there are many here.

“That’s one reason I chose Wichita,” he says of opening his second shop. “My friends and I, we all have stores. We always try to stay ahead of the game.”

His first store is in Muskogee, Okla.

Hoover is now working on opening 316 Vapes in Tallgrass Plaza at the northeast corner of 21st and Rock Road.

The store will sell electronic cigarettes, the liquid that goes in them and related accessories.

“The way we have it set up is it’s a bar,” Hoover says. He says anyone 18 and older can sit at the bar and sample his products.

Hoover says he has an acquaintance who is a chemist and a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma who will mix their liquids.

“I hate to say it,” says Hoover, an Oklahoma State University graduate.

The store will open in almost 1,500 square feet sometime next week.

Krista Lowry with J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.