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.”