Twin Peaks has west-side space, and it isn’t where anyone suspected

The west-side Twin Peaks will be on the north end of this building across Ridge Road from Carlos O'Kelly's and Panera Bread.

The west-side Twin Peaks will be on the north end of this building across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread.

WICHITA — There’s been a popular guessing game of where the west-side Twin Peaks might go. As it turns out, it’s not opening at any of the spots most people thought it might.

Franchisee Rusty Rathbun considered most of those sites, but he’s settled on 7325 W. Taft instead.

“It’s been overlooked from a retail perspective,” says Dan Unruh of InSite Real Estate Group.

The building, which is across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread, was built as office space that most recently was home to American Family Insurance.

Gallery Expressions will be Twin Peaks’ neighbor to the northwest across a parking lot, and the Lowe’s at Maple and Ridge Road is just north of that.

“This one kept coming up as a great site if we could just make the building work,” Unruh says.

InSite is part of South Ridge LLC, a group that purchased the 16,800-square-foot center where Twin Peaks is going.

Rathbun says he seriously considered about 15 properties before deciding on the Taft site.

“It works because of the traffic count and all the number one restaurants in the area,” he says.

According to statistics compiled by InSite, about 70,000 cars pass a day on nearby Kellogg, and about 40,000 pass through the Maple and Ridge Road intersection. There are more than a dozen hotels, InSite says, in about a one-mile radius of where Twin Peaks will be along with almost 60,000 people living within three miles.

In addition to Panera and Carlos O’Kelly’s, restaurants in the immediate area include Applebee’s, McAlister’s Deli, Chipotle Mexican Grill, IHOP and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers among others.

“It’s become kind of a mecca for food,” Unruh says.

He says that’s in part thanks to daytime and evening populations in the area along with other factors.

“This site’s just a natural,” Rathbun says.

He opened Wichita’s first Twin Peaks, a business whose name is a double entendre in the same vein as Hooters, in 2011 in the former Timberline Steakhouse & Grill space at 8310 E. 21st St.

Since it opened, Rathbun says the Dallas-area based chain’s corporate office told him the Wichita market “could hold two; let’s see what one does.”

“Wichita has done very good as a whole,” he says. He says the market doesn’t have huge swings either way.

Since last year, Rathbun says sales have increased 8 percent, which makes this Twin Peaks No. 10 for increases out of the chain’s 46 stores.

At the time the first Twin Peaks opened in Wichita, corporate didn’t have as clearly defined parking space requirements as it does now. The east-side site has about 115 spaces. Now, corporate requires 154, which proved a challenge on the west side.

The plan is to carve about 10,000 square feet off of the former insurance space to reconfigure it to the needs of Twin Peaks. By reducing the square footage of the building, that allows for more parking. The site will have about 172 spaces plus another 18 for motorcycles.

There will be about 350 to 375 seats, which is about 50 to 75 more than the east side. There also will be a couple of patios, including an indoor-outdoor space, and about 80 TVs. That’s double what the east side has.

The business will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Rathbun expects the new Twin Peaks to open in July or August. Part of the space is leased to a tenant who has occupancy rights until April.

There’s another 8,500 square feet left to lease at the center, which could include five or more tenants. Look for some announcements on new tenants in the next month or two.

Spangenberg Phillips Tice Achitecture is the architect on the center, and Hutton Construction is the contractor.

Rathbun is using Commerce Construction for interior work at Twin Peaks. Fidelity Bank is his bank.

InSite, which is leasing the center, is touting what it calls the center’s generous parking and signage along with the ease of getting in and out of it.

That coupled with the traffic counts and other nearby restaurants made this site stand out even as Rathbun considered other sites for Twin Peaks, Unruh says.

“This location was always in the crosshairs of what made economic sense for Twin Peaks.”