Firehouse Subs is first tenant at new strip center at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Slawson Cos. is preparing to start building a strip center in front of the SuperTarget at NewMarket Square later this month and has landed its first tenant for it: Firehouse Subs.

“We acquired from Target an outparcel basically in front of their NewMarket Square store that’ll be just north of the Intrust Bank … branch bank,” says Slawson’s Jerry Jones.

Firehouse Subs will be in 2,000 square feet on the north end of the 10,000-square-foot center.

Jones says two other potential deals for the center are in advance stages of negotiation. If they happen, that would leave 2,800 square feet to lease to a tenant or 1,400 square feet each for two tenants.

Firehouse Subs franchisees Dana and Troy Todd would like to do five of the restaurants in the greater Wichita area. Franchisees Megan and Andrew Reece opened Wichita’s first Firehouse late last year at Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock Road.

Dana Todd says NewMarket Square is a great place to open Firehouse.

“It’s a well-established area, and it seems to be continuing to grow.”

Todd is a surgical sales representative and first discovered the Florida-based chain while traveling for work.

“I was just so impressed with the product,” she says. Todd says she likes the “friendly firehouse-themed atmosphere.”

“We just decided to bring that experience here.”

Todd says she’s also impressed with the chain’s philanthropic side, which she says has donated more than $8 million in lifesaving equipment to emergency responders since 2005.

“We’re just honored to be part of this brand that’s focused on quality, customer service and community.”

Todd will be the general manager of the restaurant, and her daughter-in-law, Regina Buzzard, will be the store manager.

Jones says the new center will be ready in September, and Todd says it will take until probably December to get the restaurant open.

Not quite a year after that, she says, she and her husband will work on their second Firehouse.

“That’s a moving target,” Todd says. “We want to make sure that we give ourselves ample time to get the first one established.”

Slawson broker April Reed handled the deal.

Also on the center project, Jones says, is LawKingdon Architecture, Key Construction, Professional Engineering Consultants and Legacy Bank.

There should be news on other tenants for the center relatively soon, but “relative” is the key word.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity right now, but it still takes a long time, it seems, to get deals done,” Jones says. “We’ve got a lot going on, but deals are slow to get to the finish line.”