Category Archives: Apartments

Artist Central expands with residential living

WICHITA — Artist Central, the artist work space and gallery on Central just east of Oliver, is expanding again in a rather unusual way.

Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas, who started Artist Central in 2011, has purchased the two four-plex apartments next to the artist space and is going to expand her concept to include residential living for artists.

There are eight one-bedroom apartments, each of which is furnished and has a carport, that will lease for $375 a month.

“And they’re cute,” Zakas says.

Though she’s open to renting to anyone, Zakas says she especially hopes to attract artists of all kinds.

“Now they can have a place to paint, they can have a place to live, they can have a place to show, they can have a place to sell … all in that one little area.”

They can take classes, too, she says.

“We still are needing more artists, and we need more students for the classes,” Zakas says.

Artist Central has evolved beyond the vision she initially had for it.

“I was taking a class with a few other people, and we decided we needed a place to paint,” Zakas says. “The next thing we knew, we were doing Final Friday.”

Then the gallery and work space grew. Zakas says she thinks residential makes sense for the latest expansion.

“I just think it’s a smart move.”

Sunflower Development Group could start downtown apartment work by spring

Two of the three downtown apartment buildings a Kansas City company is looking to convert into affordable housing.

Two of the three downtown apartment buildings a Kansas City company is looking to convert into affordable housing.

WICHITA — Kansas City-based Sunflower Development Group still has plans to renovate historic apartments from the early 1900s across from WaterWalk, but the project probably won’t start until early spring.

“We’re going to close first quarter next year,” says Jason Swords. “It’s a deal that’s moving forward.”

His group is buying properties at 507 and 509 S. Market and 514 S. Main to redevelop them as affordable housing. The almost $6 million development will be a mix of studio apartments and one-bedroom units.

“The issue that we’ve had is tax credits have been harder to broker on the federal side than they used to be, and we expect that to ease up after the first of the year,” Swords says.

He says 90 percent of Sunflower’s work is with historic rehabilitation.

Swords is interested in Wichita for a number of reasons, including that his wife is from here.

“I’ve been to Wichita … a number of times,” he says. “It’s a quick run from Kansas City.”

Swords also likes the older buildings here.

“There’s a great building stock that needs to be redeveloped.”

Van Sickle debuts new apartment model, plans $700 million in development

Jason Van Sickle and his in-house architect, Renae Slusser, at the Chisholm Lake Apartments.

Jason Van Sickle and his in-house architect, Renae Slusser, at the Chisholm Lake Apartments.

WICHITA — Developer Jason Van Sickle is moving ahead with plans for more apartment communities now that his $20 million Chisholm Lake Apartments at K-96 and Oliver has opened, but his new apartments won’t be what he originally planned.

“My plan was to take that model – nicer, upscale apartments – and do them in other cities,” Van Sickle says. He says he “was successful at getting about a dozen projects in our pipeline.”

He was considering markets such as Tulsa and Kansas City.

“But I saw in these markets there was a flood of people coming in to do apartments,” he says.

As he started studying economic development, Van Sickle says he discovered a new opportunity.

“I realized small towns have a huge and desperate need … for housing, especially apartments,” Van Sickle says. “We’ve got nine cities where we’re really making a push.”

In Newton, Valley Center, Derby, Haysville, Rose Hill and Wellington, he’s working with landowners and is proceeding with financing and rezoning.

“We’re also working with the cities of Hutchinson, Bel Aire and El Dorado right now to do some site selection work.”

Van Sickle considered about 200 towns around the state then narrowed his list to 50.

“I just started picking up the phone and calling,” he says of city managers and others.

He now predicts that in the next five years, he and a variety of partners will do $700 million in apartment development in smaller communities.

“They desperately could benefit from our model,” Van Sickle says.

He says his model is different than other small-town apartment models.

“Low-income housing is what’s been built,” he says. “In the real estate development world, that’s been the game. … I didn’t want to do low-income housing,”

He says his J. Van Sickle & Co. – which a year ago was a one-man shop and now has 11 employees – spent a year and a quarter million dollars to develop a workable prototype for high-quality, market-rate apartments.

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New York’s Dermot Co. sues Wichita’s the Butler Group over roof repairs

WICHITA — A New York firm has filed a lawsuit against TB Enterprises of Wichita, which does business as the Butler Group, for what it says was improper installation of new roofs on apartment complexes it owns here.

Dermot Co. owns the Village Park apartment communities of Eastborough, Cedarbrooke, Rockborough and Woodgate. Wichita attorney Mitchell Herren says the company hired Butler to do roof work in 2009 and 2010 following hail damage.

“Basically, after the hail damage was fixed, it turned out a lot of the shingles had been falling off,” Herren says. “It appears that they were improperly installed.”

Butler founder and managing partner Adam McCollough didn’t return calls for comment.

“We are not sure yet, but it looks like the Butler might have used some subcontractors,” Herren says.

He says he’s not sure why, but “there was some kind of a communication breakdown there before I got involved.”

Herren says now Butler has a new attorney involved.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get some better negotiations going.”

Herren says having Butler make new repairs to the roofs could be an option for his clients.

“They’re open to different options,” he says. “Whatever gets the … roofs fixed the most quickly and the most efficient way.”

Victor Court partially returns to apartments

UPDATED — More than three decades after their conversion, some of the vintage Victor Court apartments are returning to their roots.

“In 1935, it was built as a … 12-unit apartment complex,” Leon Moeder says of the building at 140 N. Hydraulic.

“It’s just an iconic structure in Wichita,” he says. “Everyone’s driven by it.”

It was converted to office space in the early 1980s. Moeder, his wife, Susan, and Raleigh and Rhandalee Hinman purchased it in March.

“We’ve converted six of the units back into four apartments,” Leon Moeder says. “They deserve to go back to the cool apartments they were.”

They’ve combined a couple of the spaces to make bigger apartments. There will be an open house there from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The other spaces will remain offices, though they still need to be renovated.

“We’re going to finish this thing yet – someday,” Moeder says.

He says part of the attraction of remodeling the building is the central space, which he calls the core of the building, was empty. The remodeling could proceed without disruption.

“That falls into what we’ve been doing over here in the neighborhood,” Moeder says of refurbishing buildings.

The Moeders bought their first building in that area 15 years ago at 122 S. Hydraulic for their Stor-All business.

“We started because the property was cheap,” Leon Moeder says.

The Moeders just purchased their sixth building, a warehouse and office space at 156 S. Greenwood, on Saturday.

“We got very, very lucky with the first tenant we picked up,” Moeder says, referring to the Donut Whole. The Moeders also own that building with the Hinmans along with a duplex.

The Donut Whole “pretty much set the tone for most of what’s happened in the area,” Moeder says.

Douglas Avenue was part of the attraction, and now the Douglas Design District that’s grown around it is appealing, too.

“That’s a big deal to us,” Moeder says. “It’s nice to have an identifier overlay.”

What he’d really like is a name specifically for the buildings in the Douglas and Hydraulic area, though.

“We’ve tried that,” Moeder says. He says he hasn’t had any luck finding a name yet.

“Someone creative should come up with one.”

 

Kansas City group to restore historic apartments near WaterWalk

Two of the three downtown apartment buildings a Kansas City company is looking to convert into affordable housing.

WICHITA — A Kansas City group is looking to renovate historic apartments from the early 1900s across from WaterWalk.

“We restore historic properties,” says Jason Swords of Sunflower Development Group.

His group has not yet purchased the properties, which are at 507 and 509 S. Market and 514 S. Main St.

“We’re going to convert the three buildings to affordable housing,” Swords says.

The almost $6 million development will be a mix of studio apartments and one-bedroom units.

Residents will have to meet salary requirements to qualify for the housing.

“We had to work with the people of WaterWalk and the surrounding neighbors,” Swords says.

Sunflower is seeking affordable housing and historic tax credits.

Swords says the city of Wichita has approved bonds for the project, but the state hasn’t allocated the money yet, so he doesn’t want to say too much about the project yet.

Look for more information in the coming weeks.

Vantage Point Properties to build SunStone Apartment Homes at Andover MarketPlace

WICHITA — Developer Paul Jackson is preparing to build the next phase of Andover MarketPlace, and it’s a sizable one.

It’s the SunStone Apartment Homes at 711 E. Cloud, which is south of Kellogg a half mile east of Andover Road.

“We’re building a 208-unit complex that’s market rate,” says Jackson, who is president of Vantage Point Properties.

That means there won’t be an affordable-housing component to the apartments.

Jackson initially purchased 80 acres east of Kellogg and Andover Road and then bought another 70.

“We’ve owned that land since around 2007 and have slowly developed it … in the most quality fashion that fits the community,” he says. “You know, that’s a big project for Andover.”

The MarketPlace is where there’s a Dillons Marketplace, the Andover YMCA and an elementary school, all of which have since purchased their land from him.

There’s also a strip center with several retail businesses in it along with an Arby’s restaurant.

Jackson says the highway exposure and convenience will be great for the apartments.

“Most importantly, we think it’s a very good use for the site that supports the other things around it.”

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Renfro apartments ready to debut

UPDATED — There will be more than art on display downtown for the Oct. 26 Final Friday.

Developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey, in collaboration with Farha Construction, also are introducing their new Renfro apartments, including some gallery space in the first floor hallway of the historic building.

The property was built at 612 E. Douglas in 1908 and once was home to the Renfro hotel. Most recently, it was Victoria Park Apartments.

“It’s a building that needed a lot of love,” Ramsey says.

He applied for the building to be on the National Register of Historic Places and was able to use historic tax credits in renovating it.

“We love being part of giving a building another 100 years of life,” says contractor Ted Farha. “There’s something pretty special about that.

“When it comes to sustainability or green building, really, I don’t think there’s anything greener than taking an existing building and bringing it up to date.”

There are 20 units, including a few live-work units with metal spiral staircases between the work and living spaces. There also are two commercial spaces in the front of the building. Those spaces are still available. Four of the apartments, including one live-work space, are leased.

There are unique touches throughout the building, such as original ceiling tins in some apartments, a garage door in one back unit and glass brick where another garage door once was.

Ramsey says he, Eyster and Farha Construction incorporated a lot of what they learned from renovating the Zelman Lofts building just down the street.

“The things that worked we tried to keep,” he says.

That includes open areas and ambient light.

“People will put up with smaller living space if we give them lots of storage, lots of shared light, lots of open area … and we give them nice kitchens and nice bathrooms.”

They found substantial savings by having Farha build cabinets in each of the units instead of buying them.

There are further savings for renters with high efficiency heating and air and LED lighting.

“We employed all the current technology that’s available to make this building as green as possible without going through . . . all the LEED Certification stuff,” Farha says. “It’s really satisfying to be able to do that. To create great living spaces for people.”

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Garvey Center to build 36-unit apartment complex downtown at First and Waco

WICHITA — In another sign of recovery – both for Wichita and downtown in particular – the Garvey Center is going to build new apartments.

“We’re going to be constructing 36 new apartment units at the corner of First and Waco,” says Garvey Center manager Larry Weber.

The city owns half the parking lot that’s at the southeast corner, and the Garvey Center owns the other half.

Weber expects the project will take about a year to build after the city approves selling its land.

“The thing that’s significant about it is it’s adding new residential into our downtown,” says Jeff Fluhr, president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corp.

Fluhr says Builders Inc., which owns the Garvey Center, and its CEO, Mike Garvey, were some of the first to step up to help pay for a $100,000 study of downtown that showed that more residential is needed. Fluhr says more living areas in turn help meet retail and restaurant needs, which also were part of the plan.

City Council member Janet Miller agrees that the new apartments are likely to help with the ripple effect.

“That brings more services, more retail, more entertainment options.” All of that may eventually lead to a full-scale grocery store for the city’s core, she says, “which is what everybody wants.”

The Garvey Center already has 155 apartments at 250 Douglas Place.

“We’re 100 percent (occupied) on those, and the demand is such that more are needed,” Weber says.

Parking will be within the Garvey Center’s garage.

While other apartments and condos have become available downtown in recent years, none has been built from the ground up.

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Waterfront to be home to new Class A luxury apartment village

WICHITA — There’s another new phase of development coming to the Waterfront at the northeast corner of 13th and Webb Road.

Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are planning a Class A apartment complex with up to 300 units.

“It will be unlike anything Wichita has,” says Stephen Clark II, who is handling the development. “It’ll be a big deal.”

The complex will be across the lake from Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Waterfront.

Stephen Clark describes the complex as a gated village with some conventional attached units and some detached units, such as luxury duplexes.

There also will be some furnished corporate units.

“Wichita doesn’t have any Class A apartments,” Clark says.

There will be granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, covered parking and private garages, a pool, a wine cellar, a putting green and a clubhouse with a chef’s kitchen.

“It will match the Waterfront’s design criteria on the exterior,” Clark says.

That includes brick, stone and stucco.

Clark also recently announced the new Waterfront Plaza on the northwest corner, which Whole Foods Market will anchor, and a new 4.3 acre mixed-use development within the Waterfront on the northeast corner.

He says the apartments will be a good addition to the mix.

“They’re just going to be on a whole other level.”