Category Archives: East side

Portofino Apartments to open at 127th and Central

WICHITA — There won’t be any fishing, but east Wichita soon will have Portofino Apartments, which share a name with a fishing village on the Italian Riviera.

Tulsa-based Case & Associates Properties is building the 278-unit complex with a “very Tuscan style” at the northwest corner of 127th and Central, according to president Scott Case.

He says there’s an investor in the complex who is “very much a wine connoisseur.”

“That’s kind of where it comes from,” Case says of the name.

Dirt work started in the last week or so.

The company has been in the market for more than a decade with the Remington Apartments and the first two phases of the Villas at Waterford.

“Actually, Wichita’s been a very good market for us,” Case says. “It’s just been a very stable market as far as occupancy.”

He says there was a fear it wouldn’t be.

“Originally, we were fearful of the aviation industry,” Case says.

“We thought that it might cause great fluctuation in occupancy and availability rates,” he says. “Whenever they talk about corporate aviation and kind of corporations tightening down on their spending, we always get a little bit nervous.”

The complex will be an equal mix of apartments with one and two bedrooms. Some will be in three-story buildings, but there will be some loft-style units in two-story buildings around the complex’s perimeter. Those will have six-bay garages.

“It creates a really nice buffer if we back up to any homes,” Case says.

Units range from 789 to 1,200 square feet. Prices range from about $799 to about $1,200 a month. There are no low-income units.

There will be a clubhouse with a fitness and business center. There’s also a resort-style pool with fountains, an outdoor social area with a fireplace, a dog park, two stainless steel grills and picnic tables and other grills scattered around the property.

“We’ve built this product about six different times,” Case says of similar complexes.

He says the numbers worked to do it in Wichita.

“We found a great site with great access to the highway system and right there on Central,” Case says. “We liked the site, and we like the city.”

DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers to move to former Palmers Grill space

WICHITA — A new business is opening in the former Palmers Grill space near K-96 and Webb Road where Fritz Co. Grille used to be.

Not surprisingly, it’s not a restaurant.

DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers has bought the building.

“We’ve been growing fast,” says Dustin DeVaughn, who founded the firm with Richard W. James in early 2012.

Their firm, which has 14 employees, including five lawyers, is now in 2,000 square feet a half mile east of Greenwich on Central.

The new space is about 7,500 square feet, and DeVaughn says the firm will be using the whole building.

“Oh, absolutely.”

He says the firm is adding another attorney and a couple of employees.

“We’re wanting to be in there and working before the beginning of the new year,” DeVaughn says.

Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

“We loved the visibility there on K-96,” DeVaughn says. “It’s a beautiful environment right there, and there’s going to be some exciting stuff happening out there.”

Fuji Japanese Grill & Sushi to open in former Yamasa Japanese Grill space

WICHITA — A new Asian restaurant is opening in the space at 327 N. Hillside formerly occupied by Yamasa Japanese Grill, which closed late last year.

Lin Daniel and his wife, Chen Hong, are opening Fuji Japanese Grill & Sushi around Aug. 28.

“We changed everything,” Daniel says. He says, “Everything’s better than before.”

The restaurant will have sushi and grill items.

Daniel says he and Hong would like to have the restaurant become a chain “all over the U.S.A.”

“That’s our goal,” he says. “Our dream.”

You don’t say

“I have separation anxiety.”

– Wichita resident Pat Hysko, who says she’s lost without being able to buy gifts at Barrier’s and then shop for wrapping at L.J. Pracht Co. after decades of shopping at the now-closed stores

Noah’s Event Venue to open at Waterfront

UPDATED — Most people are familiar with the Waterfront’s lake at the northeast corner of 13th and Webb, where several restaurants have patios overlooking it.

 

David Leyh, left, and Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled a deal for the national Noah's Event Venue to locate at the east lake at the Waterfront development.

David Leyh, left, and Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled a deal for the national Noah’s Event Venue to locate at the east lake at the Waterfront development.

There’s also another lake on the east side of the property, though, and the development has now landed its first tenant to overlook it.

Noah’s Event Venue, a national chain of event spaces, will open in a new, almost 10,000-square-foot building next summer.

“Noah’s is a good, fast-growing event company, and we’re lucky to have them in Wichita,” says the Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II.

“Wichita lacks this kind of quality events space,” he says. “This one obviously will have a good location as well as a backdrop of one of the lakes at the Waterfront. It’s pretty cool.”

Utah businessman Bil Bowser started Noah Corp. in 2003 and opened the first Noah’s in 2007.

“He just wanted a place for people to gather,” says Kirsten Hertz, director of hiring for Noah’s. “He couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a place where you could just rent space that was user friendly and had good customer service and was very simple.”

After experimenting with a couple of types of buildings, Hertz says the company settled on classic-looking model.

“We wanted to just be a very classic, timeless, kind of high-end venue for a very reasonable price.”

With a neutral template, Hertz says it allows the venue to be versatile for business meetings in the day and parties at night.

noahs5“We really do all different types of events,” she says. “It’s very customizable.”

The main hall is the largest space and, depending on the configuration, can hold up to 350 people. It also has an outdoor patio overlooking the lake.

There are hardwood floors, a catering kitchen and a moveable stage that rises out of the floor. The ceiling lowers for easy decorating.

Tables, chairs, linens and audio-visual equipment are provided, but guests have to bring in their own food and decorations.

noahs3“Everybody’s food and beverage needs are so different,” Hertz says.

There are other rooms, such as a small conference room and a boardroom with a long table and large leather couches. That room also has a ping pong table, a pool table and shuffleboard so companies using the space for training and other work can take breaks.

“It’s a very comfortable room,” Hertz says. “It’s just a really fun space.”

Guests can rent the entire venue or a small part of it. Hertz says that could be for meetings for as few as two people.

“This is kind of a step up from, ‘Hey, let’s just meet at Starbucks.’”

There are sliding doors that allow rooms to open to each other.

“They’re really nice looking,” Hertz says. “All of the rooms are very versatile.”

There are eight Noah’s venues open nationally and eight under construction.

“Noah’s is a company that’s very focused on why we are all in this industry and why these buildings even exist,” Hertz says. “We sincerely care about each customer and the experience that people have at Noah.”

She says there aren’t other chains similar to Noah’s on a national level.

“From a business perspective, (Bil Bowser) was shocked that this wasn’t a common thing,” Hertz says. “We want people to develop a confidence in the brand of Noah and know what to expect.”

Craig Simon and David Leyh of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal at the Waterfront.

“It’s just a great thing for Wichita,” Simon says.

noahs2“We have a shortage … of venues like that,” he says. “I think we’re going to find some real value as a community to have this.”

To the east of the Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Waterfront, Viega has property to build its headquarters. To the east of that is the lake and where Noah’s will go.

Clark says the hotel is “actually another convenience factor” for Noah’s.

Noah’s is purchasing 2.3 acres, which leaves about 2.5 acres on the south side of that lake.

“It’s going to be a beautiful venue,” Simon says. “That whole development is such a nice development anyway.”

Retail center, restaurant under development at Regency Lakes at 21st and Greenwich

WICHITA — One of the last phases of the Regency Lakes shopping center at the northwest corner of 21st and Greenwich is under development.

Ken Saville (from left) and Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Tom Schmeidler with SBA Construction are building a new retail center at Regency Lakes at 21st and Greenwich.

Ken Saville (from left) and Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Tom Schmeidler with SBA Construction are building a new retail center at Regency Lakes at 21st and Greenwich.

Four S Development, a group of local investors, is building an 11,375-square-foot strip center on the lake in front of Cabela’s.

“We envision it being a four-tenant building,” says Brad Saville, a partner in the group and president and CEO of Landmark Commercial Real Estate. “We’ve got one lease signed.”

Saville confirms the tenant is a restaurant that should be open before the holidays. It will take 2,900 square feet and have a patio overlooking the lake.

Sources say Papa John’s Pizza franchisee Terry Newman is doing a new concept in the space, and it’s likely based on burritos. Newman didn’t return calls to comment.

Landmark’s Ken Saville is handling leasing for the rest of the strip center.

“We’re thinking there could be one other small restaurant, and the rest would be retail,” says Brad Saville.

Saville says he first began work at Regency Lakes when he helped Cabela’s purchase property there. Then, he helped Hobby Lobby with its lease there.

“That’s all kind of led to this last parcel.”

Innovative Construction Services designed the center, and SBA Construction is building it. Andover State Bank provided financing.

Saville says retail development in the K-96 and Greenwich area will be significant in the next three years.

Along with the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb, he says, “Really, I think this is the highest-growth area in the whole city.”

 

 

10 Wichita apartments sell to two groups

WICHITA — Numerous Wichita apartments have recently changed hands.

First, Lew McGinnis, an Oklahoma businessman with a history of buying and selling apartment properties here and in his home state, has purchased six more in Wichita for a dozen total.

McGinnis didn’t return calls for comment, but someone in his office – who declined to give her full name – confirmed that he has purchased new properties here and is now managing them as well.

They include the 240-unit Barclay Square Apartments near Riverside Park; the 220-unit Cedarbrooke Apartments on East Harry just east of Rock Road; the 138-unit Eastborough Apartments on East Kellogg just west of Rock Road; the 196-unit Kingsborough Apartments near South Seneca and West 27th Street South; the 244-unit Rockborough Apartments near Douglas and Rock; and the 239-unit Woodgate Apartments on East 21st Street North between Oliver and Woodlawn.

There have been some maintenance issues at some of the complexes since McGinnis took over late last week.

“Yes, when we took over the management of the company, basically what had happened is there was a lot of work orders,” the McGinnis employee says.

Cedarbrooke resident Mary Bouray says her air conditioning was out for almost a week.

“They keep telling me they don’t have any maintenance people,” Bouray says.

The McGinnis employee says that’s being addressed.

“We have maintenance staff from our other Wichita properties so we’ve brought them in to help with the workload to make sure everything gets done quickly,” she says. “They’re going to be taking care of the work orders in the order that they were received.”

In other Wichita apartment news, business partners Rupan Dev and Anm Doza have purchased four apartment communities so far this year.

This month, they bought the 120-unit Elms Apartments, which is on East Harry between Hillside and Hydraulic

A couple of months before that, they bought the 79-unit Northtown Square Apartments at 21st and Waco.

This spring, they bought the 60-unit Biscayne Apartments on East Wassall just west of Hydraulic, and in the winter they purchased the 108-unit Bradford Glen Apartments on South Hydraulic between Kellogg and Lincoln.

Jeff Englert and Nathan Farha of NAI Martens handled the deals.

Dev says he’s been in the gas station business, but “the gas station is kind of a headache for us.”

He says real estate has more potential for cash flow down the road, so he’s interested in purchasing more apartments.

“Maybe one more this year and a few more next year.”

For now, though, Dev says he’ll concentrate on what he has.

“Right now, we’re remodeling all our rooms.”

That includes plans to take out old carpet, add flowers to landscaping and replace windows and gutters, among other things, Dev says.

“We’ll start very soon.”

Beauty First to consolidate Wichita stores

WICHITA — The east-side Beauty First near the southwest corner of 21st and Rock is going out of business.

“Basically, our business is stronger on the west side,” says Lee Rogers, vice president of operations. “We had an opportunity to consolidate both.”

The opportunity arose from the store’s landlord having new plans for the space.

Rogers says there’s “not much to it – just your traditional business consolidation.”

The chain’s west-side store is at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize.

“We’ve been in the community a very long time,” Rogers says. “We’re a much smaller company than we once were.”

He says the idea is to “save a few pennies and … recognize where we are in today’s world.”

Look for more information soon about a new development that will take Beauty First’s place.

Whole Foods Market will have some familiar Kansas touches when it opens

WICHITA — Whole Foods Market may be new to Wichita, but there’s going to be something familiar about the store when it opens Sept. 3 in the Waterfront at 13th and Webb.

The Austin-based chain often likes to take inspiration from a locale when opening a new store there.

“We normally try to have stories behind what we do,” says Paul Jarvis, decor project manager.

Some stores are easier than others.

“If we open in, like, a suburb, it’s harder to find … obvious details,” Jarvis says.

“Wichita is just chock full of fun stuff,” he says. “I went out to Wichita with one of the designers, and we just kind of soaked it in and did a lot of research.”

Jarvis, a Kansas State University graduate who works in Whole Foods’ Boulder office, took photos at places such as Beechcraft.

“We did a lot of walking around Old Town.”

Then he gathered photos and colors “from the feel we got” and did a hierarchy of what’s important here.

“Aviation came out on top,” Jarvis says.

Kansas nature and what he calls a Native American element also were influential.

There will be some obvious references to those things and some more subtle references.

“There are a lot of yellows that we got from sunflowers and … fields and wheat,” Jarvis says.

A lot of the decorative wood in the store is reclaimed.

Jarvis also went to Rantoul, Kan., to visit Dodson International, which deals in aircraft parts.

“I wanted to find something special,” Jarvis says. “They’re a great resource.”

He picked up some old wings and propellers, among other things.

Jarvis is not saying how he’s going to use them, though.

“I kind of want them to be a little bit of a surprise when we open.”

In addition to actual aircraft parts, there will be artwork featuring aspects of aviation or patterns that can be seen from planes.

“We really kind of went all out with the details of the patterns we got from airplanes,” Jarvis says.

“There’s a lot of little details like that that hopefully people will pick up on.”

Team leader Angela Schmidt gives a tour of the new Wichita Whole Foods Market, which she’ll manage.

Cenex gas station and market to open on East 21st Street

UPDATED — A blighted area of East 21st Street is about to experience a revival.

“We’re going in there and building a new gas station,” Amir Etezazi says.

His company, Etezazi Industries, a division of Etezazi Corp., is building a new Cenex gas station and an expanded convenience store in the former Amoco station and market just east of the Canal Route.

“It’s definitely going to enhance the area,” says City Council member Lavonta Williams. “It is going to create another opportunity for people to create pride.”

The station has been abandoned for about a decade.

Amir Etezazi, right, and his father, Masoud Etezazi, are renovating this former market and a neighboring former Amoco station into a new market and Cenex station.

Amir Etezazi, right, and his father, Masoud Etezazi, are renovating this former market and a neighboring former Amoco station into a new market and Cenex station.

“Anytime you have at least one … blighted building where something is not kept up, you’re going to invite illegal dumping,” Williams says. “You’re going to invite illegal activity.”

Etezazi, who bought the building in December, says there have been “a lot of challenges” so far.

“It was vandalized pretty badly,” he says. “Constantly, there is some sort of vandalism.”

People dumping trash on the property is a big issue, he and Williams say.

Williams says Etezazi finally put a Dumpster on the property to give people an option for their trash. “Don’t just drop it on the lot.”

Etezazi says the Dumpster actually is there for his use, and he wants people to stop seeing the area as a place for trash.

So far, most of the work Etezazi has done has been on the inside of the 7,500-square-foot building, which he’s divided for various uses.

Etezazi plans a full kitchen with fresh and prepared foods.

Williams says it’s “just another opportunity for people to have something accessible to purchase items,” especially for those who may be walking to the store.

She says Etezazi’s store will have fresh produce and other items the Dollar General across the street might not have.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” Williams says.

Etezazi plans to lease space on the east end of the building for a liquor store.

“We had to go back and forth a little bit with the city,” he says.

Etezazi also has three other convenience stores, including a Phillips 66 at Kellogg and Hillside, one in Newton and a Valero at Central and Ridge.

He’s hoping the Cenex will open in early October, but he says it more likely will be the middle of the month.

Etezazi also is hoping there will be a payoff for his hard work and frustrations.

“We’re investing a lot of money in here.”