Category Archives: Evictions

Metro Grill abruptly closes at the Waterfront; owner ‘gutted the place,’ landlord says

WICHITA — As he opens a new Metro Grill on the west side, Michael Gonzalez abruptly left his restaurant of the same name at the Waterfront.

“He just went in there and gutted the place a couple of nights ago,” says Johnny Stevens, a partner in the development at 13th and Webb Road.

“Pulled lights out of the ceiling. Pulled cabinets off the walls. Took everything he could.”

Stevens says Gonzalez didn’t leave many things behind.

“Not much. A sink. A toilet. A few odds and ends.”

Gonzalez couldn’t be reached for comment.

There’s now an eviction notice on the door, but Stevens says that came only after Gonzalez moved out.

“There’s nothing to go back in for,” he says. “But we’ve got to … go through that process.”

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Camperland repair center moves

WICHITA — Camperland is moving, and it happens to coincide with the company’s eviction from its 2,700 square feet of space at 4650 S. Broadway.

“We were already planning to move,” says owner Eddie Hickinbotham. “We’ve been working on it for some time.”

The 8-year-old company is now going to be in more than 4,000 square feet at 1012 E. MacArthur.

“We just needed a bigger shop (and) smaller front end,” Hickinbotham says. “We do a whole lot more service work than we do selling parts.”

At his Broadway shop, Hickinbotham got about $27,000 behind in rent.

“My wife had a massive heart attack, so you know, what do you do?” he says. “It pretty much hammered us paying for medical expenses.”

Even though he’s now concentrating on the new space, Hickinbotham says he’ll still take care of his bills for the space he’s vacating.

“We’ll get it right with them. It’s just that (the landlord) couldn’t wait anymore. I can’t blame the man.”

Flower Factory briefly evicted but reopens in time for Valentine’s Day

WICHITA — Not all Valentine’s Day stories involving flowers are love stories.

This one is a little less happy.

“Basically, like most things, it comes down to money,” says Joad Donnelly, who owns the building at 1302 E. Waterman where the Flower Factory is.

Earlier this week, Have You Heard? reported that the Flower Factory is leaving downtown for a new shop on the west side near 21st and Tyler.

Owner Steve McKnight said he wouldn’t be moving until March 1, well after the Valentine’s rush.

Thursday, though, he was briefly evicted.

Donnelly bought the building in the fall.

“It’s just been a fiasco getting Steve to pay rent ever since then,” Donnelly says. “If he’s not paying the rent, I just need to move on.”

The issue was over $3,615 in rent and late fees.

“This is crazy,” McKnight says. “He doesn’t really know how to work with someone who’s leasing from him.”

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Olive Tree Bistro and Chelsea’s Bar and Grill will be gone by the end of the month

WICHITA — The Olive Tree Bistro and Chelsea’s Bar and Grill will be gone from 29th and Rock by the end of November.

Latour Management is being evicted from the space, where it’s been since Antoine Toubia, the late founder of the company, moved there in 1987.

Latour is being evicted for what the landlord says is nonpayment of rent.

Latour president Joumana Toubia, Antoine’s sister, says she stopped paying because of maintenance issues.

Toubia is throwing a party for customers from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We’re inviting our patrons to come and celebrate our legacy,” she says.

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Let’s Be Frank is closed for now

WICHITA — Let’s Be Frank is closed, but partner Brad Standing doesn’t consider himself officially evicted.

“They just wrote, ‘Evicted,’ on a piece of paper and changed the locks, so I don’t think that really counts,” he says of his landlord’s actions Sunday.

He’s been in a dispute with his landlord for several months about maintenance of the building at Douglas and Grove.

Standing says he’s looking for a new place to open the hot dog shop. He figures it’ll take a couple of months but will let us know as soon as he finds something.

Piccadilly Market & Grill future is uncertain

WICHITA — The future of Olive Tree Bistro and Chelsea’s Bar and Grill isn’t the only thing up in the air for Latour Management.

There are reports that Walter Morris Cos., Latour’s landlord for Piccadilly Market & Grill at Central and Rock, is now showing the space to other possible tenants.

Latour president Joumana Toubia says that’s true. But she adds, “I want you to know that Piccadilly is a viable option for us.”

She’s not sure what will happen with the space in the new year.

“They asked us if we’re ready to commit,” Toubia says of signing a new lease. “I said I need a little bit of time. I’m not ready.”

Her Olive Tree and Chelsea’s are being evicted from Comotara Center at 29th and Rock.

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Joumana Toubia responds to eviction

WICHITA — Olive Tree Restaurant Corp. president Joumana Toubia has more to say regarding the eviction notice for her restaurants — Olive Tree Bistro, its banquet hall and Chelsea’s Bar and Grill.

Toubia was busy with an event Tuesday afternoon and didn’t have time to respond to attorney Jeff Kennedy’s comments about why her businesses are being evicted.

Today, in an e-mailed response, Toubia said her rent has been paid up to September but that she then stopped paying after that due to problems with the property that have not been adequately addressed.

“The unwillingness of the landlord to fulfill its obligations to repair or replace fundamental services to the building for a period in excess of two years is, from our point of view, certainly a significant issue. Rainwater pouring through the ceiling into buckets is a much better way to describe what the landlord characterizes as ‘moisture problem’. We have lived with these problems repeatedly, to the extent that they are no longer tolerable. Whatever representations the landlord has made to remedy our issues since we quit paying rent in September remain inadequate.”

Both sides say there is much more to come.

We’ll keep you posted.

Olive Tree and Chelsea’s are being evicted

WICHITA — It looks like there’s more to the Olive Tree Bistro story than the Toubia sisters are telling.

According to a lawyer who represents the landlords for the Olive Tree Bistro and Chelsea’s Bar and Grill, the restaurants are being evicted.

“We filed an eviction petition . . . a week ago,” says Jeff Kennedy of Martin Pringle. “They’re not paying their rent.”

Kennedy says Latour Management, which owns the restaurants and banquet facility at 29th and Rock, is more than $60,000 behind in rent.

“In January, that’s when we started having problems with them paying their rent on a timely basis,” he says.

Latour president Joumana Toubia says there are problems with the condition of the building.

Kennedy says some of the property condition issues Latour has raised are nonissues, such as moisture problems that occurred during roof repairs. He says those have been corrected.

As for some of the other issues, Kennedy says, “The management company was perfectly willing to resolve them, but they would not pay their rent.”

He says: “Anytime you get into a situation like this, somebody is going to look for excuses why they’re not paying their rent.”

The restaurants are open for now.

“That’s something that we’re talking about,” Kennedy says.

It’s not clear when they will close or where they may reopen.