Category Archives: Real estate

Sneak peek of Wichita’s first Pie Five Pizza

Wichita’s new Pie Five Pizza opens Friday next to the Applebee’s at Maple and Ridge.

This is the first of at least three Pie Fives that franchisee Jim Stevens, who also is the Applebee’s franchisee, plans for Wichita. The second will open at NewMarket Square. Stevens is close to announcing the third site as well.

In the meantime, Pie Five area director Joe Chandler a sneak peek of the restaurant from a VIP lunch Stevens hosted Tuesday.


Ultra Modern Pool & Patio will have new west-side warehouse

WICHITA — A storm last summer is leading to a new warehouse this summer for Ultra Modern Pool & Patio.

Co-owner Rita Rowlen says “it just looked like a tornado had hit” her west-side warehouse after a “92-mile-an-hour wind came straight through” and “it took off the entire roof” along with a wall.

“It just took the wall and rolled it over like a domino,” she says. “The garage door was just all crinkled up.”

The 8,000-square-foot warehouse at 1501 S. Tyler was full of more than $1 million in hot tubs and patio furniture.

“It was raining cats and dogs that night,” Rowlen says.

She says she and her employees spent hours packing 40-foot storage units with the products.

“We just lined them up. Boom, boom, boom.”

Then they had to unbox them in a dry place and inspect them and then sell the merchandise at a discount. Otherwise, Rowlen says, “We would have had empty stores.”

However, she says they might have chosen that with the benefit of hindsight.

“The excess workload was unbelievable.”

Now, a new 8,000-square-foot warehouse under construction at the site of the west-side store at 8100 W. Kellogg should allow for more efficiency than the old one, Rowlen says.

“We’ve kind of had to jump through some hoops with the city of Wichita to get permitting,” she says.

The new warehouse is being added to an existing 5,000-square-foot one.

“We had to really kind of think out of the box,” Rowlen says.

She expects it to be built by fall, “and we should be smiling a lot more.”

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.”

L.J. Pracht Co. closing sale starts Sept. 2

WICHITA — Willi Richert, executor of Jim Pracht III’s estate, said in April that he’d let us know the fate of the late businessman’s L.J. Pracht Co.

“I did promise I’d let you know good or bad, and unfortunately it’s bad,” he says.

The business, a one-of-a-kind wrapping store that also sells jewelry making supplies at 1500 E. Douglas, is closed and isn’t reopening except for a going-out-of-business sale.

“We did try,” Richert says of selling it.

“We had a couple of people interested in it, but it just fell through,” he says. “I would have liked to have seen it continue.”

Pracht’s grandfather opened the store, one of Wichita’s oldest, on Main Street in 1923.

“It’s been an integral part of the city for a lot of years – almost 100 – and you hate to see a business like that close down,” Richert said in April. “It’s a unique store that reflects a different time, but it’s still a necessary product that they sell.”

Through the years, Richert said the store had a huge inventory and served a multitude of customers.

“You name it, if it was associated with the jewelry business,” he said this spring.

The store also used to carry clock parts.

“Amazingly, they served pretty much regionally.”

If sales were slow, Richert said Jim Pracht’s father, Louie, would go to the local aircraft manufacturers to sell his jewelry tools, since they were often the same tools the manufacturers needed.

“They were good people,” Richert previously said of the Prachts.

The store’s sale, which will include supplies and fixtures, starts Sept. 2 and ends Sept. 12.

“That’ll be the end of it,” Richert says.

Though he hoped the store would stay open, Richert says he wants to “thank Wichita for supporting this family for three generations.”

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.”



Postal Service confirms call center move

WICHITA — The U.S. Postal Service confirms it will be putting what it calls a customer care center, which is a call center, at 4509 E. 47th St. South.

“The Postal Service is committed to providing exceptional customer service from purchase to delivery and all points in between,” said vice president of consumer and industry affairs James Nemec in a statement.

“Our goal is to ensure each and every customer contact is a pleasant and satisfying one.”

The call center began operating last month in the postal service’s former remote encoding center at 2601 S. Oliver St. It employs about 250 people.

The center will move to its new 49,000-square-foot space by late January.

Forever French Nails & Organic Spa to open second spa near 21st and Ridge

WICHITA — The almost 4-year-old Forever French Nails & Organic Spa is expanding with a second site.

“We’re doing really well,” says Ken Tran.

Forever French Nails is at 375 S. Maize near Maple and Maize

The second one will be in 1,400 square feet at 7447 W. 21st St. near 21st and Ridge.

Tran says he wanted a larger space but decided to take this availability because he thinks it’s such a good spot.

“Everything’s going to be the same,” he says of the organic manicures and pedicures Forever French Nails offers.

“We use a lot of fruit,” Tran says.

That includes lime, orange and grapefruit. He says he also uses sugar and oatmeal for treatments.

“We also use honey in scrubs.”

Look for the new spa to open in early October.

Tran says he’d like to open more.

“If I can later on.”

Blue Swallowtail Studio soon to be without a home again

WICHITA — JoAn McGregor is once again looking for new space for her Blue Swallowtail Studio in Delano.

In July a year ago, McGregor explained that she was “really in a pickle” when she lost her lease at 1712 W. Douglas.

McGregor, who is a fused glass artist, potter and minister, then found new space at 1528 W. Douglas the next month.

Now, she says, “I’ve lost my lease again.”

McGregor says her rent is going up by 50 percent. She says there were some other issues as well, so she never stopped looking for other new space.

Her last day in business at her current space will be Aug. 23.

McGregor says she may try to set up in her garage or somewhere else if she doesn’t have a new space to move into by then.

She says that rent “prices are horribly high.”

“I’m really looking hard.”

Town & Country will remain open until God or the highway intervene

WICHITA — The rumors are once again swirling that Town & Country might close.

“As far as we know, we’re not going anywhere,” says Sharon Conover, who owns the popular restaurant with her husband, Larry.

The restaurant, which opened in 1957, is on West Kellogg near Interstate 235.

Last summer, Larry Conover explained that eventually the restaurant would be torn down to make room for a highway bypass, but he said he was starting to wonder if it would even happen in his lifetime.

Sharon Conover says a few months ago it looked like it might happen so the state could make room for some utilities.

“Then whatever problem it was disappeared,” she says. “Last we heard … it’s going to be a very long time away.”

Of course, she says, something else could always happen.

“I mean, God may intervene. Who knows?”

U.S. Postal Service signs lease that should enable DCF to move more quickly

WICHITA — It was around this time last year that the state was considering leasing Wichita broker Jeff Greenberg’s 100,000-square-foot building near East 47th Street South and South Oliver.

The Department for Children and Families, which wants to leave the Finney State Office Building downtown where it currently is, seriously looked at Greenberg’s space. The deal didn’t happen, though.

Now, another deal related to that has been signed.

No one is commenting yet, but sources say the U.S. Postal Service has signed a deal for a good percentage of Greenberg’s building.

The postal serivce has a remote encoding center at 2601 S. Oliver, which is where DCF now wants to locate.

As Have You Heard? reported last month, the postal service is winding down those operations – its lease expires in September 2015 – but now it’s planning a call center for the space.

The call center, which will be one of four the postal service has nationally, will answer customers’ inquiries via phone and e-mail.

The remote encoding center has been at the South Oliver space for two decades. At one time there were more than 1,000 employees there. Now, there are 251 career employees left, meaning employees who are guaranteed jobs.

It looks like the call center is what the postal service has planned for Greenberg’s space. It also appears that the postal service could move within the next few months, which would enable DCF to finalize the lease it wants and move in more quickly.

Look for more information on the deal in the coming weeks.