Category Archives: Towne East Square

Locker Room by Lids to open at Towne East

WICHITA — Locker Room by Lids is coming to Towne East Square this spring on the lower level of the mall near JCPenney.

The store sells sports apparel and accessories.

Also this spring at Towne East, teen retailer Aeropostale is relocating to the upper level near Old Navy in the JCPenney wing.

“We’re excited to welcome Locker Room by Lids to Towne East Square soon,” Towne East general manager Jeffrey Runnels said in a release. “The addition of this store and renovations to existing retailers complements our already great mix of retail and dining options, providing more options for Wichita shoppers.”

New Towne West CUP almost finalized; Towne East won’t pursue one ‘at this time’

WICHITA — It looks like Simon Property Group’s application for an amendment to the community unit plan for Towne West Square is all but finalized, and nothing is happening with the one for Towne East Square.

Simon’s applications were to hold outdoor events at both malls – that could be events such as special sales or carnivals – but neighbors near Towne East fought it.

Greenhouse sales are now scheduled at both malls for April and May, and a carnival is scheduled to start at Towne West on May 8.

Previous mall management said the amendment was approved at Towne West, but that’s not the case.

“From what we understand, we just needed to submit updated drawings, and we were good to go at Towne West,” says Mis Gaston, the mall’s new general manger. “They haven’t told us anything otherwise. So hopefully that gets us over the hump.”

Since the applications were filed, management has changed at both malls.

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Possible Towne East Square CUP amendment on hold

WICHITA – Simon Property Group’s application for an amendment to the community unit plan for Towne East Square continues to be deferred, but the adjustment has been approved for Towne West Square.

Simon’s applications were to hold outdoor events at both malls, but neighbors near Towne East are fighting it.

“We’ve got it in a holding pattern right now,” says area mall manager Michael Payton.

He says there are still some details to work out.

“I’m not going to say too much about that.”

Payton says the issue will be revisited, but he can’t say when.

Neighbors oppose Simon Property Group’s request for CUP amendment to allow outdoor events at malls

WICHITA – Simon Property Group has applied for an amendment to the community unit plans for Towne East Square and Towne West Square so it can hold outdoor events at both malls, but neighbors near Towne East are fighting it.

“They want to do a bunch of things in an outdoor forum, which we think means more traffic and more trash and more noise,” says Larry Duntz, president of the Rockwood Homes Association.

“We already have a significant problem with trash … blowing over on our property that they’ve been unwilling to do anything about.”

Area mall manager Michael Payton says what’s blowing is the issue blowing out of proportion.

“This isn’t really a big deal, really,” he says. “We’re going to have a meeting with them to address this.”

Payton won’t address what events the malls would have.

“We’re not necessarily filling in the blanks on that right now,” he says.

“They’re not being very forthright with telling us what exactly they want to do,” Duntz says. “Our entire board has agreed that what they’re talking about is not a good thing.”

Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner says most other retail developments already have approval for holding outdoor events, so he thinks it makes sense for Simon, too.

“They do a lot of good things … for the community,” he says. “It would level the field, so to speak.”

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Towne West Square Lane Bryant to close

WICHITA — Almost 20 years after opening in Towne West Square, Lane Bryant is closing.

The store’s last day in business is Feb. 23.

The national chain, which specializes in plus-size women’s clothing, has had plans to close the Towne West store since a Lane Bryant opened in NewMarket Square in 2011.

Missy Meyer, manager of the NewMarket store, says there are no plans to close or move the Towne East Square Lane Bryant.

‘Til We Meet Again further franchises and encounters its first stumbling block

WICHITA — Willow Group continues to ink franchise deals for more ’Til We Meet Again stores, but the Wichita company has also experienced its first setback.

The chain’s first franchisee was to open a custom casket store in Glenbrook Square in Fort Wayne, Ind., in May, but Willow Group’s Nathan Smith says mall management changed its mind without giving him or local media a reason.

“Glenbrook Square officials likely sealed a casket company’s fate in Fort Wayne,” read the lead of a Journal Gazette story, which was one of several stories about the issue that appeared in local media outlets.

“It was a mess,” says Smith, who is partners in Willow Group with Traci Smith-Cone.

“Honestly, it took us by surprise,” Smith says. “We do everything we can in the beginning to make sure everything is secured.”

He says the mall took five months to approve the contract.

No one with Glenbrook could be reached for comment.

Smith says the franchisee lost about $100,000 on remodeling and other expenses when told she’d have to vacate the mall five days before opening. He says the store had a contract, but there was a clause that the mall could ask the store to leave at any time.

“We definitely worked quickly with the franchisee to minimize even more loss of funds,” Smith says. “At the time, it was a scramble.”

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Simon Property Group hires local firm to market space

WICHITA — It’s not exactly news when new space is available at a mall, but Jeff Englert makes a good case for 8,000 square feet that he and Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group colleagues are marketing at Towne East Square.

“To my knowledge, it’s the first time that Simon used third-party brokers in Wichita,” he says of Simon Property Group, which owns the mall.

Perhaps more significantly, Englert says, “They want to go after nontraditional mall tenants for this.”

Not that he and fellow brokers Nathan Farha and Grant Glasgow won’t look at retail.

“Retail is definitely going to be our first play there.”

However, Simon has had some luck with nonretail tenants, such as Wright Career College.

“They want to explore that some more,” Englert says.

The space is located on the west side of Towne East between Dillard’s and Sears at the second-most busy main entrance of the mall. Englert says it’s possible to add a glass exterior so the space is visible from outside the mall.

After retail, Englert says there could be possibilities such as office users, educational facilities or a fitness center.

He says he’ll soon have news on a new Towne West Square tenant.

“This will be pretty big news, let’s put it that way.”

Look for it in about a month or so.

T-Mobile the Phone Zone enters Wichita

WICHITA — A new T-Mobile retailer is entering the Wichita market with plans for at least six locations.

Readi Connections, which does business as T-Mobile the Phone Zone, bought an existing T-Mobile outlet at Towne East Square this month and is preparing to open one in Andover Village at 321 S. Andover in April.

Missouri residents Chris Michael and his mother, Melissa, had been in commercial real estate previously.

“We bought out one of our tenants and saw the great potential with wireless,” Chris Michael says.

They’re planning to open 25 stores in the next 36 months in a six-state region.

Michael says they decided to come to Wichita in part because the T-Mobile signal is strong here.

“It’s extremely strong,” he says.

Michael says the Towne East store was a good starting point.

“I felt like that had a really strong retail presence in it and some really strong growth potential as a store.”

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Towne East Square is repaving lots

WICHITA — Visitors to Towne East Square along with passersby may be wondering if something new is coming to the area around it.

There are several large pieces of equipment in operation there, but they’re not for new construction. They’re for new paving.

A Towne East spokesman says some parts of the parking lot haven’t been repaved since the mall was built in the mid-1970s.

The paving may not be terribly exciting; however, there are some potential new businesses that may be coming to the greater Kellogg and Rock area in the new year. We’ll keep you posted.

Men’s Wearhouse to open at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road

WICHITA — West Wichita, you’re gonna like the way you look. Men’s Warehouse is opening a store in NewMarket Square to guarantee it.

“We’ve been courting them for 11 years,” says April Reed of Slawson Cos., which owns the center at 21st and Maize Road.

“Over the years, they were afraid it was going to cannibalize their east store.”

Men’s Wearhouse has been at Towne East Square since 1993.

“We kept telling them this is a totally different market out here,” Reed says.

She handled the deal for the 4,500-square-foot space, which is where the Firkin and Bull restaurant used to be.

“The reason we’re doing this is because our business is so good on the east side of town, it gave us the incentive to do a second store,” says Tim Henry, the director of real estate for the Rocky Mountain region of Men’s Wearhouse.

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