Echo Hills developer Mike Loveland tells Park City chamber he’ll have “something of significance” to announce soon

WICHITA — Mike Loveland is quiet to the point of silent about his deals, and it wasn’t much different Wednesday when he agreed to speak to the Park City Chamber of Commerce about his Echo Hills project.

“You said a whole bunch of stuff without saying anything,” one attendee said to Loveland on his way out the door.

Loveland did share one little-known detail about the 80-acre project northwest of Interstate 135 and 53rd Street North in Park City.

“I was looking for a site for a nighttime golf course,” he said of how he first started looking at the land around 2000.

He said it then occurred to him what an incredible retail site it would make. Loveland says it took a while, but he closed on the land in 2010, which he says wasn’t a great time to start attracting interest.

“I wish I could have made it go faster,” he said.

“In ’12 they started talking again,” he said of potential retail tenants.

Loveland said he’d been close to a big deal for an anchor tenant.

“I‘m not saying who it was,” he said. But he added that “Cabela’s beat ’em to the punch” when it announced it would open at Regency Lakes in Wichita.

Loveland said he’s now close on another possible anchor tenant, which he thinks he has an almost 90 percent chance of landing, along with another one that he thinks is a 50-50 chance.

“Those anchors have such an effect,” he said of attracting smaller tenants.

He expects to announce “something of significance” within a month.

“We’re really close. I wish I could tell you who they are.”

Loveland said attracting major retailers to that area is a battle similar to what Derby once faced.

“You had to beg people to come down to Derby, Kansas,” he said.

That, of course, changed in a big way with retailers such as Lowe’s, Target and Kohl’s opening there.

“That’s what I’m in hopes of here in Echo Hills,” Loveland said.

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Hobby Lobby to open in Regency Lakes at 21st and Greenwich

WICHITA — Another major building is under construction at Regency Lakes next to where Cabela’s opened last year.

According to documents filed with the city, Hobby Lobby is building a new 55,000-square-foot store.

Regency Lakes, a Laham Development property at the northwest corner of 21st and Greenwich, is home to SuperTarget, World Market and Hampton Inn & Suites among other things.

Hobby Lobby will go between World Market and Cabela’s, which opened in an 80,000-square-foot space in March 2012.

It looks like the Hobby Lobby currently on the east side at 21st and Woodlawn in Brittany Center will be closing when the new one opens.

There’s also one on the west side in the center at the southwest corner of Central and Ridge.

Building plans for the Regency Lakes Hobby Lobby indicate the store will be based on a new prototype for the craft chain.

Brad Saville with Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

There are still a few pad sites left at the 60-acre development. That includes one on the corner, one between Subway and Chili’s and one north of Chili’s.

No one involved is talking just yet, but Hobby Lobby is slated to open yet this year, so look for more details soon.

Construction begins on one A-OK Center, second one to follow with more after that

WICHITA — Construction started this week at Bruce Harris’ new A-OK Center at New Leaf Plaza at 21st and Amidon, but that’s hardly the only new thing the pawn shop owner has going on.

“Wichita’s economy is starting to come back,” he says. “This shopping center in the middle of town is going to come alive again.”

The former Marina Lakes is now home to a Walmart Neighborhood Market that Harris says is contributing to those “sparks of life coming along.”

Harris also is about to begin building a new center at 410 N. West St.

It’ll be about 19,000 square feet, and the center at New Leaf will be 25,000 square feet.

“It’s going to be a huge place,” Harris says.

His centers at Harry and Oliver and Harry and Broadway are 18,000 square feet each.

The New Leaf center will be the “same thing on steroids.”

“What we’re doing is changing the way people shop,” Harris says. “We have new, used and lease to own.”

Both new centers and his store at Harry and Oliver will have a Better Living shop, which is Harris’ new lease-to-own concept.

New Leaf and West Street also each will have an A-OK Pawn Shop, One Day Jewelry and Repair, Cricket and A-OK Financial Services, which offers check cashing, payday loans, title loans and tax services.

Harris says the New Leaf center will be the most elaborate.

“I’m going to try to make it a lot of fun,” he says. “It’ll be kind of like Cabela’s.”

What he means is he plans a lot of displays and unusual touches that will “make it a really neat retail atmosphere that you’ve never seen in the pawn industry.”

There will be a dramatic 30-foot ceiling at the entrance of the center where Harris hopes to have something fun, such as a small plane or part of a helicopter hanging.

“We’re going to try to work with the Wichita motif.”

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Whole Foods Market to open in Wichita at the new Waterfront Plaza

UPDATED — A new phase of the Waterfront development will be the home of Whole Foods Market when it arrives in Wichita next year.

“It’s very big for us,” said Stephen Clark II, who is managing the project, of landing the organic and natural food chain.

“It could be beneficial for the whole market,” Clark said. He said retailers such as Whole Foods Market and the new Cabela’s that entered the market earlier this year attract other big names.

“The more of that you can get, the more interest there is from others.”

Clark’s father, Steve Clark, and fellow Waterfront developer Johnny Stevens are building a new 70,000-square-foot retail center called Waterfront Plaza on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road, which Stephen Clark says is part of the larger Waterfront development on the northeast corner.

Whole Foods will anchor the development with a 30,000-square-foot store that Clark said will open in November 2013.

“We just feel that it’s really going to pair well with the community,” said Ben Friedland, executive marketing coordinator of the Rocky Mountain region for Whole Foods Market.

“One of the things that we’re most excited about is we’re a very decentralized organization, which allows us to build stores that are very specific to the communities in which they live,” he said. He said the chain partners with local producers who meet Whole Foods Market standards to sell their items so the store is “going to be endemic to the community, and it’s going to take on its local flair and its local flavor.”

“We’re just really excited about the abundance of local products available.”

Friedland said the Austin-based chain, which has 325 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, has been looking at Wichita for a couple of years.

“It’s another feather in the cap of Wichita for bringing the big names that wouldn’t touch us two to five years ago,” said Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate. “It’s the domino effect. You bring one or two here, and the rest think, geez, maybe we should be here.”

Piros is handling leasing at the remaining 40,000 square feet at Waterfront Plaza in addition to retail and office leasing within the larger Waterfront area east of Webb Road. That includes a new 4.3 acre area under development north of Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar where two new office buildings are slated to be under construction soon.

Piros said he’s close on a few potential Waterfront Plaza tenants. Clark said landing Whole Foods helps.

“People want to be next to Whole Foods, and we expect a lot more activity out there.”

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Academy Sports & Outdoors to open by Lowe’s near 29th and Maize Road

UPDATED — The east side has the new Cabela’s store at 21st and Greenwich, but the west side will have another sports and outdoor retail shop of its own.

Academy Sports & Outdoors finalized a deal Thursday to locate in more than 73,000 square feet just north of the Lowe’s near 29th and Maize Road.

That’s just under the 80,000 square feet Cabela’s has.

“We consider ourselves to be a sports, outdoors and lifestyle retailer,” says spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook.

It was summer 2010 when Have You Heard? first reported that the Texas-based chain was looking to possibly come to Wichita.

The store will have a range of hunting, fishing and camping equipment in addition to sports and leisure products, including footwear and apparel among other things.

Cabela’s is just one of Academy Sports & Outdoors’ competitors. Hasbrook says the store will compete with smaller retailers as well.

“What’s great about Academy is you can get all those (products) in one place.”

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You don’t say

“If a camo bathing suit is on your list, you can find it there.”

Cathy Erickson of Laham Development, one of the developers of Cabela’s, which is opening Wednesday at Laham’s Regency Lakes at 21st and Greenwich

Dentist Joe Baba plans east-side practice at the new Oak Creek Professional Office Park

WICHITA — Dentist Joe Baba has purchased 10,000 square feet at the new Oak Creek Professional Office Park at 21st and Greenwich for his Baba Dental Design.

That’s where Slawson Cos. already has the Oak Creek residential development.

Baba, who currently has an office at the Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis campus, plans a 5,300-square-foot office at Oak Creek within two years.

“Being located somewhere near 96 seemed to be a wise thing to do,” he says of the nearby K-96.

Baba’s practice is in jaw-joint dysfunctions, sleep apnea and orthodontia.

Almost half of his patients come from outside of Wichita, so that’s why expressway access is important to him.

“I believe we’re providing a very tremendous service to the community and to the state and just want to make that more available,” Baba says. “We have been able to help people that for 15, 20, 25 years have been in pain and have not found a solution for that.”

Also, Nancy Tran, who practices general dentistry in Baba’s clinic, likes the east-side for its growth potential.

“She perceived more possibilities for her there,” Baba says.

“It’s good to know that companies like Cabela’s also see . . . future growth in that area,” he says of the outdoor retailer, which plans a store across the intersection at Regency Lakes.

Plans are to keep the St. Francis office for now as well.

“It accommodates our west-side patients quite well, so we want to make sure we continue to do that,” Baba says.

Eventually, he’d like an office on the west side, too.

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Cabela’s to open in 2012 at Regency Lakes shopping center at 21st and Greenwich

WICHITA — Cabela’s, the Nebraska-based giant national outdoor retailer, is coming to Wichita’s Regency Lakes shopping center at 21st and Greenwich in spring 2012.

“Cabela’s can go to any city in America, and they decided to come to Wichita, America,” says George Laham, president of Laham Development, the Regency Lakes developer.

“That says a lot about Wichita.”

Construction on the 80,000-square-foot store will start this summer.

“Competition is good for everybody,” says Todd Barker, manager of competing Gander Mountain at downtown’s WaterWalk development.

“We’ll keep doing what we’re doing,” Barker says of Gander Mountain, which is one of the chain’s highest-producing stores.

Gander Mountain opened at WaterWalk in 2005 after an effort to lure Bass Pro Shops fell apart over public financing of the project.

City Council member Sue Schlapp was involved in trying to lure Bass Pro.

“I am a person who believes downtown is your center,” she says.

Still, Regency Lakes is in her district, and she’s thrilled Cabela’s is going there.

“Cabela’s is a fabulous attraction,” Schlapp says. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

She doesn’t quibble with the chain’s selection of northeast Wichita over downtown.

“If they feel that that’s a better place for them . . . who am I to tell them something different?”

Cabela’s, which was represented by Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, will locate along K-96 north of the 20,000-square-foot World Market at Regency Lakes. There will be room for a 50,000-square-foot retailer between the stores.

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All Things BBQ coming to Delano

WICHITA — And now for the last bit of Delano news for the day.

All Things BBQ will have a soft opening later this month at 615 W. Douglas west of the clock tower.

The specialty retail shop will carry smokers, grills, fuel, sauces, rubs and everything else associated with cooking out. Eventually, it will have cooking classes as well.

“We have a pretty extensive list of things we’re going to be offering,” says Don Cary, who is opening the store with his wife, Kathy.

She’s who convinced him to open the shop and put it in Delano.

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