Bank of America slashes space at namesake building, plans to close banking center

UPDATED — Bank of America Center’s namesake tenant is significantly reducing its size at the building at Douglas and Broadway.

“That’s just one of the many they’re downsizing,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father’s Ruffin Properties.

“It’s kind of sad since they’ve been such a longtime tenant. They’re a great tenant.”

Bank of America building in downtown Wichita.  (Oct. 9, 2012.)The North Carolina-based bank has been cutting costs and eliminating thousands of jobs over the past few years.

Currently, Bank of America has 50,000 square feet at its downtown Wichita headquarters.

“They’re cutting down to about 12,000 square feet and giving … us back the second floor,” says Phil Ruffin, who owns the building. “That’s how far we’ve gotten so far.”

The bank’s lease expires Dec. 31.

“We have been reviewing all of our corporate real estate needs across the country over the last several years,” bank spokeswoman Diane Wagner said in an e-mail.

“We have identified some areas that will allow us to become more efficient and are working to reduce the space we have to fit the needs of our businesses. In Wichita, this means we are reducing our space in the 100 N. Broadway location . . . . We do plan to continue to have some offices in the building, but can’t share any further details at this time.”

Wagner does confirm, though, that Bank of America’s retail banking center will close.

“As it relates to our banking center, after careful consideration, we have chosen to close the banking center at 100 N. Broadway as we will consolidate and serve our banking center customers’ needs from our nearby Mid Towne Center facility at 411 S Topeka St.,” Wagner wrote. “This consolidation into our motor bank building will require significant investment in the facility and demonstrates our commitment in the downtown district for Wichita.”

“It’s beautiful space,” Phil Ruffin says. “There’s no space like it in Wichita, I can tell you that.”

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Wichita’s LSI office to move to Ruffin Building on East Douglas

UPDATED — When LSI’s Engenio storage division sold to NetApp in 2011, one piece of the LSI business remained at the NetApp building on North Rock Road.

LSI is now moving into its own space at the Ruffin Building at 9111 E. Douglas, which is the one-time Pizza Hut headquarters.

“We’re excited to have them,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties.

The 5-year lease is for 19,000 square feet of the 254,000-square-foot building.

“I have about 25,000 left,” Ruffin says of what’s still available to lease.

Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons helped him with the deal.

“They were instrumental in helping put it together,” Ruffin says.

Also helping was California-based Ham Southworth of Studley Inc. Southworth represents LSI nationally.

He says about 50 people will be moving. Southworth says most are engineers but there are sales, operations and marketing employees as well.

“They’re going to move in as soon as possible,” Ruffin says. He anticipates that will take three or four months.

Other tenants include Ally, CCH and Pure-Formance Sports & Fitness Training Center, which Ruffin says is open to the public.

He says Ruffin Properties recently spent $115,000 on landscaping at the Ruffin Building.

“And it’s going to really improve … the overall appearance to the building.”

Ruffin says the LSI lease is significant.

“It’s just a really good deal,” Ruffin says.

And not just for Ruffin Properties and LSI, he says, but for Wichita in general.

“It means that the private sector’s moving a little bit.”

Ruffin working on two Delano properties

WICHITA — Chris Ruffin director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties, is working on a couple of new deals in Delano.

One is for what will be the former Ruben’s Mexican Grill space, which he plans to renovate.

“It’s going to be really neat,” he says. “Everybody will really like it.”

The other is behind 550 W. Douglas where the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office is.

There had been an old warehouse behind the building.

“We’ve torn down that building,” Ruffin says.

He says he can build to suit, most likely for an office use.

“I think retail would be difficult there.”

Ruben’s Mexican Grill is moving by spring, most likely within Delano

WICHITA — Ruben’s Mexican Grill is moving – again – but probably not far.

Almost a decade ago, Ruben & Anita’s Tacos left the Farm & Art Market in Old Town for a new home in Delano. Ruben Acosta changed the restaurant’s name and opened near the northwest corner of Douglas and McLean.

Now, he’s negotiating to take space at the northwest corner of Douglas and Osage, which is just down Douglas in Delano.

“We’re still kind of like maybe a month out from really knowing,” says Omar Acosta, Ruben Acosta’s son.

Omar Acosta says “we’re kind of getting kicked out” due to the restaurant’s rent getting tripled. Ruben’s subleases space from Valero. Phil Ruffin owns the property.

“It’ll be a good change,” Acosta says. “I don’t think anybody really minds having to move. It’s just the process of having to do it.”

The restaurant’s lease is up in April.

Chris Ruffin, who handles real estate for his father’s properties, says the Douglas and McLean property is “up for redevelopment.”

“We’re looking into it,” he says.

Anything new is at least a year away. Ruffin says he’s considering options for what to do there.

“I haven’t made any plans.”

Occupational Safety & Health Administration to move to Bank of America Center

UPDATED — The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is going to open an office in the Bank of America Center at Douglas and Broadway.

“We’re real excited about having them,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties.

OSHA, which is taking 6,500 square feet on the fourth floor, signed a 10-year lease.

Grant Tidemann and Marty Gilchrist of J.P. Weigand & Sons helped with the deal.

“They were a lot of help,” Chris Ruffin says. Government deals “are very complicated.”

Martin Pringle also recently signed a 10-year extension on its lease at the Bank of America Center. The law firm has the entire fifth floor, which is about 35,000 square feet.

When Phil Ruffin bought the building in 2006, it had a 52 percent occupancy rate. Now, it’s at about 94 percent.

“We are getting full,” Chris Ruffin says. “We only have a little bit of space left.”

He says he’s working with several people on other potential deals there.

“We’re just trying to get the rest of the spaces leased.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services finalizes lease for former Davis Furniture space in Delano

WICHITA — The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has closed on its deal to lease the 13,000-square-foot former Davis Furniture space in Delano.

“It’s all done and signed,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties.

In August, Have You Heard? reported the lease was a possibility.

At the time, Chris Ruffin — who previously planned a country-and-western bar for the space — admitted the immigration office might not have the same flair.

“You know, it’s not glamorous, but it’s a really vital part of government resources.”

The renovated space will be ready in about a year.

Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture is the architect.

“It’s going to look really good,” Ruffin says. “I love the plans.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may take 13,000 square feet of former Davis Furniture space in Delano

UPDATED — A deal is close for a new tenant in the former Davis Furniture space, and it’s as unlike a country-and-western bar as it can be.

It looked like there was a done deal earlier today, but it’s not finalized yet. If it happens, though, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would take 13,000 square feet in the building.

“You know, it’s not glamorous, but it’s a really vital part of government resources,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties.

Chris Ruffin says an Immigration Services lease would mean a lot for Delano, too.

“It’s a big deal,” he says. “It saves that derelict building. It’s been an eyesore in Wichita for a really, really long time.”

The Ruffins plan to heavily invest in the property, where they once planned a bar, before Immigration Services would move in.

“The building’s going to look spectacular,” Chris Ruffin says. “It’s not going to look like a government building per se.”

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Deal in the works for the former Davis Furniture space in Delano

WICHITA — Chris Ruffin is close to announcing a new deal for the former Davis Furniture space in Delano.

“I’m working on something big,” says Ruffin, who is director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties.

Chris Ruffin at one point planned a 15,000-square-foot country-western bar and restaurant for the space, but he and his father decided to go in a different direction.

It sounds like the new deal is with a local company possibly looking to expand, but Ruffin won’t go into details about what kind of business it is.

“I really can’t because if our competitors find out, that wouldn’t be good for us. There’s a reason real estate is so secretive.”

Look for news within a week.

“It’s such a great deal.”

Rowley Snyder Ablah moves agency office downtown

WICHITA — Despite extensive east-side searches for a new office, Rowley Snyder Ablah has moved downtown to former Big Dog Motorcycle space at 145 N. Hydraulic.

“I’ve got to tell you, we’ve looked at almost everything on the east side,” Bruce Rowley says.

When he opened the agency late last year, it temporarily was located in the Terra-Cotta Tower at 29th North and Rock Road. Rowley liked the amenities on the east side.

“I finally got dragged by my leasing agent down to this building that he wanted to show me,” Rowley says of Classic Real Estate’s Craig Ablah, who is agency partner Jeff Ablah’s cousin.

Rowley likes the openness of the 3,000-square-foot space, but he particularly likes the area around the building.

“You know there’s something happening down here,” he says. “This is kind of a vibrant little area with lots of cool stuff going on.”

He’s impressed with what Chris Ruffin has done with the nearby Sunburst Plaza at 1725 on East Douglas, which is where Tanya’s Soup Kitchen will soon reopen.

Tanya’s and the Donut Whole across the street helped seal the deal.

Rowley says his office has already done taste tests to determine favorite doughnuts.

“I thought that maple bacon was going to be winning, but Neapolitan appears to be quite a hit, and the one with Fruity Pebbles on it.”

Rowley says he knows his 12-person agency isn’t going to have a huge impact on the area, but he hopes his “little, tiny presence” adds to the movement there.

Sunburst Plaza at 1725 has space left to lease

WICHITA — With the almost 2,100-square-foot Tanya’s Soup Kitchen lease, the newly renovated Sunburst Plaza at 1725 still has 6,500 square feet left to lease.

Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties, is looking to make the building “more of a destination-type shopping area.”

Ruffin, a musician, took the Sunburst name and the building’s new color from his guitar.

He says Sunburst is the color of a wood stain technique used on Fender and Gibson guitars, and that’s where he got the inspiration.

Ruffin says he’s talking to some other possible tenants — “some exciting stuff” — but doesn’t have anything to announce just yet.