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.”

Brothers & Co. to move to Kress Building

WICHITA — Brothers & Co. is moving to the Kress Building downtown with a plan that served the advertising agency well when it opened its first Wichita office:

Lease more space than it needs, and hope to outgrow it.

Shawn Harris (left) and Kristjan Olson of Brothers & Co., which is moving to the Kress Building at Douglas and Broadway.

Shawn Harris (left) and Kristjan Olson of Brothers & Co., which is moving to the Kress Building at Douglas and Broadway.

“We would be absolutely thrilled if we had to go procure more space or add more floors,” says Kristjan Olson, an account supervisor and Wichita team leader.

The Tulsa-based agency, which is known here for the “Bravely Onward” campaign it did for Fidelity Bank, has done business in Wichita for about a decade. It opened its first Wichita office in 900 square feet at WaterWalk Place in early 2013.

The space was too big then, “and it’s now too small for what we need today,” Olson says.

The new space at the Kress Building, which is at the northwest corner of Douglas and Broadway, will be about 4,500 square feet.

“We’ve had a lot of growth,” says associate creative director Shawn Harris. “This move is really a reflection of that growth. … We’re hoping to continue that growth.”

Olson says a big part of that is through talent acquisition.

“Being able to reach out and find new employees who can help us grow more,” he says.

The agency, which also has an Oklahoma City office, has about 80 employees, seven of whom are in Wichita.

“Our space will probably allow for a solid 15-person agency in its current configuration,” Olson says.

He says the agency frequently partners with others, such as video production companies and photographers, and the extra space will help with that as well.

“Part of good client service includes proximity,” Olson says. “The idea is that we’re really here to service our clients and to service them better.”

Though the agency’s work in Wichita isn’t strictly Wichita-focused, it has a number of clients here, such as Kansas Strong and a division of Invista. National clients include Remington firearms and Carhartt and Under Armour clothing.

“We’re spread across a pretty wide variety of industries,” Olson says.

That includes the oil and gas industry, a fair amount in the financial sector and the outdoor sector, including sports such as hunting and fishing.

“A good number of our clients are located in this area,” Olson says. “There’s certainly a number of companies that we’d like to … get on their radar.”

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Boudoir by Wallflower and new portrait studio to move to Kress Building

WICHITA — May is a popular decision time for Aaron and Christina Patton.

In May 2008, they decided to open Wallflower Studios, the umbrella company for a couple of photography businesses they own.

Last May, the couple decided to expand to the former Roots & Bloom building at 151 S. Laura.

This May – this week, in fact – they signed a deal for new space on the fifth floor of the Kress Building at the northwest corner of Douglas and Broadway.

“Pretty much anytime we have an opportunity to make it better for our clients, we’re going to do that,” Aaron Patton says.

The main focus of the new space will be on Christina Patton’s Boudoir by Wallflower and her emerging Wallflower Women’s Portrait Studio.

Aaron Patton will use the space for his self-named photography business as well, though not in an official capacity.

“This new studio is really geared more toward her work,” he says.

Patton says what attracted him and his wife to the 3,200-square-foot Kress space is the ability to do a custom build for exactly what they need.

“In this one, we get to adapt the space to us, which is nice,” he says. “It’s going to be perfect and just exactly what we need.”

Delton Sandefer of Prudential Dinning-Beard Realtors and Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

The Pattons’ current lease ends June 30. They’ll spend July moving and then reopen at the Kress on Aug. 1.

Aaron Patton says they won’t be going anywhere for a while after that.

“We do have a five-year lease on this space.”

Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services signs new downtown lease

WICHITA — Another state agency has signed a lease at 266 N. Main St., which is known as the former Ryan International Airlines building, and this will be the final one because the building is now full.

“The building represented the chance to put some agencies together under one roof,” says Mark McGivern, director of the Office of Facilities and Procurement Management within the state Department of Administration.

“It made sense from our end.”

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services will join the Kansas Corporation Commission, the Kansas Department of Labor and the state Board of Indigents’ Defense Services.

The Department on Aging has a 10-year lease for 5,666 square feet on the second floor. It’s slated to move in the first of September.

Currently, the department is in the Finney State Office Building at 230 E. William.

In June, Have You Heard? reported that nine state agencies, including more than 700 employees, will leave the city-owned building when the state’s lease expires on Sept. 30.

“The Wichita office market was quite attractive,” McGivern says.

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Kansas Corporation Commission signs lease at former Ryan building

072413ryanUPDATED — There’s another new lease at the former Ryan International Airlines building at 266 N. Main St., and it happens to be another state agency.

“We’re slowly filling it up with state leases,” says Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, who handled the lease.

“The most recent one that got signed and approved was the Kansas Corporation Commission,” Simon says.

The commission is taking 17,267 square feet on the second floor.

Currently, the commission is in the Finney State Office Building at 230 E. William.

In June, Have You Heard? reported that nine state agencies, including more than 700 employees, will leave the city-owned building when the state’s lease expires on Sept. 30, 2014.

The Kansas Department of Labor, which is temporarily in the Finney building, signed a lease for the former Ryan building in September.

The state Board of Indigents’ Defense Services, which has been at 150 N. Main, signed a lease in the former Ryan building in October.

“There’s one more,” Simon says of state agency leases, “and we’re waiting to get the lease signed.”

That likely will be in the next week or two, he says.

“And then the entire building will be full once that’s complete.”

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C.J. Owens to start Summit Employment

WICHITA — After a number of years working for others in the staffing and human resource field, C.J. Owens is now starting his own employment agency.

Summit Employment will open in the new year in almost 800 square feet at the southwest corner of Third and Waco.

Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Most recently, Owens has been human resource director for Mill-Tel.

“I miss the aspect of helping people,” he says of being on the other side of the business. Owens says he wants to help workers with temporary and permanent placements.

“That’s really kind of what I’m wanting to get back into, and that’s really kind of the drive behind this.”

Owens says he likes helping people at each step of their job searches, from creating resumes to coaching on interviewing.

“It’s just that whole process that’s very enjoyable for me.”

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Board of Indigents’ Defense Services signs new downtown lease near courthouse

WICHITA — As expected, the state Board of Indigents’ Defense Services is moving ahead with a lease at 266 N. Main.

The office currently is at 150 N. Main.

“It’s a lot closer to the courthouse,” director Patricia Scalia says of the new space. She says that’s “a big plus for us because as public defenders, our attorneys are back and forth to the courthouse morning and afternoon.”

Scalia says the extra block and a half closer “might not sound like a lot, but on a winter morning, that feels like a lot.”

The agency’s existing lease is up in June. The current office is 1,640 square feet with 820 square feet of storage and free common areas as well.

The new lease is for 3,222 square feet along with additional common areas for which the agency will have to pay.

Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

The Kansas Corporation Commission and the Kansas Human Rights Commission are expected to signs leases in the same building as well. Look for that news next month.

Three state agencies close to signing new downtown leases despite city’s objections

The former Ryan International Airlines building.

UPDATED — Three state agencies, including two that currently are in the Finney State Office Building, are close to finalizing leases for the former Ryan International Airlines building at 266 N. Main.

The Joint Committee on State Building Construction will consider leases for the Kansas Corporation Commission and the Kansas Human Rights Commission next month and the state Board of Indigents’ Defense Services on Wednesday.

“To my great surprise and chagrin, this committee has no authority to stop this process other than the bully pulpit,” says state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, a new member of the committee. “We can raise questions about the appropriateness of the move … and hopefully shame them into doing the right thing.”

Ward says the reasons the state has offered for why nine agencies need to leave the Finney building, a city-owned property at 230 E. William, “don’t seem to hold water compared to the bid given by the city.”

He’s referring to a new lease rate the city is offering to the state to keep the Department for Children and Families at the Finney building. DCF has more than 550 of the 700 state employees at the building.

According to a Sept. 9 letter Mayor Carl Brewer sent to Gov. Sam Brownback, the city would slash DCF’s lease rate from $11 a square foot to $6 a square foot for half the space it currently has. The reduced space is at DCF’s request, according to the letter. The city also offered to make a $6 million investment in improvements in the building.

“It is my hope, as mayor of Wichita, that the valuable relationship between the City and State can be preserved by a responsible business decision allowing the continued use of the Finney State Office Building as a centralized location for state agencies,” Brewer wrote.

Chuck Knapp, spokesman for the state Department of Administration, says it’s a “foregone conclusion” that DCF and the Kansas Corporation Commission will be leaving, because the Finney building does not meet their needs.

“Someone could offer you a cardboard box for free, and if it didn’t meet your housing needs, you … wouldn’t accept it,” Knapp says. “I’m certainly not saying the Finney building is a cardboard box. … Price isn’t necessarily the determining factor in the deal.”

In his letter, Brewer referenced a July meeting he had with Brownback after which a new conversation started with DCF about how the city could meet the department’s needs.

“However, despite our best efforts, we encountered obstacles that prevented a full evaluation of our counterproposal,” he wrote.

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Kansas Department of Labor to move to former Ryan International Airlines building

WICHITA — The Kansas Department of Labor, which is temporarily located at the Finney State Office Building, has signed a lease at the former Ryan International Airlines building at 266 N. Main St.

“They looked at several buildings,” says Chuck Knapp, Department of Administration spokesman. “Labor decided that that building best met their needs.”

The 10-year lease, which has two renewal options of five years each, is for 9,113 square feet.

Level 3 Communications and Hubris Communications are already at the building. Level 3 is downsizing its space, and that’s what the Department of Labor is taking.

Knapp says the department had been in another downtown building but was having some issues, so it made a quick move to the Finney building.

Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal for the Main Street lease, which begins Nov. 1.

Simon also recently handled the sale of that building when Tom Schmeidler of SBA Construction, his brothers and another investor purchased the property out of foreclosure.

More news is coming about the building soon.

There’s also news coming about another departure from the Finney building.

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Alzheimer’s Association buys Wichita Festivals building — again

WICHITA — With a lease for new office space, Wichita Festivals is a step closer to its goal of one day being “right front and center” with downtown property. That is freeing the group’s current space for the Alzheimer’s Association to buy it, which is a familiar situation.

When the Alzheimer’s Association bought its current building at 347 S. Laura in 1998, it purchased it from Wichita Festivals.

In fact, when the association recently took its sign down to prepare it for its new space, the former Wichita Festivals sign became visible again.

Now, Wichita Festivals is moving from 1820 E. Douglas to 444 E. William.

“We’re trying to figure out what the right long-term home is,” says president and CEO Mary Beth Jarvis.

She says the group wants to continue to collaborate with people who are working on developing the core of downtown, and the closer the organization is physically, “the more we’re able to be relevant and helpful.”

The new office, where Jarvis expects to be for a couple of years, will be where the city’s career development office used to be.

“So we’re 14 blocks closer to downtown,” Jarvis says.

The Alzheimer’s Association first began talking to Wichita Festivals about its space a couple of years ago.

“They had had kind of a standing offer on the building,” Jarvis says. “We knew it wasn’t our best long-term home.”

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