Retail center coming to 21st and Amidon

WICHITA — The intersection of 21st and Amidon continues to get a makeover.

The gas station at the southeast corner is being demolished to make room for a small retail development.

“We’re just going to do a little mini shopping center,” says Larry Cook of Cook Construction.

“We’ve got two really great tenants that are going to go in there,” he says.

Cook says he can’t say who the tenants are just yet.

“We’re real, real close,” he says of the deals.

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Planning commission once again votes against 21st and Oliver rezoning

WICHITA — The Metropolitan Area Planning Commission has once again voted against attorney Bob Kaplan’s rezoning request for 21st and Oliver even though he modified it.

Kaplan is requesting neighborhood office zoning to put a pharmacy drug store – likely CVS, though he won’t confirm that – and medical or other offices on the northwest corner. He says he can understand some neighbors in the area being against it, but not anyone else.

“From a professional perspective, 21st and Oliver … is a commercial location,” he says. “I don’t know anybody who would want to build a home on a property where 25,000 cars pass every day.”

Kaplan is representing the Mike Marks family, which owns the northwest corner property, and Rip Gooch, who owns the lot to the north.

He’s so confident that his position is the correct one, Kaplan is willing to put money on it.

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Metropolitan Area Planning Commission to consider 21st and Oliver rezoning

WICHITA — Attorney Bob Kaplan has modified his rezoning request for 21st and Oliver.

He had been seeking limited commercial zoning with a protective overlay at and near the northwest corner, which would allow for only two uses: a convenience store and fuel stop on the corner and a pharmacy and drug store on the other lot.

It sounds like CVS may be the pharmacy, but Kaplan wouldn’t discuss specifics on either of the businesses when Have You Heard? reported on the issue in October.

Kaplan is representing the Mike Marks family, which owns the northwest corner property, and Rip Gooch, who owns the lot to the north.

The issue will come before the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission again Thursday. When it came up the last time, the commission voted 7 to 4 against recommending the rezoning.

“I amended the application to make an attempt to meet the objections,” Kaplan says.

He’s now asking for neighborhood office zoning, which he calls “a much less intense district.”

“The only retail I kept was the pharmacy drug store, which several people indicated they wanted. Other than that, I lowered my expectations to just neighborhood office and medical only.”

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CVS negotiating for space at the northwest corner of Douglas and Rock

WICHITA — CVS is working on a deal for a new store at the northwest corner of Douglas and Rock.

That’s according to CVS manager Rodney Brockhoff, who says the chain has several new stores that are opening and others that are in the works in the Wichita area and other Kansas cities.

CVS entered the Wichita market earlier this year.

Brockhoff says a Junction City CVS will open in January, followed by one at Harry and Hillside in Wichita on Feb. 16.

Then come stores in Emporia and Salina before more in Wichita. The south side is likely to be CVS’ next target.

Brockhoff says the Rhode Island-based company wants to get some deals closed before taking on more than what’s already in the works.

He says the potential Douglas and Rock store is “just one of many locations we’re working on.”

You don’t say

“I think our new pharma-friends at CVS could use a little neighborly help mastering the tricky spelling of our city.”

– An e-mail from Wichita resident CJ Menousek on how the drug store spells the name of the city as “Witchita” on some of its receipts

Neighbors oppose 21st and Oliver rezoning

WICHITA — A couple of businesses are seeking limited commercial zoning at and near the northwest corner of 21st and Oliver, but it’s an uphill battle.

“The neighbors were not very delighted about it,” says attorney Bob Kaplan, who is working on the rezoning.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Commission recently voted 7 to 4 against recommending the rezoning.

“I didn’t expect to get accommodations, and believe me, I didn’t,” Kaplan says.

The Mike Marks family owns the northwest corner property, and Rip Gooch owns the lot to the north.

Kaplan is seeking the limited commercial zoning with a protective overlay, which would allow for only two uses: a convenience store and fuel stop on the corner and a pharmacy and drug store on the other lot.

It sounds like CVS may be the pharmacy, but Kaplan won’t discuss specifics on either of the businesses.

He says he can’t think of many arterial intersections in Wichita that aren’t zoned for commercial uses.

There’s already a shopping center, church and Wichita State University’s golf course at the intersection.

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Phil Ruffin likes a good deal — if he’s the one getting it

WICHITA — It’s no wonder Phil Ruffin does business in Las Vegas instead of merely his hometown of Wichita.

Ruffin, who owns Treasure Island, recently added 40,000 square feet of retail space to the casino and hotel. CVS signed the first lease at the new space at $300 a square foot.

“Can you imagine that?” Ruffin says of the price. “Isn’t that crazy?”

Wichita prices are significantly less at more like $15 to $25 a square foot.

Ruffin says a lot of Wichitans are coming to his hotel, but he’s not giving them any special deals.

“Hell no.”

Medicine Shoppe sells to CVS

WICHITA — After two decades in business, the Medicine Shoppe on West 21st Street a half mile west of 21st and Amidon is closing.

“It really was such perfect timing because I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete against the big three there,” owner Ricky Tejeda says of Dillons and Walmart, which are already at the intersection, and the new CVS that opens on the northwest corner on Sunday.

“The piece of the pie is just getting smaller and smaller.”

Tejeda says CVS bought his business.

“Yeah, they did because they didn’t want to open up with zero prescriptions,” he says.

CVS also offered him a job, which he’ll take, though Tejeda isn’t sure how long he’ll stay.

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Everybody’s Family Restaurant to close March 30 to make room for CVS

WICHITA — Wednesday is the second anniversary of Everybody’s Family Restaurant opening at Hillside and Harry, and owner Ernie Fincher says business has “been awesome.”

March 30 is its last day in business, though. The restaurant, which is on the southwest corner of the intersection, is closing to make way for a new CVS store.

“It’s a sad deal,” says Fincher, who also owns Fat Ernie’s Family Dining on South Hydraulic. “We really are going to miss it.”

Even though he’s known this was coming for a year, Fincher says he still hasn’t found a new location.

“We are looking, but I just want to make sure I make the right decision.”

There’s a possibility the restaurant won’t reopen until the economy improves. Fincher isn’t sure yet.

“We’re going to miss a lot of customers,” he says. “Hopefully some of them will go back over to Fat Ernie’s.”

King’s Family Sale & Resale furniture store to close after 60 years, but the date isn’t set

WICHITA — Sixty years after opening his King’s Family Sale & Resale furniture shop at Harry and Hillside, Tony King is preparing to close it.

Whether that’s in three weeks or sometime in the new year, he hasn’t decided.

King is selling his land at the southwest corner of the intersection to CVS, which is putting a pharmacy there.

Don Ablah and his son, Christian, of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

It looks like King may be leaning toward staying open until CVS starts construction.

“The answer’s probably yes — if I can last that long,” says the 92-year-old, laughing.

As a third generation builder, King says he probably shouldn’t have ventured into furniture sales.

“I probably never should have gotten into a retail store,” he says. “Not my specialty.”

He says he opened it “to give my wife a job.”

Pat King had been a teacher.

“I made her into a furniture sales lady,” Tony King says. “I had to learn the business the hard way.”

At the time they opened the store, it was in the corner of the strip center at the intersection.

They briefly closed the store when Pat King became ill about a decade ago. When Tony King reopened it about a year later, it was in the building behind the former store, where it’s been since.

Habitat For Humanity ReStore is now in the corner space but is moving out within the month to its new home in the Plaza West shopping center at Central and West.

“I may be back in the corner again,” King says.

He says he can’t lease the Habitat space to anyone else for the short time it’ll be vacant, which is part of the reason he’s considering moving in.

“I don’t particularly want to. I think we do all right right here.”

So why bother?

“Well, we’ve got a lot to sell.”

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