Viega to leave Epic Center for sixth floor of Bank of America Center

WICHITA — The Epic Center’s loss will be the Bank of America Center’s gain.

Viega, a plumbing and heating systems manufacturer, is leaving the Epic Center for 32,000 square feet at Phil Ruffin’s Bank of America Center at Douglas and Broadway early next year.

“That’s a great lease,” Ruffin says. “We’re very happy to get it.”

No one with Viega would comment about the move.

“They’re a fine company,” Ruffin says. “I like them very much. They’re a fast-growing company.”

Chris Ruffin, Phil Ruffin’s son, and Jon Cyphert of Ruffin Properties handled the deal with Scott Salome of NAI Martens.

“They did a great job,” Phil Ruffin says.

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Toni D’s Deli & Catering to leave Carriage Parkway and consolidate at Toni D’s Too

WICHITA — Almost three decades after opening at Carriage Parkway, Toni and Dan Shadid are closing their Toni D’s Deli & Catering and consolidating their business into their family’s Toni D’s Too downtown.

“I’m just transferring the catering business down there plus … taking care of (that) catering business,” Toni Shadid says.

“Just” makes the move sound a little less substantial than it is, though.

“It’s like losing your baby,” Shadid says of leaving the center on East Central just east of Edgemoor.

“That’s probably the hardest part of the whole thing,” she says. “It was just time. It’s time.”

There are a few reasons for that, she and her husband say.

First, Fred Cohlmia, a family member who has an ownership at Toni D’s Too in the Epic Center, is taking some time off from running it.

“I’m moving down there to take over Fred’s catering jobs,” Toni Shadid says.

The Shadids also will run the deli at Toni D’s Too and plan to eventually revamp the menu.

Toni Shadid says she’ll be able to add more to the Toni D’s Too catering.

“They don’t work events,” she says. “We do.”

She also takes care of rentals and does room set-ups.

“I’ve been doing that forever,” Shadid says. “I can continue to take care of those people down there and continue to take care of my people who are all up this way.”

She says that’s how it was when she opened her Carriage Parkway business almost 27 years ago.

“When we were first here, we used to do all the downtown.”

When she started her business, Shadid says her only catering competitors were Antoine Toubia at the Olive Tree and Simply Elegant.

“That was it,” she says. “We were just the newbies.”

A lot has changed since then.

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You don’t say

“I can look down on City Hall from the sidewalk.”

Maura McEnaney, Monday’s Rotary speaker and the author of “Willard Garvey, An Epic Life,” quoting the late businessman’s response after someone said he could look down on City Hall from his new Epic Center

Willard Garvey’s ‘Epic Life’ told in new book

UPDATED — Maura McEnaney was a young journalist who had moved to Nevada in 1979 when she first encountered Wichita’s Garvey family at their ranch there. That included late patriarch Willard Garvey.

Willard Garvey’s image superimposed over a map that Pan American World Airways once gave him to document his many travels on that airline.

“I remember him just like spouting off all these things that he had been involved in, and I sort of didn’t really believe it,” McEnaney says. “I thought he was telling some tall tales, truly.”

More recently ,McEnaney spent five years researching the businessman’s life for a book about him. Interviews with people such as Craig Miner, the late historian, architect Sid Platt and Misco Industries chairman Bud Beren set her straight about what Garvey did and accomplished.

“That was kind of the fun thing about writing the book,” McEnaney says. “Everything he was talking about was true.”

LibertyTree Press is releasing “Willard Garvey, An Epic Life” next month.

LibertyTree is part of the California-based Independent Institute, a public policy research and education foundation. Garvey’s son-in-law, David Theroux, is president of the institute.

Though Garvey’s story is a personal one, Theroux says Garvey’s life is intertwined with the development of modern American life.

“It’s a huge slice of that history.”

McEnaney says Garvey was something of a more sophisticated Forrest Gump, who regularly found himself part of local, national and international history.

“Willard is very much that kind of a person … in a far more prestigious role,” she says.

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Tony Utter surprises fellow brokers as the Wichita Executive Centre’s new listing agent

Other brokers may question what he’s doing, but Tony Utter is confident in the future of the Wichita Executive Centre.

UPDATED — Some of Tony Utter’s fellow commercial brokers have had a recurring question for him since learning he’s taken over the listing for Real Development’s Wichita Executive Centre.

“Basically, was I out of my mind?”

Utter, who owns Utter Commercial Real Estate, acknowledges financial and other issues the Minnesota Guys and the building at 125 N. Market have faced in recent years.

“It’s been a topic of conversation quite a bit lately,” he says.

Calvin Klaassen, who works with Utter, will be helping him with the leasing.

“We did a lot of research before we agreed to it,” Utter says. “It was only after we were satisfied and reached … a high comfort level that we agreed to do this.”

Maintenance and other issues at the building aren’t all that had Utter concerned.

“We wanted to be very careful, very cautious before we agreed to take on a building of this size,” he says.

The 19-story, more than 300,000-square-foot building has about 80,000 vacant square feet of office space and about 100,000 vacant square feet of former hotel space. Utter says it’s the second-tallest office building in the state next to the neighboring Epic Center.

“This is the most complicated office building that I’ve ever been involved with,” Utter says. “It has a long history in Wichita.”

He’s had some history there already himself.

Utter was the leasing agent for the building for eight months before Real Development purchased it in 2007.

“So I’m back,” he says.

There are a few reasons Utter agreed to get involved.

No. 1, he is confident that his firm and any vendors will get paid.

“The good thing is that the lender is heavily involved,” Utter says of Security National Capital of Salt Lake City.

“We’re expecting a lot of assistance from other real estate brokers, and they want assurances that they’re going to be paid,” Utter says. “We depend heavily on working with other brokers. We consider them as part of our team.”

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U.S. Attorney’s Office seeking new lease

WICHITA — The General Services Administration has been busy signing two new leases at the Lux for the Defense Contract Audit Agency and the Defense Contract Management Agency, and it has one more to go. Where the lease will be is still a question, though.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office currently is in the Epic Center. Its lease will expire this summer, and the GSA will have a competitive bidding process for a new lease.

“They are looking in downtown,” says GSA public affairs officer Angela Brees.

She says the office needs approximately 21,000 square feet, which is about what it has now.

Even with a new lease, there’s a chance the office won’t have to move.

“There’s a possibility that they may still stay at their current location,” Brees says. “The current landlord can participate in the process.”

Fabulous Salon and Gifts to open at WaterWalk Place

WICHITA — It’s been a long time coming, but WaterWalk Place is getting a new tenant.

Hair stylist Tami Dugan is opening Fabulous Salon and Gifts in 1,100 square feet at the north end of the building.

“This is a great opportunity,” Dugan says.

She’s been at Epic Hair Styling and Barber in the Epic Center for more than 20 years.

“I’m just venturing out on my own now,” Dugan says.

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Wichita Community Foundation to move to the Epic Center

WICHITA — The Wichita Community Foundation is moving from its space at the Garvey Center, but it’s not leaving downtown.

The foundation, which promotes charitable giving, is moving to 2,600 square feet on the first floor of the Epic Center.

“The big issue with us is it’s more visibility,” says Rob Allison, president and CEO.

And it’s visibility in a building with a lot of professionals — particularly lawyers and accountants whose clients are the type of people likely to support the foundation.

“The tenant mix is absolutely a big factor on why we wanted to move,” Allison says. “Believe me, the closer to them that you are, the more they understand what you’re trying to do in the community.”

That’s an issue that he says affects every community foundation.

“The more visibility they have . . . the more people can understand them.”

The foundation has $42 million in assets and last year gave $4.2 million to local nonprofits.

“A community foundation is there to help and understand community needs,” Allison says. “That role is emphasized even more when you have difficult economic times.”

The foundation will open on Oct. 1 in its new location.

Patrick Ahern and Dave Wagner of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group handled the transaction.