Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group is now NAI Martens; NAI John T. Arnold Associates drops its NAI affiliation

Steve Martens (left) and Tom Johnson of the newly named NAI Martens.

WICHITA — Turns out Steve Martens will have to order new stationery.

“We have left Grubb and Ellis,” says the CEO of what formerly was known as Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

The company now is an affiliate of NAI Global and will be known as NAI Martens.

Wichita’s John T. Arnold Associates previously was an NAI affiliate and now is an independent operation.

“We’re just kind of relooking at our … working model,” says John T. Arnold president Marlin Penner. He says he and executive vice president Don Arnold decided to focus on the clients they have and simplify their operation. NAI asked that they retain the affiliation until it could find another one in the market.

“We have a huge respect for Steve and his organization, and we’re just thrilled they’re taking it over,” Penner says. “It was the right thing for everybody involved.”

California-based Grubb & Ellis filed for bankruptcy early this year and eventually sold to BGC Partners.

At the time, Martens told Have You Heard? that there was a chance the firm could remain an affiliate or go another direction.

“We wanted to find the right fit,” he says.

“We looked at virtually every other opportunity that was out there,” says NAI Martens president Tom Johnson. “Anyone that’s not in the market is someone we talked to.”

NAI is a group Martens talked to before deciding to affiliate with Grubb & Ellis in 2000.

“Over the years, they have really grown and matured as a company,” Johnson says.

C-III Capital Partners completed its purchase of NAI Global this summer.

“C-III brings to them the capital they need to grow and really develop that company,” Johnson says.

With more than 5,000 employees in 350 offices, NAI Global is the largest international network of commercial real estate firms. All its affiliates are independently owned and operated, which is key for Martens and Johnson.

If a company has affiliates and corporate offices, the affiliates “sometimes are stepchildren,” Johnson says.

“With NAI, everybody is on the same footing.”

He says the affiliates can share best practices in a noncompetitive way.

“It allows us to up our business from an entrepreneurial standpoint,” Johnson says.

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Towne West Medical Plaza coming to Towne West Square for nontraditional use

Michael Payton (from left), Jeff Englert and Grant Glasgow are trying to market a new Towne West Medical Plaza for a nontraditional approach to filling the mall.

WICHITA — Area mall manager Michael Payton is using a new saying to describe Simon Property Group malls such as Towne East Square and Towne West Square.

“The malls are starting to become the ‘alls.’”

He means the malls offer more than retail and restaurant options these days.

“We’re starting to see more and more nontraditional users work their way into the mall environment.”

The latest foray into a nontraditional use will be the new Towne West Medical Plaza, a potentially 50,000-square-foot area that could be home to a variety of medical users.

“Basically kind of a one-stop shop for different medical needs,” says Jeff Englert of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

Englert and colleague Grant Glasgow are marketing the property, which will be on the west side of the mall between Sears and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“This is something they’ve tried in other markets,” Glasgow says of Simon.

“You have a built-in customer base within Towne West mall.”

Glasgow says the mall has 6 million visitors annually.

Payton says the medical location will be convenient for patients, who also could be shoppers.

“They can do some shopping. They can eat.”

Glasgow says to see why this idea makes sense, look at the number of medical providers in the southwest Wichita area.

“It is by far the fewest in Wichita,” he says.

Englert says that area has only 1 percent of all medical offices in the city.

“Obviously, there’s a clear void,” he says. “That’s another reason why we thought this would be a good use of space.”

In addition to being convenient for patients, Glasgow says a medical plaza at the mall makes sense for doctors and dentists, too.

“This allows medical users to cluster,” he says. “They like to all be together.”

On-site management is another plus, he says.

“There are benefits like 24-7 security.”

The area likely will develop in phases.

“It will not cut off through the rest of the mall,” Englert says of access to shopping through that entrance.

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Menards finalizes deal for Derby store

UPDATED — Menards, the Wisconsin-based home improvement chain, has finalized its deal for a store near the southwest corner of East Patriot Avenue and Buckner Street in Derby.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Grant Glasgow of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

Glasgow and colleague Jeff Englert represented North Derby Investments, which sold 46.13 acres to Menards.

Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons represented Menards

The deal, which was in the works for a couple of years, closed Sept. 28 for an undisclosed amount.

“We recently purchased 50.63 acres in Derby, KS and if everything goes as planned, we hope to build a new Menards store on this property some day,” Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott said through an e-mail. “We are still in the initial planning stages and no final decisions have been made just yet.”

The total number of acres includes a residential property Menards purchased as well.

Glasgow says he’s not sure when construction will start or when to expect the store to open.

“They weren’t able to share that with us yet.”

This makes the third Menards that will open in the greater Wichita area.

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Social Manor to open in Old Town

WICHITA — A new shop is coming to Old Town in time for Christmas.

Erin Kice and Lauren Johnson are opening Social Manor in the former Gingeroot Studios space at 920 E. Douglas, which is next to I Do Bridal & Tux.

The store will have furniture, accessories and gifts along with design services.

Johnson and Kice say they hope to inspire people.

“We kind of really feed off each other,” Johnson says.

She says Kice will handle the business side, and she’ll focus on marketing and design.

Johnson had been working in the marketing department for Intrust Bank when she decided to return to school to get an interior design degree. She’s also been doing staging for real estate.

Erin Kice has worked at Alltite for six years in various capacities, including accounting, human resources and office management. She says she “learned a lot about how a small business operates.”

“That has always been my dream, to have a shop of my own,” she says.

Kice says she knew out of college she didn’t have the experience she needed to open her own business.

“My time at Alltite has been great for that.”

“Erin has a passion for entertaining and throws the most wonderful events in her home,” Johnson says.

Johnson says she also likes entertaining but with more of a focus on interior design.

Kice says they’ll offer in-store instructional events.

“Kind of a decorating 101 type thing,” she says. “That’s kind of part of our creating a fun and entertaining atmosphere.”

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Walgreens to move its Wichita district office

WICHITA — Walgreens is moving its district office in Wichita.

The six-person office, which oversees 32 stores for the Illinois-based company, has been at 5611 E. Harry for a decade.

In an e-mailed response to questions about the move, spokesman Jim Graham said the company outgrew its space and needed more meeting room. He also said the timing is advantageous with the current real estate market.

The new space, which is 5,000 square feet, is at 8415 E. 21st St. in the Bank of Kansas building.

Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group and Daryl Williams of Weigand-Omega Management handled the deal.

Rowley Snyder Ablah buys former Big Dog Motorcycle building it’s occupied for a year

Part of the upgrades to Rowley Snyder Ablah's newly purchased building include glass blocks in an area that used to have a nonworking door.

WICHITA — When the new Rowley Snyder Ablah ad agency signed a lease for former Big Dog Motorcycle space at 145 N. Hydraulic in the spring of 2011, CEO Bruce Rowley said, “You know there’s something happening down here. This is kind of a vibrant little area with lots of cool stuff going on.”

He and his partners like it so much, they’ve now bought the building from Sheldon Coleman Jr.

“We love the size of it,” Rowley says. “We love the flexibility of it.”

Most of the 3,000 square feet is an open area that Rowley says allows for easy reconfiguration of space depending on what a project might need.

“That was a huge part,” he says. “We’ve already moved ourselves probably four or five times in the year we’ve been in it.”

The agency is making a few upgrades at the building, such as getting rid of a nonworking door that Rowley says “made it sort of look like an abandoned building from the street.”

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Taylor RyMar Corp. moves from Orpheum Centre to Market Centre downtown

WICHITA — Taylor RyMar Corp. has moved, but not far.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based firm, which does engineering consulting for the construction industry, has been at the Orpheum Centre at First and Broadway since its arrival in Wichita in 2007.

“We needed to consolidate space,” says principal owner Joel DeHaven.

Except his real estate contacts couldn’t reach the owner of the floor of his building.

“The owner of our floor apparently was in bankruptcy,” DeHaven says.

Real Development bought the building in 2006 and then sold some of the floors.

“We like being downtown,” DeHaven says. “We wanted to stay in that same area.”

The company, which specializes in electrical engineering out of the Wichita office, moved to about 1,200 square feet at the Market Centre at First and Market streets this week.

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Simon Property Group hires local firm to market space

WICHITA — It’s not exactly news when new space is available at a mall, but Jeff Englert makes a good case for 8,000 square feet that he and Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group colleagues are marketing at Towne East Square.

“To my knowledge, it’s the first time that Simon used third-party brokers in Wichita,” he says of Simon Property Group, which owns the mall.

Perhaps more significantly, Englert says, “They want to go after nontraditional mall tenants for this.”

Not that he and fellow brokers Nathan Farha and Grant Glasgow won’t look at retail.

“Retail is definitely going to be our first play there.”

However, Simon has had some luck with nonretail tenants, such as Wright Career College.

“They want to explore that some more,” Englert says.

The space is located on the west side of Towne East between Dillard’s and Sears at the second-most busy main entrance of the mall. Englert says it’s possible to add a glass exterior so the space is visible from outside the mall.

After retail, Englert says there could be possibilities such as office users, educational facilities or a fitness center.

He says he’ll soon have news on a new Towne West Square tenant.

“This will be pretty big news, let’s put it that way.”

Look for it in about a month or so.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee Laurie Williams to move to the Garvey Center

WICHITA — Reluctantly, Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee Laurie Williams has to move her office.

“When I moved here, I really had hoped to not have to move again,” she says of her 2,300 square feet at 225 N. Market.

“I love this space and its proximity to my courthouse, but my caseload has grown, and I’m just out of room.”

Williams is moving her office to 5,800 square feet at the R.H. Garvey Building at 300 W. Douglas.

The new office will allow for more files and employees.

Williams, who makes recommendations on whether Chapiter 13 plans should be approved and then administers them, has almost 2,900 cases.

Currently, she has 12 employees.

“I hope to add two more,” she says.

Larry Weber represented the Garvey Center in the deal, and Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group represented Williams.

The new office will be ready in late summer.

Child Start to open West Village Head Start near West Street and Zoo Boulevard this fall

WICHITA — Child Start is opening a new center on the west side. This makes the third new facility in as many years for the nonprofit, which provides early childhood development services.

“We need to be where the children are to serve them,” says executive director Teresa Rupp. “We haven’t been on the west side for, oh, a long time.”

The new center, which will be called West Village Head Start, will open this fall in 9,900 square feet at 1024 N. West St. near West Street and Zoo Boulevard.

With the help of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group, Child Start did a study to analyze existing locations, concentration of income-eligible families and enrollment patterns.

“Once we did that study, there was obviously a need for another location to serve their clientele in the central west area, and this filled that void,” says Jeff Englert, who is with Martens.

He and colleagues Kris Wessel and Nathan Farha handled the deal for the new space. It will include seven preschool classrooms and land for a playground. West Village will serve 183 children.

Conco Construction is the contractor and WDM Architects is the architect.

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