Al’s Old & New Book Store to be first tenant at Block One retail center

booksWICHITA — The new retail center attached to the parking garage at Block One has its first tenant, and it may be an unexpected one.

Anita Siemer is going to move her Al’s Old & New Book Store from Delano, where it’s been for almost six decades, to the new downtown development.

Slawson Cos. is handling leasing at the 8,400-square-foot center. Slawson broker Jerry Jones says if he could create a list of what he wants at the center, he’d “put a book store right at the top of it.”

“We just feel really good about it,” he says.

So does Siemer, even though she never wanted to move.

The New Covenant United Methodist Church purchased Siemer’s space along with another space next door – at 1710 and 1712 W. Douglas – in order to expand. In April, Siemer expressed concerns about having to move due to cost.

“I can find cheap, crummy spaces in … parts of town that would be scary for after dark, and I can find expensive, nice places here in Delano and downtown, but you know, having to pay so much – like three times as much as I currently pay – I don’t think that’s really looking like it works for me right now,” she said at the time.

Now, she says Slawson Cos. has “gotten creative to make it so I could come into the space really in better shape than anything I found in Delano.”

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Ambassador Hotel’s restaurant offers a front seat to . . . Wichita’s sidewalks?

WICHITA — There’s a description on the Ambassador Hotel’s website touting the view at its new restaurant.

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse Restaurant offers a signature dining experience in a vibrant atmosphere overlooking the sidewalks of Wichita.”

The sidewalks of Wichita? That’s the view?

Though it sounds kind of funny to describe it that way, Bruce Rowley says it makes perfect sense.

Rowley, whose Rowley Snyder Ablah handles marketing for the hotel, recently dined there.

“Come on,” he says. “The two people I just met walked here. How often does that happen?”

There’s also a lot happening around the hotel in what’s become known as Block 1, where the former Henry’s building is under development and the new Kansas Leadership Center and the Kansas Health Foundation Conference Center are under construction.

So while the sidewalk description may inspire a few chuckles, Rowley says, “I refuse to make fun of it.”