Wink Hartman Sr. hires Iowa-based VenuWorks to manage Hartman Arena

Wink Hartman

WICHITA — A new company is going to manage the 4-year-old, 7,200-seat Hartman Arena in Park City.

Wink Hartman Sr. has hired Iowa-based VenuWorks, which will book events and handle food and beverage services among other things

Previously, Hartman and his staff have been running the arena.

“I was not doing a very good job,” Hartman says.

“We need to book more events. You know, more concerts, more local events, and I just felt like it was a time for a change in management to try to meet our objectives.”

VenuWorks president Steven Peters started the company 16 years ago to manage arenas with 5,000 to 10,000 seats.

The company manages United Wireless Arena in Dodge City and the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

Peters says his goal with Hartman Arena is clear.

“One word: events. We’ve got to bring more events.”

Hartman Arena has been averaging close to 50 events a year, including soccer games with Hartman’s Wichita Wings and football games with his Wichita Wild.

“Most of our arenas, we try to do 90 a year,” Peters says.

Being the smaller arena to the larger Intrust Bank Arena isn’t a negative, he says.

“That can be the really enviable place to be.”

Peters says there are more shows to fill 6,000 seats than 12,000.

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You don’t say

“What does this say about Wichita?”

– An e-mail from financial adviser Spike Anderson on how Jerry Seinfeld appeared at Century II and Larry the Cable Guy will be at the much larger Intrust Bank Arena

Sarah Haertl to leave Intrust Bank Arena for BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center

WICHITA — Sarah Haertl says there’s only one arena she would have left Intrust Bank Arena for, and now that’s what she’s doing.

“My original dream job was Intrust Bank Arena,” says Haertl, who has been the director of sales and marketing since October 2009, three months before the arena opened.

As of Sept. 10, Haertl will be the director of marketing for Tulsa’s BOK Center and the Tulsa Convention Center.

“It’s just a dream opportunity for me,” she says. “The BOK is just one of those special buildings that for whatever reason continues to exceed expectations.”

Haertl is married to Bruce Haertl, sports director for KWCH, Channel 12.

“At this point I plan to come back on weekends … and one night during the week and commute as well as we possibly can,” Sarah Haertl says. “I do not have this all figured out yet.”

The Haertls have two older children and two younger ones, and Sarah Haertl says they’re all right with her move.

“The 10-year-old is really excited because the BOK Center has a Justin Bieber date.”

Leslie Rudd’s LRICO Services LLC purchases county property at Washington and Waterman

UPDATED — It was about this time two years ago that Sedgwick County decided to sell its property at the northwest corner of Washington and Waterman. Now, it’s finally happened.

LRICO Services LLC purchased the land for $297,000 at auction on Wednesday.

LRICO stands for Leslie Rudd Investment Co. The company owns the building on Waterman next to what it purchased.

The county bought 50,415 square feet in 2007 to make improvements to the intersection in advance of Intrust Bank Arena opening.

The county briefly considered using the lot for parking or something else but decided to sell it instead. It rejected at least one earlier offer before holding the auction this week.

It’s not clear what LRICO might do with the property. A representative declined comment.

Arena entertainment district inching closer to opening with restaurant and two bars

WICHITA — In February, Have You Heard? first reported that a deal was in the works to bring a Pacific Coast Pizza downtown near Intrust Bank Arena as part of a larger entertainment development.

As most development seems to go, it’s taking longer than expected, but it’s still on track.

“We’re definitely trying to get it open,” says Kevin Law, one of the partners.

In addition to Pacific Coast Pizza, which has an east-side location that opened in 2009 at Siena Plaza at 37th and Rock, there will be a couple of bars next door as well.

The first one to open has the working name of Walker’s Venue.

“It’s a play of everyone walking by, going through the area,” Law says. “The crowd that’s going to be coming in is going to be walkers.”

He says there will be a large patio and live music. On nights when there are concerts at the arena, the music will be geared to whatever is playing there.

“Then we’re hoping to put a martini bar below Walker’s,” Law says. “We’re kicking the idea around of an upper-end martini bar.”

Walker’s and the restaurant will open first, followed by the martini bar. More businesses will follow, Law says.

“We’d just like to try to develop a district down here for something.”

He and his partners have to get the initial two businesses open first, which isn’t a speedy process.

“It’s jumping through hoops.”

Cake Face Bake Shop adds truck, sandwiches to business

WICHITA — Another new food truck is going to debut this weekend.

Summer Schoenhals already owns Cake Face Bake Shop, which she runs from a licensed kitchen in her home, and now she’s going to start selling baked goods and other items from a truck, too.

For a long time, Schoenhals says she “piddled around” making cakes and cupcakes for friends and family.

“Everybody kept telling me to start a business,” she says.

In January, she started one in the kitchen of her home. The business grew so quickly, she had to add a commercial kitchen.

In March, Schoenhals says she was approached about selling out of Absolute Vintage Boutique on Maple across from Target.

Saturday at the Automobilia car show, she’ll debut the truck, from which she’ll sell cakes, cookies, cupcakes, novelty baked items and a line of gourmet sandwiches using Big Rick’s barbecue sauce.

Big Rick’s is located at 400 S. Commerce St., and Schoenhals says she’s going to be able to use the company’s parking lot to sell from the truck during Final Friday and before events at the nearby Intrust Bank Arena.

Schoenhals also is a nurse, but she’s going to cut back to one day a week to help her Cake Face business grow. She says she’s also going to pursue corporate and event catering.

Schoenhals’ husband, David, recently was laid off, so he’s going to work with Cake Face, too.

“The timing was actually great,” Schoenhals says. “This is going to be our new source of income, so we’re pretty excited to get going on it.”

Dondlinger and Sons disputes bid process for $100 million airport contract

UPDATED — The scheduled start of construction on a new terminal at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport is months behind because the bid process for the contract, worth around $100 million, is in dispute.

Dondlinger and Sons is the lowest bidder, but the contract may be awarded to Key Construction instead because the city doesn’t think Dondlinger met the requirements for building the terminal.

The planned two-level, 273,000-square-foot terminal – which will feature 12 gates, each with a passenger loading bridge, more efficient passenger and baggage security screening, baggage claim and airline ticketing systems – initially was projected to be done in late 2014 or 2015. Due to the dispute, that’s likely to be pushed back.

“We’ve given the city a couple of ways to get out of this mess, and whether they’ll take it or not, we don’t know,” said Jim Armstrong, one of the Foulston Siefkin attorneys working on behalf of Dondlinger and Hunt Construction Group of Indianapolis.

That’s the team that built Intrust Bank Arena.

It bid $99,370,542 for the airport contract.

Key, in partnership with Detroit-based contractor Walbridge, bid $101,500,542.

The Wichita City Council, which will make the final decision on the contract, was updated on the dispute during an executive session Tuesday.

“This is a monstrous decision,” City Council member Pete Meitzner said. “It affects the next 50 years of the terminal and our city.”

He added: “It is a decision that I am not taking lightly. … It just needs to be fair and the right decision.”

Because the terminal will be funded in part through federal grants – airport passenger facility charges and airport revenue will make up the rest – certain requirements must be met in the bids. That includes the stipulation that either 7.11 percent of the contracting business be shared with disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE), such as minority-owned firms, or that the bidders show that they made a good-faith effort to reach that percentage.

That’s what’s at issue in the bidding process. Dondlinger has filed a bid protest, which follows an earlier review of the DBE requirement and a motion to reconsider, both requested by Dondlinger.

“We are firmly convinced that we did more than enough, and frankly that decision-making process is pretty subjective,” Armstrong said.

In response to a request for comment, city attorney Gary Rebenstorf issued a statement that said: “That protest is under review according to the City’s purchasing policy. The review process is confidential. When the review is completed, the outcome will help determine what happens next.”

No one with Key Construction is commenting, but Armstrong said that at the time of the initial bid, neither Key nor Dondlinger reached the 7.11 percent.

Armstrong said the city found that Key made a good-faith effort while Dondlinger did not.

“We don’t know how they made that determination,” Armstrong said. “From what we have been able to determine, we don’t think that’s a correct decision.”

Armstrong said when Dondlinger made its bid, two of its DBE contractors hadn’t yet been certified by the Kansas Department of Transportation, but they have now. He said that puts Dondlinger over the 7.11 percent.

“We’re just at a loss to explain why this has happened, to be honest with you,” Armstrong said, “because Dondlinger has been involved with the minority business community for years and has always actively participated.”

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54 Palms Latin dance club to open in Towne West Square June 15

WICHITA — Former Copa Cabana owners Ricardo Moreno and Carlos Ortiz Sr. are opening a new Latin dance club at Towne West Square.

Their 54 Palms, named for Highway 54, will open in almost 10,000 square feet next to Denim & Diamonds on June 15.

Copa Cabana was open briefly in 2003 before trouble with a third partner forced it to close, Moreno says. It was downtown.

“There’s a big building there now called Intrust Bank Arena,” Moreno says, laughing.

He didn’t want to locate in that area again.

“We wanted to stay away from Old Town,” Moreno says. “There’s too much trouble down there. There’s too many problems with police – young crowds getting out of hand.”

He says he and Ortiz want to offer what he calls the security and safety of the mall.

There will be theme nights throughout the week.

Saturday is the premier night with Latin music, salsa and merengue. Friday is “throwback jams” with music from the ’80s. It’s the only night there will be food. Doors will open at 5 p.m. to attract an after-work crowd that might need “alcohol therapy,” Moreno says.

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Cassandra Bryan Design is first commercial tenant at Zelman Lofts downtown

WICHITA — Zelman Lofts is getting its first commercial tenant to go with the nine residential ones already at the newly renovated building at Douglas and St. Francis.

Cassandra Bryan Design is moving into 1,000 square feet that fronts St. Francis on the northeast corner.

“I absolutely love the central location,” says Cassandra Bryan. “The space was just so perfect. … It has so much character.”

Bryan describes her company, which will be three years old this summer, as a creative boutique that designs logos and business cards and specializes in custom website development.

“She’s pretty gifted,” says Michael Ramsey, who is developing the Zelman building with Robert Eyster. “She’s going to be a great asset to the building.”

Previously, Bryan has been working from her home while the company’s other four employees work from theirs and occasionally pop over to her place.

“There’s only so many people that you can put in your basement before your husband starts complaining about your driveway becoming a parking lot,” Bryan says.

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New bars and restaurants opening on east, west sides and downtown

WICHITA — There are several new bar and restaurant deals in the works.

Not unexpectedly, Charlie Badeen and David Allan have decided to reopen their O’Brien’s Irish Pub on East Kellogg by Scotch & Sirloin.

They closed it last year, and the short-lived Encore Restaurant and Nightclub took its place.

Earlier this month, Badeen told Have You Heard? he and Allan were considering various options for the space, including reopening O’Brien’s.

They originally closed because they were opening the new Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill in Old Town, plus they already had Dudley’s Sports Bar and Grill on the west side and Mulligan’s Pub out east.

They’ve since sold Mulligan’s, and they’re ready to open Joe’s in the next week or two.

Badeen says O’Brien’s should open by the end of March.

“Basically everything’s going to be about the same.”

There’s another deal in the works to bring a Pacific Coast Pizza downtown near Intrust Bank Arena.

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