Slawson Cos. purchases southeast corner of 29th and Maize

WICHITA — Slawson Cos., the developer of NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize, has purchased 73 acres at the southeast corner of 29th and Maize.

The new Sam’s Club is on the northeast corner.

“Obviously, it’s a very-well located property,” says Slawson commercial broker Jerry Jones.

The company acquired the property, including the approximately 10-acre Cadillac Lake, from the Pracht family.

Jones says the family owned it for almost 100 years and cultivated the habitat for water fowl and also farmed on the land the last 40 or 50 years.

He says the property has a number of potential uses.

“That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re evaluating its potential.”

Jones says the Maize Road frontage is excellent for retail and restaurant development.

He says there’s additional potential for around the lake, which could be used for offices, bird watching, hiking or fishing.

Jones says it’s too early to give a time frame for development.

“We’ve got a lot of planning and entitlements to work through.”

Company founder Don Slawson died earlier this month at the age of 80.

“We want to carry out Don’s legacy of quality development,” Jones says, “so we’ll be very deliberate in our planning and make sure we execute it accordingly.”

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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Oil and gas and real estate developer Don Slawson dies of Alzheimer’s complications

WICHITA — Longtime Wichita businessman Don Slawson has died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

“My father passed away early this morning,” says Todd Slawson, the youngest of three Slawson sons and Denver-based president of his family’s oil company.

Mr. Slawson was a fixture in the Wichita business community for decades.

“He was very much an entrepreneur,” says Jerry Jones, a commercial broker at Slawson Cos.

“He had a very strong passion for business,” Todd Slawson says.

After graduating from the University of Kansas with a political science degree and a minor in geology, Mr. Slawson worked briefly for a drilling company before starting his own oil and gas business in 1957.

“His love … initially was oil and gas,” Todd Slawson says. “He was one of the most active drillers in the state of Kansas for many years.”

Then, in the 1970s, Mr. Slawson began buying land in Wichita.

“As he would tell it, he saw … that he wanted to diversify his business,” Jones says.

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Firehouse Subs is first tenant at new strip center at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Slawson Cos. is preparing to start building a strip center in front of the SuperTarget at NewMarket Square later this month and has landed its first tenant for it: Firehouse Subs.

“We acquired from Target an outparcel basically in front of their NewMarket Square store that’ll be just north of the Intrust Bank … branch bank,” says Slawson’s Jerry Jones.

Firehouse Subs will be in 2,000 square feet on the north end of the 10,000-square-foot center.

Jones says two other potential deals for the center are in advance stages of negotiation. If they happen, that would leave 2,800 square feet to lease to a tenant or 1,400 square feet each for two tenants.

Firehouse Subs franchisees Dana and Troy Todd would like to do five of the restaurants in the greater Wichita area. Franchisees Megan and Andrew Reece opened Wichita’s first Firehouse late last year at Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock Road.

Dana Todd says NewMarket Square is a great place to open Firehouse.

“It’s a well-established area, and it seems to be continuing to grow.”

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Pat Ayars, co-founder of Oxford Senior Living, dies of complications from cancer

Pat Ayars

Pat Ayars

WICHITA — Longtime Wichita businessman Pat Ayars died Wednesday morning following complications from cancer.

“He was an eternal optimist, so regardless of how awful he might have felt, he put a smile on his face,” said Coryanne Graham, marketing and brand manager at Oxford Senior Living, which Ayars co-founded in 2010.

“This is something that Pat has been dealing with for a number of months and had no reason to believe it wasn’t going to come to a good conclusion,” Graham said.

“He’d say … ‘I’m going to get better. We’re going to do this. We’re going to do that.’”

Ayars, who would have turned 56 on Friday, was Oxford’s president.

“In recent months, Pat had positioned the company to transition his responsibilities so that his vision for Oxford would continue long after he was gone,” chief operating officer Jason Wiley said in a statement.

“He ensured this company would never hinge on just one person, but no one could ever fill his shoes fully. Pat was a tremendous motivator and visionary.”

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Slawson Cos. prepares to build next phase of NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize

UPDATED — Slawson Cos. is preparing to build a new addition to NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

“Obviously, we’ve had a lot of success out there, and the businesses that have located out there have done well,” says Slawson broker Jerry Jones.

The new 12-acre area will be just north of the Super Target along Maize Road.

“That has kind of changed the landscape a little bit,” Jones says of Sam’s.

Zoning for this phase of NewMarket Square is approved for 160,000 square feet, though Jones says there’s not room for that much construction. Nor will there be room for any big box or junior anchors. What there will be is a series of two-story buildings with retail on the first floors and offices on the second floors.

“We’re introducing something new to the market,” Jones says. “We think this is the right time and right place for it.”

The offices will have entrances in the rear of the buildings. Slawson broker April Reed says that way businesses can have the exposure of NewMarket Square, but employees won’t have to compete with shoppers for parking spaces.

Reed says there are a lot of amenities, including shopping and dining, that would make it attractive for companies to locate their offices at NewMarket Square. She says it’s ideal to “maximize your lunch hour.”

Jones says that part of NewMarket will trend more to upscale retailers, which he thinks is a niche that’s not currently being filled in that area.

Before 2013 is over, Jones says, “There will be some construction out there for sure. If nothing else, utilities.”

More likely, though, he says there will be at least one building built. With the first retail building, Jones says he wants to also build a freestanding, full-service restaurant near the front of the development. Jones and Reed are looking for a multiunit operation that doesn’t conflict with restaurants already at NewMarket.

“That narrows it down quite a bit,” Jones says. “We’re going to be quite selective.”

There’s only one other area left to develop in NewMarket. That’s just west of T.G.I. Friday’s, where there’s room for about 35,000 square feet.

Jones says ideally they’d like to develop both areas at the same time, but it will be “wherever the tenants come first.”

 

 

 

 

Starbucks to expand at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Starbucks is expanding its space at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

No one with the company is sharing details, but April Reed of Slawson Cos. confirms it’s happening.

Starbucks, which has been at NewMarket since 2003, currently has 1,500 square feet. It’s expanding into the 1,475-square-foot space Cartridge World left last summer.

Slawson has done exterior work to get the new space ready for Starbucks.

“One of their concerns was that each of those storefronts had its own distinct look,” Reed says. “They wanted to make it look like it was one cohesive space.”

The coffee chain is now in the design and permitting phase.

“They’re shooting to open in May,” Reed says.

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Nelson Designs expands into former Norwalk Furniture & Design space

UPDATED — A former Norwalk Furniture & Design neighbor is ready to take its space.

Nelson Designs, which has been in the Shops at Tallgrass since late 2009, is expanding there in March.

“It’s another 2,000 square feet, which we definitely need, and it’s a lot closer to 21st Street so the visibility is going to be great,” owner Sharon Nelson says. “That’s a big part of it.”

Nelson opened her design business in the heart of the economic crisis “when the rest of the world was saying, ‘You are absolutely crazy,’ but I think it’s worked,” she says.

Her first store was 1,400 square feet.

“Of course, we opened it when the economy was horrible, so I wasn’t too sure how it was going to go.”

Within a year, though, she more than doubled her space to 3,158 square feet.

Now, she’s out of room.

For instance, in the area where she sells wood and tile flooring, Nelson says, “It is so jam-packed in there with our fabrics for drapery and upholstery, people don’t know what all we sell.”

The business now has five designers instead of the two that the store started with.

Nelson had been running the business out of her home initially.

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Discount retailer Marshalls to open in former Borders space at NewMarket Square

UPDATED — In December, Have You Heard? reported that with any luck, by the 2012 holiday season shoppers in east and west Wichita would have two new Marshalls stores to shop at.

That’s going to happen – at least for west-siders.

The Massachusetts-based chain, part of the TJX Cos., has a building permit for $580,000 to remodel the former Borders space at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

“I can confirm we do have a lease with Marshalls,” says Jerry Jones, vice president of commercial development for Slawson Cos., the NewMarket developer.

The approximately 23,000-square-foot building was built in 2001. Borders left the space in September.

Jones referred questions about the opening to a Marshalls representative, who wouldn’t confirm that the store will be coming to Wichita.

“When opening new stores, we tend to announce our plans when we believe it is the right time to do so competitively,” wrote spokeswoman Doreen Thompson in an e-mail. “Generally speaking, it is our practice not to announce store openings until close to an intended opening date.”

It looks like that will be in time for the holidays – or before.

“I like that it brings a large apparel component to the center,” Jones says. “It’ll really complement everything else we have out there real well.”

Slawson Real Estate handled the lease for the landlord.

Marshalls also has looked at opening on the east side, but that deal doesn’t seem to be as far along.

TJX owns Marshalls and sister store T.J. Maxx, which is in Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock and at Westgate Market at Kellogg and Dugan.

Marshalls, which is similar to T.J. Maxx, is known for carrying designer clothing and homeware at discount prices — “never pay full price for fabulous” is the current tagline — though shoppers often have to wade through merchandise to find those deals.

Look for more details later today on Marshalls’ entry into the Wichita market.

Lane Bryant is the latest retailer coming to NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road

WICHITA — Lane Bryant is the latest retail shop coming to the newest phase of NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

The store is one of several — Pier 1 Imports, Kirkland’s, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, the Children’s Place, Rue 21 and Christopher & Banks — that will locate in the two buildings that form an L shape between Petco and Michaels.

That’s also near where the new Best Buy is at the Slawson Cos. property.

“We were talking to most of these tenants when we were dealing with Best Buy and Michaels,” says Slawson’s Jerry Jones. “Then we had the 2008 financial crisis that just put all these deals on the back burner.”

He and broker April Reed, who handled the Lane Bryant deal among others, kept talking to the companies.

Though the deals took longer to put together than planned, Jones says it’s still a win to get the businesses — especially without a full market recovery.

“We were able to do it in a time where it was challenging to put deals together,” he says.

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