J.R. Koontz puts his building on the market

koontztwoWICHITA — A couple of days after celebrating his 40th year in business, J.R. Koontz has put his building – not his J.R. Koontz Flowers – up for sale.

“I’m downsizing,” Koontz says.

“It’s been an increasing struggle for us as well as other businesses.”

Koontz bought the 10,000-square-foot building at 633 N. Broadway in 2003. The building was built as a house and eventually became a funeral home.

He says it’s a “fabulous” space but that he wants “to get out from underneath this.”

Koontz adds that he wants “someone to love it as much as we do because it’s a great facility.”

He says after selling the building, he’ll take care of debts and relocate.

“I have an idea where I’d like to go.”

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Wichita Burner moves to new space

WICHITA — When Ross Lumbert purchased Wichita Burner in February, he knew he wanted to make improvements to the business and its location.

“That was my goal, to give the business a new start,” he says.

That’s what Lumbert is doing now by moving the business from its longtime home at 312 S. Laura to just around the corner at 300 S. Washington, which is the southeast corner of Washington and Waterman.

“I wanted to get out of that old location,” Lumbert says. “It was very old and needed lots of renovations.”

The old space had about 5,000 square feet. The new one has 8,000 square feet.

Lumbert says there’s a great interior on the new space which is “much better suited for our purposes.”

“Wichita Burner has historically been the go-to guys for parts and systems related to commercial heating and boiler systems,” Lumbert says.

“I want people to know that Wichita Burner is continuing to grow and to improve our ability to supply the marketplace. … We’re trying to improve our ability to meet the growing demand.”

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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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