Metro Grill abruptly closes at the Waterfront; owner ‘gutted the place,’ landlord says

WICHITA — As he opens a new Metro Grill on the west side, Michael Gonzalez abruptly left his restaurant of the same name at the Waterfront.

“He just went in there and gutted the place a couple of nights ago,” says Johnny Stevens, a partner in the development at 13th and Webb Road.

“Pulled lights out of the ceiling. Pulled cabinets off the walls. Took everything he could.”

Stevens says Gonzalez didn’t leave many things behind.

“Not much. A sink. A toilet. A few odds and ends.”

Gonzalez couldn’t be reached for comment.

There’s now an eviction notice on the door, but Stevens says that came only after Gonzalez moved out.

“There’s nothing to go back in for,” he says. “But we’ve got to … go through that process.”

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Groves Retail Liquor to move, but not far

WICHITA — Groves Retail Liquor is moving, but it won’t be far from its current space at the southeast corner of Kellogg and Webb.

“We’re moving next door,” says Ron Groves.

He says he’s leasing space from Johnny Stevens and Steve Clark at the one-time Builders Square building, which more recently was home to DTY Direct.

“The city … is expanding Kellogg and taking me out of here,” Groves says. “I would have preferred to have stayed, you know.”

The store is now in 7,500 square feet, about 5,000 square feet of which is floor space.

The new building is more than 16,000 square feet.

“We’re going to triple our floor space.”

Groves says he’ll be able to expand the lines he sells and have lots more room for wine.

It’s going to mean “a lot of work,” he says of getting it ready.

He plans for it to happen before Thanksgiving.

“I had very little time to plan a move and to find a location, and Mr. Stevens and Mr. Clark were really very helpful.”

Waterfront to be home to new Class A luxury apartment village

WICHITA — There’s another new phase of development coming to the Waterfront at the northeast corner of 13th and Webb Road.

Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are planning a Class A apartment complex with up to 300 units.

“It will be unlike anything Wichita has,” says Stephen Clark II, who is handling the development. “It’ll be a big deal.”

The complex will be across the lake from Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Waterfront.

Stephen Clark describes the complex as a gated village with some conventional attached units and some detached units, such as luxury duplexes.

There also will be some furnished corporate units.

“Wichita doesn’t have any Class A apartments,” Clark says.

There will be granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, covered parking and private garages, a pool, a wine cellar, a putting green and a clubhouse with a chef’s kitchen.

“It will match the Waterfront’s design criteria on the exterior,” Clark says.

That includes brick, stone and stucco.

Clark also recently announced the new Waterfront Plaza on the northwest corner, which Whole Foods Market will anchor, and a new 4.3 acre mixed-use development within the Waterfront on the northeast corner.

He says the apartments will be a good addition to the mix.

“They’re just going to be on a whole other level.”

 

Whole Foods Market to open in Wichita at the new Waterfront Plaza

UPDATED — A new phase of the Waterfront development will be the home of Whole Foods Market when it arrives in Wichita next year.

“It’s very big for us,” said Stephen Clark II, who is managing the project, of landing the organic and natural food chain.

“It could be beneficial for the whole market,” Clark said. He said retailers such as Whole Foods Market and the new Cabela’s that entered the market earlier this year attract other big names.

“The more of that you can get, the more interest there is from others.”

Clark’s father, Steve Clark, and fellow Waterfront developer Johnny Stevens are building a new 70,000-square-foot retail center called Waterfront Plaza on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road, which Stephen Clark says is part of the larger Waterfront development on the northeast corner.

Whole Foods will anchor the development with a 30,000-square-foot store that Clark said will open in November 2013.

“We just feel that it’s really going to pair well with the community,” said Ben Friedland, executive marketing coordinator of the Rocky Mountain region for Whole Foods Market.

“One of the things that we’re most excited about is we’re a very decentralized organization, which allows us to build stores that are very specific to the communities in which they live,” he said. He said the chain partners with local producers who meet Whole Foods Market standards to sell their items so the store is “going to be endemic to the community, and it’s going to take on its local flair and its local flavor.”

“We’re just really excited about the abundance of local products available.”

Friedland said the Austin-based chain, which has 325 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, has been looking at Wichita for a couple of years.

“It’s another feather in the cap of Wichita for bringing the big names that wouldn’t touch us two to five years ago,” said Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate. “It’s the domino effect. You bring one or two here, and the rest think, geez, maybe we should be here.”

Piros is handling leasing at the remaining 40,000 square feet at Waterfront Plaza in addition to retail and office leasing within the larger Waterfront area east of Webb Road. That includes a new 4.3 acre area under development north of Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar where two new office buildings are slated to be under construction soon.

Piros said he’s close on a few potential Waterfront Plaza tenants. Clark said landing Whole Foods helps.

“People want to be next to Whole Foods, and we expect a lot more activity out there.”

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Clark Investment Group to build new 5,500-square-foot office at the Waterfront

WICHITA — There’s a more personal element to the new 4.3 acre development that developers Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are bringing to the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road.

In addition to the new 2-story office building that will be between Andover State Bank and Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar, along with a new restaurant pad site just north of Chester’s, Clark is building a new office for himself.

His Clark Investment Group headquarters currently is in 2,500 square feet near 13th and Rock Road in the Polo Club Office Park, which Clark and Stevens built in 1990.

“We’ve been here a long time,” Clark says. “Our space is not adequate for us these days.”

His new office will be a 5,500-square-foot, single-story building that will be north of where the new 2-story building will be.

“It’ll have a nice patio in the back that kind of runs right up to the lake,” says Clark’s son, Stephen Clark II, who is managing the development of the 4.3 acres.

Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture designed the building along with the 24,000-square-foot 2-story building.

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Waterfront developers to break ground on 4.3 acre development, including 2-story Class A office space and possible restaurant

WICHITA — Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are preparing to develop another 4.3 acres at their Waterfront development at 13th and Webb.

The chief part of the project is a 24,000-square-foot, 2-story office building that will be between Andover State Bank and Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar.

“There are some people looking for space right now that want an unusual location,” Clark says. “There are a couple of major tenants.”

Clark’s son, Stephen Clark II, is managing the project, and he says those potential tenants – there are no signed deals yet – are the reason Clark and Stevens are looking to do the office building.

“There is some interest in the market that’s kind of sparked up recently,” Stephen Clark says. “People have been waiting so long to do something because of the economy.”

He says the economy isn’t necessarily that much better, but businesses can’t wait any longer.

“Some people are outgrowing their space or need to upgrade their space,” Stephen Clark says.

He says the existing office space at the Waterfront is full and that there has not been much new Class A office space that’s been built in Wichita in recent years. He says business owners “want a location that’s going to last many years, and I think we’ve established the Waterfront is that kind of location.”

“It costs the same to build the building somewhere else. You’re going to get better long-term residual value in a place like the Waterfront.”

Stephen Clark says the building will have “incredible identity from Webb Road.”

“It’s very visible from Webb Road, but it also enjoys the lake in the rear.”

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Brooks Brothers to leave Wichita

WICHITA — It appears Brooks Brothers is going to be leaving Wichita as quietly as it entered the market.

“I can confirm that our Wichita store will close at the end of this month as we have decided not to renew our lease,” e-mailed Arthur Wayne, vice president of global public relations, in response to a phone call.

He declined a follow-up e-mail request for an interview to elaborate on the decision.

Have You Heard? first reported Brooks Brothers would be coming to the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb in February 2006.

No one with the company confirmed it until a couple of days before the store opened.

The chain, which calls itself the “country’s oldest clothing retailer,” was the Waterfront’s first national retail tenant. It took the development’s prominent domed retail space with 7,651 square feet.

The broker who handled the deal said the company initially planned a Brooks Brothers 346, which isn’t quite as upscale as a traditional Brooks Brothers store. That was before top executives visited the city and decided Wichita has the right demographics for the traditional store.

Waterfront developers Johnny Stevens and Steve Clark expected similar national retail tenants to follow, but they didn’t.

Neither Stevens nor Clark returned calls to discuss the Brooks Brothers departure.

 

You don’t say

“If I’d known it was going to be this much work, I’m not sure I’d have been so enthusiastic about it.”

— Real estate developer Johnny Stevens on his son, Charlie Stevens, who is vying for the District 2 Wichita City Council seat

DTY Direct to expand at former Builders Square space on East Kellogg

WICHITA — A year ago, brothers Mike and Mark Marney started DTY Direct in about 35,000 square feet in the former Builders Square building at 9629 E. Kellogg.

They’ve since expanded into about 70,000 square feet and over the next six to 12 months will take the remaining 20,000 square feet at the building.

“They did it all without asking the city for incentives,” says Johnny Stevens, who owns the building with Steve Clark. “So it can be done.”

The Marneys, who used to own Golf Warehouse, aren’t discussing their expansion plans.

Stevens says the Internet company, which mostly sells outdoor products, now has more than 30 employees.

“They’re growing their business.”