Candela event space to open at the Lux

UPDATED — The Tallgrass Film Festival used some of the Lux’s first-floor space at this and last year’s festivals, and now a couple of those areas are going to officially open to the public as event space.

Candela is the name for two areas that will be available to rent for parties, business meetings and other events at the Lux, which is at the northwest corner of First and Market.

There’s an auditorium that seats 200 and a hospitality room that has a stage and seats 80.

“It’s all original construction (and) architecture,” says Jeremy Luginbill of Lifeboat Creative. “We’re working to enhance the space.”

He says developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey are having the rooms repainted and refurbished, but otherwise the spaces retain the midcentury modern feel of the 1953 building, which the Kansas Gas and Electric Co. built.

“KGE used to do presentations in the hospitality room of their gas ranges and other things,” Luginbill says.

He says there are about 300 lights in the auditorium in different tones.

“It’s just a unique lighting situation.”

Luginbill says that inspired the name Candela, which is a base unit of luminous intensity.

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Lux developers begin residential leasing

UPDATED — Almost two years to the day that Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey announced their Lux development, the first residential users will begin moving into the building at the northwest corner of First and Market.

“This building is going to be amazing, and this is just the beginning of something special downtown,” says Jeremy Luginbill of Lifeboat Creative.

Leasing starts today for apartments on the third floor – the first residential available at the building – which will be ready Oct. 1.

“We’re going to have pretty much a smattering of all the different units,” Luginbill says.

That includes units with one and two bedrooms, which start at about $1,000 and $1,150. respectively. The Lux’s only three-bedroom unit will be on that floor as well. It will be almost 1,900 square feet and go for more than $2,000.

Options also include the Essential units, which are streamlined units of about 500 square feet. Those units start at about $650.

All of the initial available units are apartments.

“We will not be doing condos at this point,” Luginbill says.

He says the developers have been “meeting some challenges through the process” because of their commitment to meeting LEED standards.

“We’re just trying to make sure they’re done right rather than just quickly,” Luginbill says.

He says Eyster and Ramsey could settle for silver or bronze LEED levels, but he says that’s not good enough.

“Making sure that we meet gold … is what our goal is.”

The third floor will have a green roof. Luginbill says from his research, this will be the first green roof in downtown Wichita.

“It’s going to be a self-sustaining roof,” he says.

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Lux to include the Essential residential unit

WICHITA — What’s essential to one downtown dweller isn’t necessarily the same to another, so Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey are trying to appeal to all tastes in their new Lux development at First and Market.

One residential component in the mix will be the Essential, which Jeremy Luginbill of Lifeboat Creative describes as an option for simplified living.

“This is the essential unit, and basically it is all about streamlined living – living in its simplest form,” he says.

The units will be around 500 square feet. Each will have a small area for dining; a lounging area with room for a couch, coffee table and TV; and a full bathroom on the main floor. There will be a loft area for a bed and possibly a chair along with closet space.

“It gives you really everything you need without excess,” Luginbill says. “But yet you’ve got so much more because you’re going to be in the Lux.”

Amenities are still being finalized, but there will be rooftop decks, a workout center and common areas for entertaining larger groups.

“There’s kind of like this club lifestyle that you get along with it that enhances that simplistic living style,” Luginbill says.

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Defense Contract Audit Agency is second commercial tenant for Lux

WICHITA — Developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey have landed their second commercial tenant for the Lux, and this one is awfully similar to the first.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency is taking 4,600 square feet in the building, which is the former Protection One office at the northwest corner of First and Market.

The agency will open there this July at the same time its sister organization, the Defense Contract Management Agency, and its 45 employees move into almost 10,000 square feet at the building.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to get two anchor tenants,” Ramsey says. “Those are two significant anchor tenants.”

Ramsey and Eyster are remodeling the 7-story, 171,000-square-foot building into luxury apartments and possible condos and will have commercial space on the first two floors.

There’s only about 30 percent of the second floor left to lease now that the government deals are done.

Ramsey says the building’s first three floors will be finished this summer so the agencies shouldn’t be bothered by construction noise.

Along with commercial space on the first floor, there will be meeting and venue spaces in former theater and hospitality areas that the Kansas Gas and Electric Co. used when the building was built in 1953.

“It still has the original screen and the original …projection room,” Ramsey says.

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The Lux offers 3-D tour of future apartments

WICHITA — Downtown developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey are using the Internet and social media Wednesday to debut a sneak peak of what the new Lux apartments will look like.

Renovation is still in the demolition stage at the former Protection One building at First and Market, but Facebook and Twitter users and visitors to the Lux website can see what the condos will look like.

“It’s a 3-D presentation,” says Jeremy Luginbill of Lifeboat Creative. “It’s not a traditional walk-through. It gives you a birds-eye perspective.”

The 7-story, 171,000-square-foot building, which the former Kansas Gas and Electric Co. built in 1953, will have apartments and possible condos along with some commercial.

The initial 3-D presentation will feature a one-bedroom apartment. A two-bedroom apartment and optional floor plan presentations will follow.

“We are trying to generate a sense of space and community and what this is going to be before it’s even done,” Luginbill says. “We’re still on course for first quarter 2013 … for a full opening of the entire building.”

 

Robert Eyster purchases the former Protection One building with plans for new residential and commercial development

WICHITA — It’s getting to the point you can’t call Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey nascent developers any longer.

Eyster has purchased the former Protection One building at the northwest corner of First and Market, which makes the sixth downtown property he’s bought to redevelop in less than a year.

“In the process of looking for buildings that have kind of been neglected or buildings that are too big or too small for people . . . we’ve looked at probably all the buildings downtown,” Ramsey said.

That’s how they found the 7-story, 171,000-square-foot Protection One building, which the former Kansas Gas and Electric Co. built in 1953.

“That building has got some very dynamic bones to it,” Ramsey said. “It just spoke to us.”

He and Eyster are renaming the building the Lux and creating luxury apartments and possible condos along with commercial on the first two floors.

“It sounds like a really exciting development,” said Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group, who was one of the agents who handled the deal.

Ahern, who specializes in downtown properties, said, “More people living downtown will attract more retail and give more vibrance to downtown and that area in particular.”

He said the sale of that much Class B downtown property “potentially helps the market because it’s less space for other buildings to compete with.”

Ahern and Steve Martens represented Protection One, and Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons represented Eyster.

Eyster has already purchased and is redeveloping the former Zelman building, the Board of Trade building, Victoria Park Apartments, the two-story building at 100 S. Market and Kelly Donham’s former property on Douglas between Main and Market.

With the help of Kansas City, Mo., architect El Dorado Inc., which designed the Finn Lofts on Commerce Street, Eyster and Ramsey hope to use a lot of the 1950s architectural elements already in the mid-century modern building. That includes light fixtures, door knobs and railings.

“They have actually cataloged everything they could in the KGE building in the hopes we . . . could repurpose those elements,” Ramsey said.

Farha Construction is the contractor and Builders Inc. is managing the building.

“This is really going to be a unique facility,” said Larry Weber of Builders Inc.

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