Indian Hills Shopping Center to expand

WICHITA — Wichita may continue to grow east and west, but Larry Burke thinks his Indian Hills Shopping Center is a perfectly situated central retail center.

“As the community has spread east and west, there’s … a vacuum here of underserved neighborhoods,” says Burke, who used to own the Copper Oven Cafe & Bakery at the center.

Last fall, Burke told Have You Heard? that he was seeking rezoning for part of the center, which he now has.

“I had this strange piece of property back in the back, 72,000 square feet, that I wanted to utilize,” he says.

He’s preparing to build a 7,000-square-foot center there, which will mainly be office space with some retail options.

“This is the first phase of redeveloping our shopping center,” says Burke, who has owned it for eight years. “I want that center to grow.”

He says he worked with the city to, in part, make sure his residential neighbors were happy with the changes.

Janet Miller was excellent to work with,” he says of the City Council member. “Very supportive of what we’re doing.”

The first part of the 40,000-square-foot main center, which is anchored by Indian Hills Ace Hardware, was built in 1954.

Burke says he’s already made infrastructure improvements there.

“Now it’s time to do some things that the public can readily identify.”

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Indian Hills Shopping Center owner Larry Burke seeks rezoning for development

WICHITA — Indian Hills Shopping Center owner Larry Burke is working on rezoning part of his property at 13th and Meridian for future development.

Burke, who used to own the Copper Oven Cafe & Bakery at the center, says he has about 72,000 square feet of parking behind the Indian Hills Ace Hardware he’d like to do something with.

“It’s worth the money spent so I can get it zoned so I can think about a development,” he says. “I’ve got several ideas.”

That could be a mixed-use development with retail and office space.

“It will enhance Indian Hills,” Burke says. “It will enhance the area.”

Burke says he’s already done a lot of enhancements to the center — including new lighting, a new roof and upgraded heating and air systems — and would like to generate some revenue on the parking lot.

Some of that area is zoned for multiunit housing. Burke is seeking limited commercial zoning.

“There’s nothing in concrete until I have the zoning in my pocket,” he says. “I couldn’t even plan anything until I could figure out if … I could get it zoned so I could do a development.”

Burke says if a potential development does have retail, it would have to be destination retail since visibility isn’t as good on Meridian as the rest of the center on 13th Street.

“It is going to be hidden in a way.”

He says Ace likely would use some of the space.

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Copper Oven Cafe & Bakery sells to former Potbelly’s Restaurant owners

WICHITA — Former Potbelly’s Restaurant owners Phil and Sharon Schoenhofer have purchased Copper Oven Cafe & Bakery from Larry Burke.

“I thought it would be quicker to get back into the business,” Phil Schoenhofer says of buying an existing restaurant. “When you open a new restaurant in town, you’re always taking a chance. Open the doors and nobody comes.”

He says the restaurant, which is at 2409 W. 13th St., has an excellent reputation.

“That was a no-brainer to me.”

The Schoenhofers opened Potbelly’s in 1985 near 47th Street South and the Turnpike and ran it for about 20 years.

Their son, Jeff, will help them manage Copper Oven.

Though the restaurant still will sell baked goods, the Schoenhofers are renaming it Copper Oven Cafe.

“I just wanted to shorten it up a little bit,” Phil Schoenhofer says.

He says they don’t plan any other immediate changes.

“Eventually, I hope to slip a few of my recipes in as specials.”

You don’t say

“Beechcraft sneezed, and I caught a cold.”

Larry Burke, owner of Copper Oven Cafe Bakery, on how business is off right now in part because of concerns over Hawker Beechcraft leaving Wichita