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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Qdoba Mexican Grill to open in Hutchinson in June; east Wichita Qdoba to follow

WICHITA — The first Qdoba Mexican Grill in this part of Kansas is going to open in Hutchinson.

In July, Have You Heard? reported that restaurateur Eric Estes is bringing the franchise to Wichita.

“We would like to do five,” says Estes, whose Estes Enterprises has almost two dozen A&W and Long John Silver’s franchises in Kansas.

Denver-based Qdoba is similar to Chipotle Mexican Grill in that customers order from a counter with a number of protein, vegetable and salsa selections for burritos and tacos. Qdoba, which was founded in 1995, has about 600 restaurants in 42 states.

Ink Construction will begin building the Hutchinson Qdoba at 1518 E. 17th Ave. in February. That’s where Taco Bueno used to be. That building will be demolished.

An east Wichita location “will soon follow,” Estes says.

He says it just happens the Hutchinson deal was finalized first. He’s selected an east Wichita site, but the deal isn’t done. He’s also considering a couple of sites in west Wichita and is planning a Hays Qdoba as well.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons is helping Estes with the deals.

Estes says the Hutchinson Qdoba will open June 1 and the others will quickly follow.

Inside Out Fitness opens at Brush Creek shopping center at 37th and Woodlawn

WICHITA — Caleb Schroeder was a popular personal trainer with the YMCA, but when he refused to sign a noncompete agreement last month, he says he lost his job.

Since then, he’s been planning his own training business. Now, it’s happening.

Inside Out Fitness is taking the final piece of former Blockbuster property in the Brush Creek shopping center near the southeast corner of 37th and Woodlawn.

“I’m planning to change people’s lives one at a time,” Schroeder says.

He says a lot of people have desires such as looking better or losing weight.

“Basically, a lot of people show up,” he says. “They just think it’s what they’re supposed to do.”

He says it takes more than that.

“Wellness and fitness comes from the inside out,” he says. “You must be tenacious.”

For now, he’ll offer a variety of group and personal training and some sport-specific training.

“We’re in the process of possibly doing a cardio (program),” he says.

Inside Out Fitness is in 1,400 square feet. Leisa Lowry with J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Since he left the Y, Schroeder has been holding small boot camps to keep in touch with customers. Now, they can work out with him and two other trainers at Brush Creek.

In addition to trying to help people from the inside out, Schroeder says he particularly wants to help people who don’t enjoy working out.

“I’m trying to show people we can make it fun.”

BNC National Bank to move west-side office

UPDATED — BNC National Bank is moving its west-side branch from 7200 W. 13th St. to the campus near 29th and Ridge where J.P. Weigand & Sons has its west-side residential office.

“I outgrew the space,” branch manager J.R. Rohr says of the 3,800 square feet he has at 13th Street.

The new space, which is in the east building on the campus, has 5,200 square feet.

“We’re hoping to be moved in by the beginning of the year,” Rohr says.

Remodeling the new space will take about eight weeks once the lease is done.

“We’re still working out some details on the lease,” Rohr says.

Weigand’s Patrick Ritchie and Leisa Lowry are handling the deal.

The Bismarck, N.D.-based BNC, which handles only residential mortgages in Wichita, has three branches here.

In addition to the west-side branch, one is inside Andover State Bank at the Waterfront, and another is within the Andover State Bank in Andover.

Rohr says finding good west-side office space can be a challenge since much of the available space is for retail.

“Having real, true office space in west Wichita is a big plus for me,” he says.

Rohr likes the access to K-96.

“I feel that part of Wichita … is growing right now,” he says. “There’s all kinds of businesses up there. It’s close to NewMarket Square.”

Rohr says he’s looking to add three or four loan officers. He doesn’t have any other changes planned.

“There’s been talk about … maybe expanding in the Derby market,” Rohr says. “That thought has just been brought up. I haven’t really got too far into that yet.

“This is it for right now.”

Family Christian Stores to move from Normandie Center to Eastgate Plaza

WICHITA — After more than a decade in Normandie Center, Family Christian Stores is moving to Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock Road.

“We’re actually going where we feel more of our customers shop,” says Paul Sobol, vice present of real estate for the Michigan-based chain.

Normandie is at Central and Woodlawn, which Sobol says is “not a regional shopping area.”

New stores at Eastgate, such as Ross Dress For Less, “really have a similar customer so that we feel we can reach out to more and more people,” Sobol says.

There’s also a Family Christian Stores location in NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road that’s been open for about seven years.

Nationally, there are almost 300 stores, which sell Christian-themed products, such as gifts, books, jewelry, CDs and DVDs.

“We reach out to the whole Christian community,” Sobol says.

The new east-side store will be in the former Mattress Firm space, which is about 4,000 square feet. That’s slightly larger than the Normandie space.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons and Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos. handled the deal.

Look for the Eastgate Family Christian Stores to open around Oct. 25.

Qdoba Mexican Grill to open at least two restaurants on east and west sides

UPDATED — Restaurateur Eric Estes is bringing a new franchise to Wichita:

Qdoba Mexican Grill.

“We’re really impressed with … their culinary attitude (and) approach to food,” Estes says.

Estes Enterprises has 20 A&W and Long John Silver’s franchises in Kansas, including six of the seafood restaurants in Wichita.

Denver-based Qdoba, which was founded in 1995, has about 600 restaurants in 42 states.

Initially, Estes plans to bring Qdobas to Wichita’s east and west sides.

“Our plan is to have the first unit open by the end of ’12 or the very beginning of ’13,” he says.

The east-side Qdoba will be built first.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons is helping Estes with the deals, which aren’t yet finalized.

Wink Hartman II of Ink Construction is the contractor.

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Zelman Lofts fully leased on residential side; commercial leasing is next

WICHITA — The nine residential spaces at Zelman Lofts are now completely leased.

“It’s some proof in the pudding that we’re hard workers,” says Michael Ramsey, who is redeveloping the building with Robert Eyster.

Now, they’re moving on to leasing 4,800 square feet of retail or restaurant space that fronts Douglas and another 1,000 square feet of office space that fronts St. Francis.

“The group is going to be particular about who goes in there because it’s very special space,” says Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons, who handles Ramsey and Eyster’s real estate deals.

The building, which was Sam Zelman’s namesake clothing store for decades, is across from Intrust Bank Arena and between an existing city park and another one being built just up St. Francis.

“It’s a tremendous corner,” Ramsey says.

Lowry says the response so far has been great, too.

She says interest has mostly been from restaurateurs, and it looks like that’s what will go in the space.

“We’ve had a lot of excellent activity on it.”

Sugar Sister Kelli Sykes to reopen Sugar Sisters Bakery in Delano

WICHITA — The Sugar Sisters are back.

Kelli Sykes is reopening Sugar Sisters Bakery, this time in Delano, with a little behind-the-scenes help from her sisters Kristine and Katie.

The sisters closed their original Sugar Sisters Bakery & Cafe near Central and Oliver in January after struggling financially and with service issues for three years.

“I learned from our mistakes the first time,” Kelli Sykes says.

“My sisters kind of gave up (and) wanted to pursue their dreams, but I still wanted to do a bakery,” she says.

“In high school I went to Kapaun, and everyone called me Betty Crocker (and) Mom. They all wanted me to open a bakery. That’s kind of where my dream started.”

The new business will be in 1,200 square feet at 917 W. Douglas just down from Club Billiards.

Joey Ritchie and Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Sugar Sisters mainly will be a bakery but will have some lunch items as well and seating for about 10.

Sykes says her bierocks will be a staple.

“Anyone who’s had them has been instantly addicted.”

She’ll also serve chicken salad, quiche and some deli items such as cold pasta.

Since the other business closed, Sykes says she’s been doing special orders and has been receiving great feedback.

For instance, one drug rep orders about 100 cupcakes a week.

“She says every time she takes them somewhere people go crazy,” Sykes says. She says fans of the restaurant have “been going nuts since we closed.”

For those who weren’t fans or were disappointed by a previous experience, Sykes says, “I would invite them to give me another chance.”

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Robert Eyster hits the trifecta with his acquisition of 100 S. Market

WICHITA — Developer Robert Eyster has purchased another downtown building.

Michael Ramsey, who is working with Eyster on several downtown projects, says Eyster has acquired the more than 20,000-square-foot, two-story building at 100 S. Market.

“It’s not a very exciting building — yet,” Ramsey says.

This follows Eyster’s purchase of the Board of Trade building at 120 S. Market earlier this summer along with Kelly Donham’s former property on Douglas Avenue between Main and Market streets that became known for a giant hole in the ground.

They’re also renovating and repurposing the Zelman building and the Victoria Park Apartments downtown.

Ramsey says the building at 100 S. Market is “an integral part of the trifecta of the old Donham property and the Board of Trade.”

“Now that we’ve secured all three of the key players in the plan, we can go forth with what the next step is.”

Except they’re not revealing that next step yet.

Ramsey says he’ll share news in a month or so.

Leisa Lowry with J.P. Weigand & Sons and Marlin Penner with NAI John T. Arnold Associates handled the deal for 100 S. Market.

“It holds enormous promise,” Ramsey says.

U Grill to open in former Linkhaus space

WICHITA — An Oklahoma lawyer’s shopping trip to the Rock Road Sam’s Club led to him leasing the former Linkhaus space near the southwest corner of 37th Street North and Rock Road.

Will Clark was in Wichita shopping at Sam’s about six months ago.

“For some reason, I went north to 37th Street instead of south to . . . 96,” Clark says.

“It was nighttime, and I drove by the Linkhaus, and it was all lit up. And I thought, what in the world? I literally came in and bought a hot dog because I was curious about the building. I thought, that’s one heck of a building.”

He’s planning to open a fast-casual dining concept called U Grill in September.

“Basically what we’re looking at doing is like a fast food HuHot or a Genghis Grill,” Clark says.

Instead of having only rice or noodles to choose from along with grilled vegetables, U Grill will have hamburgers, cheese steak sandwiches and omelets for which customers can also select vegetables to grill.

The quarter pound burgers will be divided into two patties that are smashed and grilled quickly. The grilled vegetables will go between the patties.

Clark says he’s also getting a license for at least beer and wine and hopes to make U Grill a late-night spot for sporting events in addition to serving breakfast lunch and dinner.

“There’s a lot of potential for this area to have a after-hours place for people to gather.”

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