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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

U.S. Attorney’s Office seeking new lease

WICHITA — The General Services Administration has been busy signing two new leases at the Lux for the Defense Contract Audit Agency and the Defense Contract Management Agency, and it has one more to go. Where the lease will be is still a question, though.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office currently is in the Epic Center. Its lease will expire this summer, and the GSA will have a competitive bidding process for a new lease.

“They are looking in downtown,” says GSA public affairs officer Angela Brees.

She says the office needs approximately 21,000 square feet, which is about what it has now.

Even with a new lease, there’s a chance the office won’t have to move.

“There’s a possibility that they may still stay at their current location,” Brees says. “The current landlord can participate in the process.”

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.

Read More »

You don’t say

“You don’t live up to those GSA obligations, they throw you in Leavenworth.”

NAI Martens broker Patrick Ahern joking about how developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey have to be committed to finishing the Lux since the General Services Administration signed on as a tenant

Lux lands first commercial tenant: Defense Contract Management Agency

UPDATED — The Lux has landed its first commercial tenant.

The federal government’s Defense Contract Management Agency and its 45 employees will be moving into almost 10,000 square feet at the building, which is the former Protection One office at the northwest corner of First and Market.

Developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey 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.

Angela Brees, public affairs officer with the General Services Administration, says the government has a 10-year lease on the space, five years of which are firm. She says the total contract value is almost $2.3 million.

The agency currently is at 271 W. Third. Its lease expired, and a bid process was held for a new lease.

“This was the most cost-effective option,” Brees says.

She says the agency will move into the Lux in late August.

 

Farha Construction moves to former Woolf Brothers building for next Eyster-Ramsey project

WICHITA — It’s customary for contractors to move from job to job, but lately Farha Construction has been moving from office to office, too.

“This is very unusual,” says Ted Farha.

In October, the company moved into the Lux, which is the former Protection One building at First and Market that Farha Construction is helping developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey convert into condos.

“It was good to be in there for a while,” Farha says. “There was a lot of investigative work to do there.”

This week, the company moved into another Eyster-Ramsey property at the former Woolf Brothers department store building at the southwest corner of Douglas and Market. The address used to be 111 S. Market, but they’ve changed it to 135 E. Douglas.

“Everybody knows where Douglas is,” Farha says. “Douglas is just the main artery … in downtown.”

Ramsey says the idea is “to breathe some life into that corner down there. Just having somebody in those buildings is going to help that area.”

Farha Construction is taking two floors of the four-story building.

“We have a lot of work in the neighborhood, and we have a lot more work to plan,” Farha says. “It’s very convenient to be within walking distance of multiple projects. Not that we don’t want to work in the suburbs.”

Ramsey and Eyster are working on plans for a grouping of buildings they want to redevelop near Douglas and Market.

Read More »

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.

Read More »