New 3D-XEnergy to move into Domestic Design Building

WICHITA — Some new energy is coming to the Domestic Design Building in the Douglas Design District.

The new 3D-XEnergy, an oil and gas exploration company, is taking 2,578 square feet in the 1915 building at 1425 E. Douglas.

“They’re doing a lot of renovation, and a lot of kind of creative companies are in it now,” says partner Andy Kemmer.

Kemmer had been involved with another company, Vanguard Petroleum, before forming this LLC in March.

Geologist Monica Williams is a colleague in 3D-XEnergy.

The unusual name is a reference to the firm’s use of three-dimensional seismic technology in exploration.

Craig Ablah of Classic Real Estate and Marty Gilchrist and Randy Johnston of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal for the space.

Brent Dorrah of neighboring ACI Design Studio is redesigning the space, which should be ready by early September at the latest.

Kemmer says he’s been in the oil business for more than 35 years.

“We all tend to put partnerships together with other oil guys,” he says.

Kemmer says he likes the idea of being with creative companies in the building, such as ACI, Greteman Group and the Workroom. He calls it a “comfortable” surrounding.

“It’s good people.”

Empire Energy to expand to Riverview

WICHITA — Pennsylvania-based Empire Energy is expanding its Wichita office.

The company established an office here following an oil acquisition in 2011. Currently, it is in 1,600 square feet at the Twin Lakes Office Park at 1900 N. Amidon.

Empire is moving to the Riverview building at 345 Riverview near Third and Waco.

“It’s been going well,” says Rob Kramer, vice president of Empire’s mid-continent region.

“We’ve drilled a few new wells, had decent results and just been kind of maintaining,” he says. “We haven’t grown a great deal. There’s a lot of maintenance and upkeep with the wells we took over.”

Empire has almost 300 producing wells in the greater central Kansas area. It has drilled 16 new wells.

Kramer says that “16 wells over two years is not a very fast pace.”

He says the company prefers to grow through acquisition.

“We’ve got several deals currently in the works.”

The new office is 2,209 square feet.

Tony Utter of Utter Commercial Real Estate and Grant Tidemann and Marty Gilchrist of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Empire recently hired a new employee and is looking to possibly hire a couple more soon.

“We just need more office space here,” Kramer says. “We are trying to grow.”

Wichita’s LSI office to move to Ruffin Building on East Douglas

UPDATED — When LSI’s Engenio storage division sold to NetApp in 2011, one piece of the LSI business remained at the NetApp building on North Rock Road.

LSI is now moving into its own space at the Ruffin Building at 9111 E. Douglas, which is the one-time Pizza Hut headquarters.

“We’re excited to have them,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties.

The 5-year lease is for 19,000 square feet of the 254,000-square-foot building.

“I have about 25,000 left,” Ruffin says of what’s still available to lease.

Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons helped him with the deal.

“They were instrumental in helping put it together,” Ruffin says.

Also helping was California-based Ham Southworth of Studley Inc. Southworth represents LSI nationally.

He says about 50 people will be moving. Southworth says most are engineers but there are sales, operations and marketing employees as well.

“They’re going to move in as soon as possible,” Ruffin says. He anticipates that will take three or four months.

Other tenants include Ally, CCH and Pure-Formance Sports & Fitness Training Center, which Ruffin says is open to the public.

He says Ruffin Properties recently spent $115,000 on landscaping at the Ruffin Building.

“And it’s going to really improve … the overall appearance to the building.”

Ruffin says the LSI lease is significant.

“It’s just a really good deal,” Ruffin says.

And not just for Ruffin Properties and LSI, he says, but for Wichita in general.

“It means that the private sector’s moving a little bit.”

Menards finalizes deal for Derby store

UPDATED — Menards, the Wisconsin-based home improvement chain, has finalized its deal for a store near the southwest corner of East Patriot Avenue and Buckner Street in Derby.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Grant Glasgow of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

Glasgow and colleague Jeff Englert represented North Derby Investments, which sold 46.13 acres to Menards.

Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons represented Menards

The deal, which was in the works for a couple of years, closed Sept. 28 for an undisclosed amount.

“We recently purchased 50.63 acres in Derby, KS and if everything goes as planned, we hope to build a new Menards store on this property some day,” Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott said through an e-mail. “We are still in the initial planning stages and no final decisions have been made just yet.”

The total number of acres includes a residential property Menards purchased as well.

Glasgow says he’s not sure when construction will start or when to expect the store to open.

“They weren’t able to share that with us yet.”

This makes the third Menards that will open in the greater Wichita area.

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Willowbend Animal Hospital to open on the east side in August

Michael Johnson and his dogs, Marty and Mabel.

WICHITA — Veterinarian Michael Johnson, who has practiced in the Wichita area for 17 years, is opening his own animal hospital next month.

Willowbend Animal Hospital will open Aug. 8 at 7606 E. 37th St. North, which is between Rock Road and Woodlawn.

“I just wanted a facility that I could provide the services that I want to for my clients and my pets,” Johnson says. “Specifically, I’m very passionate about managing chronic pain with pets.”

Johnson says pet owners often are unaware their pets are in pain.

“They expect the pet to act like we do when they’re in pain, and that’s not how they act,” he says.

For instance, he says, dogs are pack animals who wouldn’t want to show pain to others.

“They’d be hiding it if they could.”

Johnson says cats go into seclusion, which may be difficult to differentiate from their regular behavior.

Some issues, he says, owners may chalk up to the aging process, when actually their animals are in pain.

“I just believe that our pets can not speak for themselves,” Johnson says. “They suffer quietly for years with undiagnosed and untreated pain, and they never enjoy life as fully as they could.”

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Occupational Safety & Health Administration to move to Bank of America Center

UPDATED — The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is going to open an office in the Bank of America Center at Douglas and Broadway.

“We’re real excited about having them,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties.

OSHA, which is taking 6,500 square feet on the fourth floor, signed a 10-year lease.

Grant Tidemann and Marty Gilchrist of J.P. Weigand & Sons helped with the deal.

“They were a lot of help,” Chris Ruffin says. Government deals “are very complicated.”

Martin Pringle also recently signed a 10-year extension on its lease at the Bank of America Center. The law firm has the entire fifth floor, which is about 35,000 square feet.

When Phil Ruffin bought the building in 2006, it had a 52 percent occupancy rate. Now, it’s at about 94 percent.

“We are getting full,” Chris Ruffin says. “We only have a little bit of space left.”

He says he’s working with several people on other potential deals there.

“We’re just trying to get the rest of the spaces leased.”

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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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may take 13,000 square feet of former Davis Furniture space in Delano

UPDATED — A deal is close for a new tenant in the former Davis Furniture space, and it’s as unlike a country-and-western bar as it can be.

It looked like there was a done deal earlier today, but it’s not finalized yet. If it happens, though, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would take 13,000 square feet in the building.

“You know, it’s not glamorous, but it’s a really vital part of government resources,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father Phil Ruffin’s Ruffin Properties.

Chris Ruffin says an Immigration Services lease would mean a lot for Delano, too.

“It’s a big deal,” he says. “It saves that derelict building. It’s been an eyesore in Wichita for a really, really long time.”

The Ruffins plan to heavily invest in the property, where they once planned a bar, before Immigration Services would move in.

“The building’s going to look spectacular,” Chris Ruffin says. “It’s not going to look like a government building per se.”

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Tect Aerospace signs lease at Garvey Center

UPDATED — TECT Aerospace has signed a new lease for 5,600 square feet at the R.H. Garvey Building at 300 W. Douglas.

The firm will take about half of the first floor.

This brings the building’s occupancy, along with the occupancy at the O.W. Garvey Building at 200 W. Douglas, to 100 percent for now.

“That’s a neat feeling to have,” says Larry Weber of Builders Inc., which owns the buildings. “I can’t tell you the last time that that had happened.”

Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons represented TECT in the deal.

TECT currently has its headquarters at 2872 N. Ridge Road.

A couple of its new neighbors at the Garvey Center will be leaving or downsizing in the next couple of weeks.

Attorney Mark Kahrs is vacating 2,500 square feet on the first floor of the O.W. Garvey Building.

Harrington Health, which has two and a half floors in the R.H. Garvey Building is giving back half a floor.

“They’re consolidating their spaces,” Weber says.

Still, he says he’s pleased with what’s happening at the Garvey buildings and in downtown in general.

“There is a lot happening in downtown right now,” Weber says.

“Downtown is alive and well.”