WICHITA — Upgrades coming to Douglas and St. Francis are inspiring Grant and Janet Rine to do some remodeling just up the street near their Old Town Architectural Salvage shop, at 126 N. St. Francis.
The city is reconfiguring that corridor and adding landscaping, and developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey are also working to transform the Zelman building on the northeast corner into apartments, retail and restaurant space.
“That is an inspiration for us to clean that space up and do something productive,” Janet Rine says of the lot where they keep some of what they salvage.
The Rines purchased the approximately 10,000-square-foot building between their shop and the lot where they keep stone and other large pieces.
“It will, eventually over the next couple of years or so, become something else,” Rine says. “We are entertaining all kinds of ideas.”
She says her Caffe Moderne partner, Melad Stephan — who is never short on new business ideas — has said, “Gosh, wouldn’t it be great to put a great bar down there?”
She wouldn’t mind something along those lines.
“Melad would love to have, like, a Cajun bar,” she says. “Me, I’d rather have a speakeasy.”
It’s an idea she previously entertained for the salvage space.
For now, the Rines are using their new space for storage.
“It’s massively filled.”
Much like the lot, which Rine says is “driving me nuts.”
“I’d like to put temporary walls up . . . just to make it more decorative,” she says.
“We’re eventually going to empty that lot, and it will become a parking lot.”
In the meantime, she says, she’ll have to put up with it.
“It’s just my little pet peeve.”