Despite sign to the contrary, T.J. Maxx isn’t coming to New Leaf Plaza

WICHITA — Shoppers in the 21st and Amidon area had brief hope that T.J. Maxx is coming to the intersection. A business in the area even had a sign saying so, but it’s not true.

“It speaks to a need or a demand at that intersection that’s probably not being fully fulfilled,” says Scott Harper, a broker with Landmark Commercial Real Estate.

“We have contacted them,” Harper says of T.J. Maxx. He was courting the store for New Leaf Plaza at the southwest corner where a Walmart Neighborhood Market is but says he “didn’t really get too far with it.”

Harper says that soft goods retailers such as T.J. Maxx like to cluster together.

“At the moment, that’s a little bit of a challenge for the intersection,” he says. Harper says it’s only one of a couple of intersections in the city with three grocers.

“I think soft goods are under served at the intersection,” he says. “A lot of them aren’t overly attracted to grocery-anchored centers.”

He says grocery stores are a draw for fitness centers.

“That’s why it’s good for Planet Fitness.”

The franchise opened in New Leaf Plaza last year, and Harper says it’s convenient for people to pop into the grocery store after their daily or weekly workout routine.

“Or, in my case, once-a year routine.”

Construction begins on one A-OK Center, second one to follow with more after that

WICHITA — Construction started this week at Bruce Harris’ new A-OK Center at New Leaf Plaza at 21st and Amidon, but that’s hardly the only new thing the pawn shop owner has going on.

“Wichita’s economy is starting to come back,” he says. “This shopping center in the middle of town is going to come alive again.”

The former Marina Lakes is now home to a Walmart Neighborhood Market that Harris says is contributing to those “sparks of life coming along.”

Harris also is about to begin building a new center at 410 N. West St.

It’ll be about 19,000 square feet, and the center at New Leaf will be 25,000 square feet.

“It’s going to be a huge place,” Harris says.

His centers at Harry and Oliver and Harry and Broadway are 18,000 square feet each.

The New Leaf center will be the “same thing on steroids.”

“What we’re doing is changing the way people shop,” Harris says. “We have new, used and lease to own.”

Both new centers and his store at Harry and Oliver will have a Better Living shop, which is Harris’ new lease-to-own concept.

New Leaf and West Street also each will have an A-OK Pawn Shop, One Day Jewelry and Repair, Cricket and A-OK Financial Services, which offers check cashing, payday loans, title loans and tax services.

Harris says the New Leaf center will be the most elaborate.

“I’m going to try to make it a lot of fun,” he says. “It’ll be kind of like Cabela’s.”

What he means is he plans a lot of displays and unusual touches that will “make it a really neat retail atmosphere that you’ve never seen in the pawn industry.”

There will be a dramatic 30-foot ceiling at the entrance of the center where Harris hopes to have something fun, such as a small plane or part of a helicopter hanging.

“We’re going to try to work with the Wichita motif.”

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Planet Fitness coming to Wichita with at least three gyms

WICHITA — Gold’s Gym International isn’t the only new fitness chain coming to Wichita.

Planet Fitness is finalizing deals for three locations as well.

In fact, the two chains have been jockeying for some of the same spaces.

No one with Planet Fitness is talking just yet, but it looks like the company is working on locations in the former Star Lumber space at Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn, at Marina Lakes at 21st and Amidon where a new Walmart Neighborhood Market is and also at the 21st and Maize area.

The website for Planet Fitness describes its gyms as fairly basic.

“We don’t have any salespeople, and we don’t bother with all the extras like juice bars and childcare that drive up costs and can make a gym membership seem more like a car payment.”

Look for more news on the deals in the coming weeks.


Advanced Computer and Cell Phone Solutions to open near new Walmart at 21st and Amidon

WICHITA — Walmart’s new Neighborhood Market at 21st and Amidon is attracting another new nearby business.

Advanced Computer and Cell Phone Solutions is opening in the small strip center at 2039 W. 21st St.

“You can see it from the new Walmart,” says Hugh Huynh, who is partners with Michael Le in the venture.

Huynh says the nearby Walmart factored into their decision to locate there.

The two will offer computer and cell phone sales and service.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

“We plan on expanding in the future,” Huynh says of other sites.

“Right now we just want to focus on the northwest side of town first.”

Jimmy’s Egg near 21st and Amidon closes; location near Office This to open soon

WICHITA — It turns out the new Jimmy’s Egg that’s going in front of Max Cole’s Office This development at 4031 E. Harry will replace the one just west of 21st and Amidon.

That Jimmy’s Egg is now closed.

Owner Wink Hartman Sr. says his management team “is going to take action to correct businesses that are not performing.”

“The concept is that we’re growing and reallocating our assets to more profitable areas and stores,” he says.

Hartman didn’t want to wait for the new Walmart Neighborhood Market to open at Marina Lakes on the southwest corner of the intersection and hope that his business increased.

“You cannot continually develop and plan your future around a Walmart,” Hartman says. “Yes, they drive traffic, but we have a breakfast concept, and it doesn’t really tie into being around a Walmart.”

The Jimmy’s Egg by Office This will open within 45 days.

Hartman has one more planned by the end of the year.

He’s close to a lease on the west side of College Hill and could have the restaurant open by Thanksgiving.

Look for more news on it soon.

Planned Walmart Neighborhood Market likely will attract new tenants at Marina Lakes

WICHITA — Several observant passersby have noticed leasing signs at Marina Lakes at 21st and Amidon and wondered if that means the deal for a Walmart Neighborhood Market is off.

It’s quite the opposite.

Leasing is gearing up thanks to the future Walmart.

Demolition has begun to tear down about half of the large vacant building on the north end of the development. That’s where the Walmart will locate.

The other vacant spaces will be renovated for new tenants.

Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos. is handling leasing.

Dominic Garcia is the first to sign a new lease thanks to Walmart.

Garcia owns two Legends Barber Shops in Wichita.

“We have a lot of clientele on the north side of town,” he says. The new 750-square-foot store, which will be ready in a month, will “make the drive a little easier for our clients.”

Garcia has been looking for additional space for a while.

“There just wasn’t an area that I thought would be beneficial for us.”

Walmart changed that, he says.

“I wouldn’t have came if they weren’t opening up over there.”

Two Providence Square businesses to move to make room for Walmart

WICHITA — A couple of more businesses at Providence Square are moving to make room for the Walmart Neighborhood Market that will be coming to 13th and Oliver.

Mid-K Beauty Supply is moving to the west side of the site next to the police station.

Easyhome also is moving, though it’s not going far. It will move one spot down and be next to Capitol Federal.

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that Ken-Mar Family Drugs was closing to make room for the Arkansas retail giant.

Wal-Mart is close to final Neighborhood Market deals at 21st and Amidon, 13th and Oliver and possibly 31st South and Seneca

WICHITA — Some Wichita investors have the Marina Lakes shopping center under contract on the southwest corner of 21st and Amidon, which is directly across from Twin Lakes.

Those investors in turn have a contract with Wal-Mart for the chain to put one of its Neighborhood Markets in part of the space.

The market, which is a small grocery concept, would go on the north end of the center.

This doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal, though.

First, the investors have to close on the property. The earliest that will happen is the first part of 2011.

Only then can the Wal-Mart deal be completed.

Wal-Mart has already closed deals for three other markets — at Central and Maize, Central and West and Harry and Webb — and there’s a good chance this deal could close as well.

However, as is the case with any deal like this, especially in this economy, nothing’s for sure until the deal is truly done.

Wal-Mart also has a contract to go to 13th and Oliver at Providence Square, though there are some hurdles yet to go.

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Buffet City to move within Plaza West

WICHITA — The new Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to Central and West will displace Buffet City, but the restaurant won’t have to move far.

Buffet City will remain at the Plaza West shopping center on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Instead of continuing to face Central, it will face West Street when it moves across from Dillons in two weeks.

Yuki Lin, whose family owns the business, says they’re planning several changes with the move.

The 8,000-square-foot space — compared to the restaurant’s current 7,000 square feet — will be large enough for a banquet room.

The grill will change from a Mongolian grill to a Japanese grill, which Lin says is more popular.

There also will be a sushi bar and an expanded buffet.

“People will enjoy it when they come in,” Lin says.

You don’t say

“Doggone, we’ve been under contract many times. This one almost got away, too.”

Star Lumber’s Chris Goebel, who’s finally closed a deal on his 11.4 acres at Central and Maize, where Wal-Mart now plans a Neighborhood Market