Crestview Marine closes, building sells

WICHITA — Almost three decades after opening, Crestview Marine near Central and Greenwich has closed.

“My decision to do this is completely economy driven,” says owner Kelly Miller.

Miller opened the business with his father, Homer, in 1987. When his father died in 1998, Miller bought the business.

“It’s been a fun business,” he says of selling and servicing boats.

When the economy crashed, though, so did his business.

“This industry took a pretty hard hit for the past five years,” Miller says. “It just became obvious it was time for something else.”

He says he concentrated on closing with dignity “if there’s any such thing.”

“It’s hard,” Miller says. “It’s what I’ve done for a very long time.”

McCurdy Auction will auction the contents of the building Feb. 21.

“Everything’s going to be sold down to the walls,” Miller says. He says that includes “26 years of accumulation.”

There are new owners of the 5,500-square-foot building, which sits on 1.34 acres at 11018 E. Central. They prefer to remain anonymous.

Patrick Ahern of NAI Martens and Grant Tidemann and Terry Rupp of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos. is seeking a tenant for the space.

Miller isn’t sure what he’ll do next. He says he didn’t allow himself to think about that while still operating Crestview.

“Once you do, you give up,” he says.

“I’m confident that tomorrow will have some opportunities that will give me something to do. … Tomorrow could be the best thing that ever happened.”

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

Walgreens to move its Wichita district office

WICHITA — Walgreens is moving its district office in Wichita.

The six-person office, which oversees 32 stores for the Illinois-based company, has been at 5611 E. Harry for a decade.

In an e-mailed response to questions about the move, spokesman Jim Graham said the company outgrew its space and needed more meeting room. He also said the timing is advantageous with the current real estate market.

The new space, which is 5,000 square feet, is at 8415 E. 21st St. in the Bank of Kansas building.

Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group and Daryl Williams of Weigand-Omega Management handled the deal.

Taylor RyMar Corp. moves from Orpheum Centre to Market Centre downtown

WICHITA — Taylor RyMar Corp. has moved, but not far.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based firm, which does engineering consulting for the construction industry, has been at the Orpheum Centre at First and Broadway since its arrival in Wichita in 2007.

“We needed to consolidate space,” says principal owner Joel DeHaven.

Except his real estate contacts couldn’t reach the owner of the floor of his building.

“The owner of our floor apparently was in bankruptcy,” DeHaven says.

Real Development bought the building in 2006 and then sold some of the floors.

“We like being downtown,” DeHaven says. “We wanted to stay in that same area.”

The company, which specializes in electrical engineering out of the Wichita office, moved to about 1,200 square feet at the Market Centre at First and Market streets this week.

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Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee Laurie Williams to move to the Garvey Center

WICHITA — Reluctantly, Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee Laurie Williams has to move her office.

“When I moved here, I really had hoped to not have to move again,” she says of her 2,300 square feet at 225 N. Market.

“I love this space and its proximity to my courthouse, but my caseload has grown, and I’m just out of room.”

Williams is moving her office to 5,800 square feet at the R.H. Garvey Building at 300 W. Douglas.

The new office will allow for more files and employees.

Williams, who makes recommendations on whether Chapiter 13 plans should be approved and then administers them, has almost 2,900 cases.

Currently, she has 12 employees.

“I hope to add two more,” she says.

Larry Weber represented the Garvey Center in the deal, and Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group represented Williams.

The new office will be ready in late summer.

Insurance Specialist Group expands at Wilson Estates Office Park

WICHITA — Insurance Specialist Group has moved into almost 4,000 square feet in the Bank of Kansas building at Wilson Estates Office Park near 21st and Rock Road.

Previously, the company had 1,400 square feet at the building.

“We really only had room for basically five of us,” says partner Paul Masterson.

The company, which is an independent insurance agency, has seven employees including Masterson and partner Jeff Dodds.

The new office can accommodate about 15 workers.

“We have room to grow,” Masterson says.

Adam Clements of Builders Inc. and Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group handled the deal.

Insurance Specialist Group also has a Hutchinson office that DJ Kauffman opened in June. It’s not a franchise, Masterson says, but it is Kauffman’s operation.

“DJ’s been a perfect fit.”

Masterson says he and Dodds are open to having similar arrangements elsewhere.

“We’re always looking for good opportunities.”


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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Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference office moves to Market Centre downtown

WICHITA — The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference has a new home of its own instead of using a small space at the Southwestern College Adult Learning Center on North Ridge Road.

“We were tenant farmers in the back of their pasture,” says commissioner Scott Crawford.

The Conference, which represents 10 Kansas schools, now has 600 square feet at the Market Centre at 155 N. Market. It also has shared conference room space.

“It’s going to be exciting to bring the schools to my office for the first time,” Crawford says. “That’s a big deal to me.”

He needed the extra space in part to accommodate a new employee, Robert Brennecke, who is assistant commissioner for operations and sport communications.

“It was a one-man show, and now it’s a two-man show,” Crawford says. “We are working to . . . put a lot more visibility for the conference, for the 10 member schools.”

Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group handled the deal for the new space.

“I actually have some elbow room,” Crawford says.

It’s not big enough to, say, throw a football or play basketball, but it’s not bad.

“We can play office basketball, but that’s not a varsity sport yet.”

Italian Bistro to open in former Restaurant 155 space at First and Market

WICHITA — A third new Italian restaurant is coming to Wichita.

Kas Zendeli, who owns Bravo’s Italiani in Valley Center, is opening Italian Bistro in the former Restaurant 155 space in the Market Centre downtown at First and Market.

This follows news from Melad Stephan, who is opening Luca Italian Kitchen in his former Uptown Bistro space in Old Town Square later this month.

Bocco Deli owner Nathan Toubia, who used to work for Lidia’s in Kansas City, also is opening an Italian restaurant. His as-of-yet-unnamed business is coming soon to the former Sugar Sisters Bakery & Cafe space near Central and Oliver.

Zendeli, who is Albanian, plans a traditional Italian menu for his new restaurant. He’s keeping his Valley Center restaurant, too.

Is he a glutton for punishment having two restaurants in two cities?

“Every business is punishment,” Zendeli says. “Since 1969 I’m in this punishment.”

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Wichita Community Foundation to move to the Epic Center

WICHITA — The Wichita Community Foundation is moving from its space at the Garvey Center, but it’s not leaving downtown.

The foundation, which promotes charitable giving, is moving to 2,600 square feet on the first floor of the Epic Center.

“The big issue with us is it’s more visibility,” says Rob Allison, president and CEO.

And it’s visibility in a building with a lot of professionals — particularly lawyers and accountants whose clients are the type of people likely to support the foundation.

“The tenant mix is absolutely a big factor on why we wanted to move,” Allison says. “Believe me, the closer to them that you are, the more they understand what you’re trying to do in the community.”

That’s an issue that he says affects every community foundation.

“The more visibility they have . . . the more people can understand them.”

The foundation has $42 million in assets and last year gave $4.2 million to local nonprofits.

“A community foundation is there to help and understand community needs,” Allison says. “That role is emphasized even more when you have difficult economic times.”

The foundation will open on Oct. 1 in its new location.

Patrick Ahern and Dave Wagner of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group handled the transaction.