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 »

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 »