Orpheum Office Building owners association sues Randy Johnston and Hubris Communications

WICHITA — Chris Owen and Randy Johnston purchased the fourth floor of the Orpheum Office Building for a steal last summer, but it’s been anything but a bargain since then.

“We saw this and thought it might be a deal, and it turned out to be a really good deal, or so we thought,” Owen says.

“They think they did their homework, but they didn’t,” says Ram Mofsowitz, president of the building’s owners association.

At issue is the way utilities, janitorial services and other common expenses are calculated. The owners association has sued Johnston and Hubris Communications, where Owen is founder and president.

“Hubris is not involved in any way,” Owen says. “That’s a fishing expedition, and they know it.”

Owen and Johnston purchased the floor for $3,000 at a sheriff’s auction. Owen says they expected to have some fees associated with owning the floor.

“We obviously have no problem with that.”

He says the association divides costs of such things as electricity among owners of the building’s seven floors even though he and Johnston now have a separate meter for their floor.

“This makes no sense,” Owen says.

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Profinium Inc. files foreclosure suit against Real Development

UPDATED — Minnesota-based Profinium Inc. has filed suit against Real Development and its principals, Michael Elzufon and Dave Lundberg, to foreclose on a few pieces of property they own here.

“It’s not nearly as icky as it might sound,” Elzufon says.

“Profinium’s great people,” he says. “We have a very long … and very good relationship with this bank.”

At issue are portions of the Petroleum Building at 221 S. Broadway and Broadway Plaza at 105 S. Broadway.

“We owe more than they’re worth,” Lundberg says.

Elzufon says the filing is mainly about one thing for Profinium.

“They need to protect their interests.”

Also, he says, it’s “for us to continue to make our exit out of various assets that we’ve had down there.”

Lundberg says there are liens and a couple of mortgages on the properties.

“In order to clean up the title, they’re going to foreclose on it,” he says. “It’s all worked out, but they filed it anyway. Their attorney jumped the gun a little bit.”

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Tenants at former Commerce Bank building are scrambling for new office space

WICHITA — Tenants at the former Commerce Bank building at First and Main downtown are scrambling to find new space.

“Monday, the gas was shut off in the building,” says Kevin Berube, who has run the Snack Attack deli in the building for 27 years.

“One elevator still works part of the time, but it’s no way to operate,” he says. “It’s very hard on everyone.”

The 10-story building is not quite a third occupied with about 10 tenants, the largest of which is the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.

“We don’t want to move,” says Keith Lawing, Alliance president and CEO. “It’s just untenable, though.”

Building owner Joe Moosally didn’t return two calls for comment on Wednesday.

“The building has just not been maintained,” Lawing says. “It’s that Minnesota boys hangover.”

The Real Development developers out of Minnesota once owned the building. Moosally, also out of Minnesota, had ties to the other developers but was not part of that company.

Delton Sandefer of Essential Property Management managed the building until the beginning of October.

“We were just trying to help him keep the building afloat,” he says. “I was managing the building for a little while and quit managing … because of lack of funds with the owners.”

Sandefer says Moosally was working on a deal to sell the building, but it apparently fell through.

He says when Moosally took back the property, he attempted to pay past bills associated with it.

“It was just overwhelming for Joe,” Sandefer says. “He didn’t realize that nothing had been paid for five months.”

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Orpheum Theatre creates OPAC Real Estate to buy space at Orpheum Office Building

WICHITA — The Orpheum Theatre is now going to own a piece of the adjacent Orpheum Office Building in addition to the theater at First and Broadway.

“It’s very exciting news for the Orpheum,” says president Jennifer Wright.

The Orpheum created a separate entity, OPAC Real Estate LLC, to make the purchase. OPAC stands for Orpheum Performing Arts Center.

The group bought the approximately 6,000-square-foot third floor of the office building from a bank, which acquired it out of foreclosure.

Wright says the Orpheum leadership decided to create the LLC to protect the theater.

“We’re kind of just taking caution,” she says.

Theater staff members currently occupy a couple of suites on the first floor of the center and will move to the third floor on May 1.

“Now we’ll finally all be all together,” Wright says.

“It will also enable the theater to save money long term. It is no longer going to be paying rent every month,” she says. “We really feel like this will benefit the theater in the long run.”

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CASA of Sedgwick County to move to the Garvey Center

WICHITA — CASA of Sedgwick County is leaving 150 N. Main St. for the Garvey Center.

Real Development just has failed to … live up to their promises,” says Anne Duncan, CASA’s executive director, referring to the owner of CASA’s current building.

Duncan says there are maintenance issues, such as an elevator that has had repeated problems, and Real Development is “not being very attentive to those types of things.”

Neither Michael Elzufon nor Dave Lundberg of Real Development returned calls for comment.

Duncan says the move, which will happen July 28, will give CASA 2,640 square feet compared to its current 1,600 square feet.

“We need more space and a place to do training,” Duncan says. “That’s one of our big considerations.”

The nonprofit trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in court.

“We’re just really excited to be able to deliver all of our training on site,” Duncan says.

Larry Weber of Builders Inc. handled the deal.

CASA will move into the Kiva at the Garvey Center, which is across from Papa John’s Pizza.

Duncan says she’s pleased that CASA can remain centrally located “without fighting for parking.”

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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Dragon Estate investors buy floors in Sutton Place and Broadway Plaza and plan more purchases downtown

WICHITA — What started as a real estate search for a law office has led Abdul Arif to become a new investor in downtown along with several of his friends and business associates.

The members of the group, who operate under the name Dragon Estate, are Asian immigrants.

“This is our home,” Arif says of how they now view Wichita. “This is where we believe in.”

The other investors are Mui Nguyen, who owns Roof Mechanics; Vinh Le, a Boeing engineer; and Tariq Azmi, a systems engineer with CGF Industries.

“This group of guys (is) who I normally hang out with,” Arif says. “They’re always looking to do something.”

Boeing has told Le he has to move to Seattle. He doesn’t want to, though, so that’s part of the group’s motivation.

“They’re looking for investments and things to keep him here,” Arif says.

So far, they’re investing in downtown one floor at a time.

“Someone told us there’s a good deal at Sutton Place,” Arif says of the building at Market and William.

Real Development owns several floors there. Two floors that others own are in foreclosure.

So far, Arif and his associates have purchased the first floor of Sutton Place.

Arif says he’s in negotiations to buy the foreclosed floors as well.

Once the group has more floors, its plan is to develop residential condos there.

That’s also where Arif will move his Arif & Haeri law office.

Arif says the first floor of Sutton Place will remain office space. He’s also in negotiations for a new restaurant to move into the former Daily Grind space on that floor.

“I’m supposed to sign a lease fairly quickly.”

All About Business, a marketing and consulting firm, also is moving its office there.

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Westar Energy posts shut-off notice at Real Development’s Farmers and Bankers Building downtown

WICHITA — Real Development’s problems with maintenance issues and unhappy tenants and vendors aren’t confined to the Wichita Executive Centre.

There are also headaches for the Minnesota Guys at the Farmers and Bankers Building at 200 E. First St. and the Landmark Building at 212 N. Market. The buildings are attached.

Westar Energy put up a delinquent notice at the Farmers and Bankers Building to shut off power on Oct. 7.

“There isn’t trouble,” says partner Michael Elzufon. “If there’s a notice, I guess it’s arguably about whether or not it’s premature.”

Partner Dave Lundberg says Real Development owes $10,000 on its energy bill and Westar also is demanding $10,000 for a utility deposit.

“We have never had a shut-off of a utility of any kind at any time in any building — period,” Elzufon says.

He wonders if this is a scare tactic on Westar’s part.

“I don’t know what you call this,” he says. “It’s rather interesting that these kinds of playing the laundry out in the middle of the world (happen). It’s a little frustrating . . . to say the least.”

In an e-mail, a Westar spokeswoman said she can’t discuss private account information.

“However, we are working with this customer to remedy the situation.”

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Notice to vacate is all that’s left from a Lone Star Business Solutions dispute at the Wichita Executive Centre

WICHITA — Late last year, Have You Heard? reported that Lone Star Business Solutions would be leaving Wichita this summer.

The company was part of the Dallas-based Lone Star Funds, which in late 2006 bought the group of restaurants that Wichita’s Jamie Coulter once owned.

Lone Star Business Solutions is now gone, but there’s still a notice to vacate on the door to its former 16,000-square-foot office on the 13th floor of the Wichita Executive Centre.

That’s the Real Development property at 125 N. Market that’s gotten attention recently for air conditioning and other maintenance issues.

“Initially, there was a dispute as to the amount owed for the early termination,” says Real Development’s Michael Elzufon.

The notice says the company owed almost $55,000 for May and June rent plus interest.

“We worked through it and made the resolution,” Elzufon says. “Everybody shook hands. That’s it. We’re done.”

He says the issue was a bigger deal than it might have been because of the work his company did to renovate the space for Lone Star.

“It was a very significant investment on our part,” he says. “We were certainly . . . hoping they were a long-term tenant.”

Elzufon says the company’s move had nothing to do with issues at the building.

“It was an unfortunate setback not unlike the whole economy and a number of other fun things that have come our way in the last couple of years.”

Tax Adjustment Specialists sues Real Development over $18,000

WICHITA — The $5.6 million mortgage that “Minnesota GuysDave Lundberg and Michael Elzufon recently received helped with one headache, but hardly all of them.

“We just paid out $5 million to cure all our problems at the (Wichita) Executive Centre two weeks ago, and now we’re working on the balance of the problems,” Lundberg says.

It’s not fast enough for Wichita’s Tax Adjustment Specialists, though.

Real Development, Lundberg and Elzufon’s company, owes the group about $18,000 for help with tax appeals a couple of years ago.

Tax Adjustment Specialists helped Real Development save about $61,000 by appealing to the county to lower appraisals on a few of its buildings.

That’s not in dispute.

There’s a court date Friday, though, over a civil suit Tax Adjustment Specialists filed in Sedgwick County District Court over lack of payment.

“We were supposed to be paid at that (loan) closing, and we weren’t,” says attorney Jim McIntyre, who is representing the tax group.

“They made a promise to us that if we sort of put things in limbo (while waiting for the loan) then we would be paid in full,” McIntyre says. “That hasn’t transpired.”

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