Candela event space to open at the Lux

UPDATED — The Tallgrass Film Festival used some of the Lux’s first-floor space at this and last year’s festivals, and now a couple of those areas are going to officially open to the public as event space.

Candela is the name for two areas that will be available to rent for parties, business meetings and other events at the Lux, which is at the northwest corner of First and Market.

There’s an auditorium that seats 200 and a hospitality room that has a stage and seats 80.

“It’s all original construction (and) architecture,” says Jeremy Luginbill of Lifeboat Creative. “We’re working to enhance the space.”

He says developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey are having the rooms repainted and refurbished, but otherwise the spaces retain the midcentury modern feel of the 1953 building, which the Kansas Gas and Electric Co. built.

“KGE used to do presentations in the hospitality room of their gas ranges and other things,” Luginbill says.

He says there are about 300 lights in the auditorium in different tones.

“It’s just a unique lighting situation.”

Luginbill says that inspired the name Candela, which is a base unit of luminous intensity.

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Lux developers begin residential leasing

UPDATED — Almost two years to the day that Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey announced their Lux development, the first residential users will begin moving into the building at the northwest corner of First and Market.

“This building is going to be amazing, and this is just the beginning of something special downtown,” says Jeremy Luginbill of Lifeboat Creative.

Leasing starts today for apartments on the third floor – the first residential available at the building – which will be ready Oct. 1.

“We’re going to have pretty much a smattering of all the different units,” Luginbill says.

That includes units with one and two bedrooms, which start at about $1,000 and $1,150. respectively. The Lux’s only three-bedroom unit will be on that floor as well. It will be almost 1,900 square feet and go for more than $2,000.

Options also include the Essential units, which are streamlined units of about 500 square feet. Those units start at about $650.

All of the initial available units are apartments.

“We will not be doing condos at this point,” Luginbill says.

He says the developers have been “meeting some challenges through the process” because of their commitment to meeting LEED standards.

“We’re just trying to make sure they’re done right rather than just quickly,” Luginbill says.

He says Eyster and Ramsey could settle for silver or bronze LEED levels, but he says that’s not good enough.

“Making sure that we meet gold … is what our goal is.”

The third floor will have a green roof. Luginbill says from his research, this will be the first green roof in downtown Wichita.

“It’s going to be a self-sustaining roof,” he says.

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Lux to include the Essential residential unit

WICHITA — What’s essential to one downtown dweller isn’t necessarily the same to another, so Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey are trying to appeal to all tastes in their new Lux development at First and Market.

One residential component in the mix will be the Essential, which Jeremy Luginbill of Lifeboat Creative describes as an option for simplified living.

“This is the essential unit, and basically it is all about streamlined living – living in its simplest form,” he says.

The units will be around 500 square feet. Each will have a small area for dining; a lounging area with room for a couch, coffee table and TV; and a full bathroom on the main floor. There will be a loft area for a bed and possibly a chair along with closet space.

“It gives you really everything you need without excess,” Luginbill says. “But yet you’ve got so much more because you’re going to be in the Lux.”

Amenities are still being finalized, but there will be rooftop decks, a workout center and common areas for entertaining larger groups.

“There’s kind of like this club lifestyle that you get along with it that enhances that simplistic living style,” Luginbill says.

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Cow & Sow Deli and mini grocery coming to the Renfro apartments downtown

WICHITA — Renfro residents, along with other downtown dwellers and workers, soon will have a taste of country cooking from Conway Springs.

Tracey Coln and Teresa Gerber now live in Wichita, but Coln describes herself and Gerber as “just the country girls . . . trying to bring some country cooking into the city.”

They’re opening the Cow & Sow Deli next month at the new apartment building at 612 E. Douglas.

Coln’s mother grew up on a dairy farm in Viola, which is Coln’s inspiration for desserts and side dishes with lots of cream and butter — thus the “cow.”

Gerber grew up on a farm outside of Conway Springs, which is where she learned her family’s recipe for German sausage — thus the “sow.”

“We were being silly,” Coln says of trying to come up with a name.

Joking about the Cow & Sow “caught on, and everybody loved it,” Coln says.

Coln, who owns Heartfelt Memories photography studio, and Gerber, who recently left Cessna Aircraft, grew up together in Conway Springs.

“We were best friends,” Coln says.

Gerber’s departure from Cessna is what’s leading the two to open the deli, which will specialize in take-and-bake sausage, sandwiches, side dishes and a salad bar that Coln calls “something fresh and unique and not just a basic salad bar.”

They’re also going to carry some grocery items, such as milk, eggs, toilet paper and toothpaste as a convenience to residents.

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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.

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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

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.

 

Trove Total Body Studio to move to Renfro

WICHITA — A year after opening at the Finn Lofts, Janelle Robertson has decided to move her Trove Total Body Studio to the new Renfro at 612 E. Douglas.

“I am on the move,” she says.

Robertson is the first commercial tenant in the building, and she’s taking one of the live-work spaces but will use both areas for her business instead of living there.

Developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey, in collaboration with Farha Construction, recently finished converting the former Victoria Park Apartments into the Renfro.

The building, which is named for a hotel that was once there, has 20 apartments, including several live-work units.

Robertson says she thinks her expanded space at the Renfro will be ideal.

“Just the configuration for me and what I’ve been doing here so far just fit better,” she says.

Trove offers facials, massage, chemical peels, body treatments and micro dermabrasion.

“Really just about everything you’d want in a spa,” Robertson says.

On the second floor of her studio — what typically would be the bedroom in the live-work arrangement — Robertson will have massages and facials.

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Renfro apartments ready to debut

UPDATED — There will be more than art on display downtown for the Oct. 26 Final Friday.

Developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey, in collaboration with Farha Construction, also are introducing their new Renfro apartments, including some gallery space in the first floor hallway of the historic building.

The property was built at 612 E. Douglas in 1908 and once was home to the Renfro hotel. Most recently, it was Victoria Park Apartments.

“It’s a building that needed a lot of love,” Ramsey says.

He applied for the building to be on the National Register of Historic Places and was able to use historic tax credits in renovating it.

“We love being part of giving a building another 100 years of life,” says contractor Ted Farha. “There’s something pretty special about that.

“When it comes to sustainability or green building, really, I don’t think there’s anything greener than taking an existing building and bringing it up to date.”

There are 20 units, including a few live-work units with metal spiral staircases between the work and living spaces. There also are two commercial spaces in the front of the building. Those spaces are still available. Four of the apartments, including one live-work space, are leased.

There are unique touches throughout the building, such as original ceiling tins in some apartments, a garage door in one back unit and glass brick where another garage door once was.

Ramsey says he, Eyster and Farha Construction incorporated a lot of what they learned from renovating the Zelman Lofts building just down the street.

“The things that worked we tried to keep,” he says.

That includes open areas and ambient light.

“People will put up with smaller living space if we give them lots of storage, lots of shared light, lots of open area … and we give them nice kitchens and nice bathrooms.”

They found substantial savings by having Farha build cabinets in each of the units instead of buying them.

There are further savings for renters with high efficiency heating and air and LED lighting.

“We employed all the current technology that’s available to make this building as green as possible without going through . . . all the LEED Certification stuff,” Farha says. “It’s really satisfying to be able to do that. To create great living spaces for people.”

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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.

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