Corporate Caterers of Wichita to take former Olive Tree Bistro banquet space

WICHITA — Since last year, Ben Arnold of Corporate Caterers of Wichita has been eyeing the former Olive Tree Bistro banquet hall at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock for expansion.

He didn’t think a deal would happen, though, because he doesn’t need the former Olive Tree and Chelsea’s restaurant space.

“It was too much space,” he says.

Now, he’s worked out an arrangement with RP Realty Partners to take just the banquet room.

RP will lease the two restaurant spaces for retail.

Late last year, Latour Management was evicted for nonpayment of rent following a feud over maintenance issues.

Antoine Toubia, the late founder of the company, first opened a restaurant there in 1987.

Arnold will sign a lease for the 13,200 square feet of banquet and kitchen space Friday.

By May 1st, following some remodeling, he’ll be ready to accept catering functions for up to 400 people.

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Doug Malone and Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons to handle leasing for Brittany, Normandie centers

dougleisaWICHITA — RP Realty Partners has hired commercial brokers Doug Malone and Leisa Lowry to handle leasing at Brittany Center at 21st and Woodlawn and Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.

The brokers, who are with J.P. Weigand & Sons, will work closely with Debbie McNeal, who manages the centers.

With Malone and Lowry focusing on leasing, they say McNeal will be able to concentrate on property management.

“‘Those two properties have really stood the test of time over the years,” Malone says.

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Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market most likely not coming to Normandie Center

WICHITA — It looks like the potential deal for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at Normandie Center is off.

Debbie McNeal of RP Realty Partners says she has no idea what’s going on with Wal-Mart, but she’s trying to find new tenants for the Star Lumber and Whole Foods spaces.

That’s “because the owners told me to go ahead.”

Whole Foods is moving to the former Gessler Drug Co. space to make room for Wal-Mart.

Gessler had planned on moving anyway, but its time line was moved up due to Wal-Mart. It’s now where AAA Kansas used to be next to Il Vicino near Douglas and Oliver.

McNeal has 32,000 square feet to lease where Whole Foods is vacating and Star Lumber used to be.

She has another 4,000 square feet where YB Meats once was. And she has some office space north of the former Star Lumber building as well.

The only certain Neighborhood Market for Wichita so far is at Central and Maize.

Gessler Drug Co. to leave Normandie and open two new stores

It looks like Wal-Mart’s possible move to Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn is forcing at least one longtime business to leave earlier than planned.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, says Hal Schwarz, president of Gessler Drug Co., who hopes to open two new stores after moving out of Normandie in August.

Schwarz was manager of Gessler when it moved to Normandie in 1965.

“It wasn’t that long ago,” he says. “I still see people I saw that first year.”

But a while back, he decided to go month-to-month on his lease instead of renewing it.

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