Noah’s Event Venue to open at Waterfront

UPDATED — Most people are familiar with the Waterfront’s lake at the northeast corner of 13th and Webb, where several restaurants have patios overlooking it.

 

David Leyh, left, and Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled a deal for the national Noah's Event Venue to locate at the east lake at the Waterfront development.

David Leyh, left, and Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled a deal for the national Noah’s Event Venue to locate at the east lake at the Waterfront development.

There’s also another lake on the east side of the property, though, and the development has now landed its first tenant to overlook it.

Noah’s Event Venue, a national chain of event spaces, will open in a new, almost 10,000-square-foot building next summer.

“Noah’s is a good, fast-growing event company, and we’re lucky to have them in Wichita,” says the Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II.

“Wichita lacks this kind of quality events space,” he says. “This one obviously will have a good location as well as a backdrop of one of the lakes at the Waterfront. It’s pretty cool.”

Utah businessman Bil Bowser started Noah Corp. in 2003 and opened the first Noah’s in 2007.

“He just wanted a place for people to gather,” says Kirsten Hertz, director of hiring for Noah’s. “He couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a place where you could just rent space that was user friendly and had good customer service and was very simple.”

After experimenting with a couple of types of buildings, Hertz says the company settled on classic-looking model.

“We wanted to just be a very classic, timeless, kind of high-end venue for a very reasonable price.”

With a neutral template, Hertz says it allows the venue to be versatile for business meetings in the day and parties at night.

noahs5“We really do all different types of events,” she says. “It’s very customizable.”

The main hall is the largest space and, depending on the configuration, can hold up to 350 people. It also has an outdoor patio overlooking the lake.

There are hardwood floors, a catering kitchen and a moveable stage that rises out of the floor. The ceiling lowers for easy decorating.

Tables, chairs, linens and audio-visual equipment are provided, but guests have to bring in their own food and decorations.

noahs3“Everybody’s food and beverage needs are so different,” Hertz says.

There are other rooms, such as a small conference room and a boardroom with a long table and large leather couches. That room also has a ping pong table, a pool table and shuffleboard so companies using the space for training and other work can take breaks.

“It’s a very comfortable room,” Hertz says. “It’s just a really fun space.”

Guests can rent the entire venue or a small part of it. Hertz says that could be for meetings for as few as two people.

“This is kind of a step up from, ‘Hey, let’s just meet at Starbucks.’”

There are sliding doors that allow rooms to open to each other.

“They’re really nice looking,” Hertz says. “All of the rooms are very versatile.”

There are eight Noah’s venues open nationally and eight under construction.

“Noah’s is a company that’s very focused on why we are all in this industry and why these buildings even exist,” Hertz says. “We sincerely care about each customer and the experience that people have at Noah.”

She says there aren’t other chains similar to Noah’s on a national level.

“From a business perspective, (Bil Bowser) was shocked that this wasn’t a common thing,” Hertz says. “We want people to develop a confidence in the brand of Noah and know what to expect.”

Craig Simon and David Leyh of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal at the Waterfront.

“It’s just a great thing for Wichita,” Simon says.

noahs2“We have a shortage … of venues like that,” he says. “I think we’re going to find some real value as a community to have this.”

To the east of the Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Waterfront, Viega has property to build its headquarters. To the east of that is the lake and where Noah’s will go.

Clark says the hotel is “actually another convenience factor” for Noah’s.

Noah’s is purchasing 2.3 acres, which leaves about 2.5 acres on the south side of that lake.

“It’s going to be a beautiful venue,” Simon says. “That whole development is such a nice development anyway.”

Bob Baker assumes presidency of Clark Investment Group; Steve Clark remains as chairman

WICHITA – Bob Baker is the new president of Clark Investment Group, but that doesn’t mean former president Steve Clark is going anywhere. He’s still chairman of the board of the real estate and investment firm.

“We need to start looking ahead,” says Clark, who is 71. “There’s still a role for me to play, but I need to be mindful if something happens to me.”

Clark says he wants “to have strong leadership in place.”

“They need to be able to operate without me, but I intend to contribute,” he says.

“Bob is a very hard working, very smart guy. He’s earned the right to move up and lead our company.”

Clark’s father, Layman, started the company in the 1950s. Clark began working there while he was in college in the 1960s.

“He mentored me and got me started in real estate investments,” Clark says.

He’s since expanded the company considerably. About 85 percent of the company’s focus is on real estate.

“We’re also entrepreneurial in terms of investing.”

Clark’s son, Stephen Clark II, also works at the company, but his father says he’s a little young to take over.

“There’s nothing like experience, and he’s getting some good experience now,” Clark says. “If he continues to grow, his time will come.”

Waterfront development to get new office park; Whole Foods to break ground in July

The nine lots on the lower right of this aerial map show where the newest development at the Waterfront will go.

WICHITA — Another new area of development is coming to the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road.

“We’ve got a small office park going in east of Bonefish,” says Stephen Clark II.

There will be up to nine lots on eight acres.

“It’s all office use,” Clark says.

Primarily, those offices will be medical, but there will be some service-type offices as well, such as financial services.

The lots are for sale, and the buyers will be the builders, though each building will be in what Clark calls the upscale Waterfront style.

“We have one so far and are talking to others,” Clark says of buyers.

He says the first deal will be announced in August.

Construction will start next week.

There’s still room for retail between Bonefish Grill and the new office park, but that will come later, Clark says.

There are several other areas in development at the Waterfront.

Planning is still underway for a new Class A, high-end apartment complex across the lake from Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Waterfront. Clark says schematics are now complete.

Also, the new 5,000-square-foot home for his father’s Clark Investment Group should be ready in two months.

The company currently is in 2,500 square feet near 13th and Rock Road in the Polo Club Office Park. The new office is off of Webb Road and across from Ciao Italian Kitchen on the Waterfront’s lake.

Over at Waterfront Plaza, which is on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road, construction is close to starting on the new Whole Foods grocery that will anchor the development.

“That starts in one month,” Clark says.

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Former Wichitans Dennis Thompson and Doug Glendenning to bring Firebirds Wood Fired Grill to the Waterfront

The Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II stands in front of the future home of Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

WICHITA — A visit home to his native Wichita is what’s leading Lone Star Steakhouse founder Dennis Thompson to bring his latest restaurant concept to the Waterfront.

Thompson and former Wichitan Doug Glendenning and a private New York equity firm own 23 Firebirds Wood Fired Grills and have six more under construction.

Thompson, who founded the company in 2000 in Charlotte, N.C., planned to go to Oklahoma City and Tulsa next but changed his mind.

“I happened to be in Wichita for a class reunion,” he says.

While here, Thompson toured the former Brooks Brothers store at the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb Road.

The 7,650-square-foot space is on the corner of the retail section of the Waterfront and is known for its decorative domed roof.

“It’s the most prominent spot in the retail center,” says the Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II.

Glendenning, the former president of Lone Star, calls the Waterfront “one of the best areas in the greater Wichita area for sure.”

“I used to live just a couple of blocks from there, so I know that area very well,” he says.

Glendenning is a founder of Firebirds, too, but he says Thompson really created it.

Thompson’s Aspen home inspired what initially was a Colorado lodge theme.

“Over time … it’s evolved,” Glendenning says. “It’s a lot less Colorado feel and more just kind of upscale casual.”

Thompson says he wanted to start a concept that was more upscale than an Outback or similar restaurants but not quite as high end as a Morton’s or a Ruth’s Chris.

“The theme is based around steaks, but we’re not perceived necessarily as a steakhouse,” Thompson says.

There are lots of wood-fired dishes, many of which have a southwestern flair.

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Waterfront to be home to new Class A luxury apartment village

WICHITA — There’s another new phase of development coming to the Waterfront at the northeast corner of 13th and Webb Road.

Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are planning a Class A apartment complex with up to 300 units.

“It will be unlike anything Wichita has,” says Stephen Clark II, who is handling the development. “It’ll be a big deal.”

The complex will be across the lake from Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Waterfront.

Stephen Clark describes the complex as a gated village with some conventional attached units and some detached units, such as luxury duplexes.

There also will be some furnished corporate units.

“Wichita doesn’t have any Class A apartments,” Clark says.

There will be granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, covered parking and private garages, a pool, a wine cellar, a putting green and a clubhouse with a chef’s kitchen.

“It will match the Waterfront’s design criteria on the exterior,” Clark says.

That includes brick, stone and stucco.

Clark also recently announced the new Waterfront Plaza on the northwest corner, which Whole Foods Market will anchor, and a new 4.3 acre mixed-use development within the Waterfront on the northeast corner.

He says the apartments will be a good addition to the mix.

“They’re just going to be on a whole other level.”

 

You don’t say

“It’s a sad day because Wichitans have nowhere to celebrate it. Don’t you think?”

– An e-mail from Stephen Clark II, who helped land Whole Foods, about National Cheesecake Day Monday (yes, he’s working on getting Cheesecake Factory, too, but calls it a long shot)

Whole Foods Market to open in Wichita at the new Waterfront Plaza

UPDATED — A new phase of the Waterfront development will be the home of Whole Foods Market when it arrives in Wichita next year.

“It’s very big for us,” said Stephen Clark II, who is managing the project, of landing the organic and natural food chain.

“It could be beneficial for the whole market,” Clark said. He said retailers such as Whole Foods Market and the new Cabela’s that entered the market earlier this year attract other big names.

“The more of that you can get, the more interest there is from others.”

Clark’s father, Steve Clark, and fellow Waterfront developer Johnny Stevens are building a new 70,000-square-foot retail center called Waterfront Plaza on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road, which Stephen Clark says is part of the larger Waterfront development on the northeast corner.

Whole Foods will anchor the development with a 30,000-square-foot store that Clark said will open in November 2013.

“We just feel that it’s really going to pair well with the community,” said Ben Friedland, executive marketing coordinator of the Rocky Mountain region for Whole Foods Market.

“One of the things that we’re most excited about is we’re a very decentralized organization, which allows us to build stores that are very specific to the communities in which they live,” he said. He said the chain partners with local producers who meet Whole Foods Market standards to sell their items so the store is “going to be endemic to the community, and it’s going to take on its local flair and its local flavor.”

“We’re just really excited about the abundance of local products available.”

Friedland said the Austin-based chain, which has 325 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, has been looking at Wichita for a couple of years.

“It’s another feather in the cap of Wichita for bringing the big names that wouldn’t touch us two to five years ago,” said Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate. “It’s the domino effect. You bring one or two here, and the rest think, geez, maybe we should be here.”

Piros is handling leasing at the remaining 40,000 square feet at Waterfront Plaza in addition to retail and office leasing within the larger Waterfront area east of Webb Road. That includes a new 4.3 acre area under development north of Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar where two new office buildings are slated to be under construction soon.

Piros said he’s close on a few potential Waterfront Plaza tenants. Clark said landing Whole Foods helps.

“People want to be next to Whole Foods, and we expect a lot more activity out there.”

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Clark Investment Group to build new 5,500-square-foot office at the Waterfront

WICHITA — There’s a more personal element to the new 4.3 acre development that developers Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are bringing to the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road.

In addition to the new 2-story office building that will be between Andover State Bank and Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar, along with a new restaurant pad site just north of Chester’s, Clark is building a new office for himself.

His Clark Investment Group headquarters currently is in 2,500 square feet near 13th and Rock Road in the Polo Club Office Park, which Clark and Stevens built in 1990.

“We’ve been here a long time,” Clark says. “Our space is not adequate for us these days.”

His new office will be a 5,500-square-foot, single-story building that will be north of where the new 2-story building will be.

“It’ll have a nice patio in the back that kind of runs right up to the lake,” says Clark’s son, Stephen Clark II, who is managing the development of the 4.3 acres.

Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture designed the building along with the 24,000-square-foot 2-story building.

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Waterfront developers to break ground on 4.3 acre development, including 2-story Class A office space and possible restaurant

WICHITA — Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are preparing to develop another 4.3 acres at their Waterfront development at 13th and Webb.

The chief part of the project is a 24,000-square-foot, 2-story office building that will be between Andover State Bank and Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar.

“There are some people looking for space right now that want an unusual location,” Clark says. “There are a couple of major tenants.”

Clark’s son, Stephen Clark II, is managing the project, and he says those potential tenants – there are no signed deals yet – are the reason Clark and Stevens are looking to do the office building.

“There is some interest in the market that’s kind of sparked up recently,” Stephen Clark says. “People have been waiting so long to do something because of the economy.”

He says the economy isn’t necessarily that much better, but businesses can’t wait any longer.

“Some people are outgrowing their space or need to upgrade their space,” Stephen Clark says.

He says the existing office space at the Waterfront is full and that there has not been much new Class A office space that’s been built in Wichita in recent years. He says business owners “want a location that’s going to last many years, and I think we’ve established the Waterfront is that kind of location.”

“It costs the same to build the building somewhere else. You’re going to get better long-term residual value in a place like the Waterfront.”

Stephen Clark says the building will have “incredible identity from Webb Road.”

“It’s very visible from Webb Road, but it also enjoys the lake in the rear.”

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