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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”