You don’t say

“It was a nice little theater, but in this day and age, a couple of screens just doesn’t work.”

– Theater owner Bill Warren, responding to a customer’s request to save the city’s first multiple-screen cinema, which is about to be demolished at Twin Lakes

Demolition work under way at Twin Lakes in preparation for possible development

WICHITA — In preparation for possible new development, there’s demolition work under way at Twin Lakes, the shopping center at 21st and Amidon that once was Wichita’s premier retail destination.

“The owners are demolishing two portions of the property to clear ground for a new development, but they don’t know what that new development is going to be,” says Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, which manages the property.

The Colorado-based owners “thought it would be better to demolish portions of the center that were obsolete.”

Saville says a couple of areas of the center have been difficult to rent in recent years. That includes the former Sears automotive center on the south side of the property. Saville says the owners are considering doing a multifamily residential development there.

The former cinema at the center, which last was home to Aaron’s, also is being demolished. Saville says that area, which is on the west side of the property along Amidon, could potentially be used for a freestanding retail outlet.

We’ll let you know what happens.

Second Sedgwick County drivers license bureau to open in Bristol Square in Derby

WICHITA — The state has decided on a second drivers license bureau for Sedgwick County. As many had hoped, it will be in Derby.

“It is the first time that Sedgwick County will have had more than one drivers licensing bureau … in a decade,” says spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda.

The bureau will be in 4,500 square feet at the Bristol Square shopping center at Madison and Rock Road.

The last time the county had a second bureau, it was in the Parklane Shopping Center at Lincoln and Oliver. Koranda says she’s not sure why that one closed.

“I can’t speak to that because it was a prior administration,” she says. “Since then, there’s only been one.”

Koranda says the new bureau will open this fall to accommodate a growing population, particularly in that area.

The state is adding staff for that office and for the bureau in Andover, which Koranda says is another growing area.

The new Derby bureau will be similar to the existing one at the Twin Lakes shopping center and handle new licenses and renewals, driver testing and concealed-carry licenses.

Bradley Tidemann with J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal for the Bristol Square space.

Neighbor’s Restaurant & Bar owner Chuck Giles to reopen Brints Diner

Chuck Giles and Connie Schrader, who are reopening Brints Diner.

WICHITA — Chuck Giles has the happy luck of fulfilling a longtime dream while making some Wichitans very happy in the process.

Giles, who owns Neighbor’s Restaurant & Bar in Twin Lakes, is reopening Brints Diner.

“People are just freaking out because it was closed,” Giles says. “I’ve always wanted a little diner.”

He and his girlfriend, Connie Schrader, are opening the business within the next two weeks.

The more than 50-year-old Brints, which is near the northeast corner of Lincoln and Oliver, closed in October. Former owner Jessie Medina said construction in the area was to blame.

Giles has owned Neighbor’s at 21st and Amidon for more than 10 years and worked at Stroud’s for 10 years before that, first as kitchen manager and then as general manager.

“There’s just really not a lot of old restaurants left in Wichita,” he says.

That’s why he says he was interested in Brints.

“I just think the history of the place is worth something.”

The restaurant, which seats 64, is one of the city’s few remaining Valentine buildings – metal, mobile diners that Wichita’s Valentine Manufacturing built between 1938 and 1971.

“I was told there’s 13 in the country that are still operating,” Giles says.

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After more than two decades at Twin Lakes, Fashion Bug to leave by late January

WICHITA — After more than two decades at the Twin Lakes shopping center, Fashion Bug is preparing to close, though it’s not happening just yet.

“We don’t have a close date yet,” says store manager Lindsey Constable.

She says the store will continue to receive new items through the end of this month.

Sales of as much as 60 percent off are under way.

Constable says when Ascena Retail Group bought Charming Shoppes earlier this year, it decided to close the Fashion Bug chain.

Ascena also owns Maurices, Dress Barn and Justice, which are not going out of business.

Although Constable can’t say for certain when Fashion Bug will close, she says it won’t remain in business past the end of January.

NuWay to return to 21st and Amidon area

WICHITA — It’s been a long time coming, but NuWay finally is returning to the 21st and Amidon area.

The restaurant is going to open west of the intersection at 2135 W. 21st St., which will make the sixth NuWay in Wichita for the 82-year-old chain.

The Lotus Garden had been in that spot for 25 years. It was torn down earlier this week.

“We’ve been trying to open this thing for a year and a half,” says Chris Stong, director of operations.

It was about two decades ago that the NuWay closed at Twin Lakes on the southeast corner of the intersection.

“It was an absolutely fantastic location,” Stong says.

Then, occupancy faltered at the development, he says, and the restaurant left. Stong says he and his family have long wanted to open a new restaurant in the area.

“We think the neighborhood is fantastic,” he says. “Obviously, with everything else going on in the area, it’s a great location.”

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Wal-Mart is close to final Neighborhood Market deals at 21st and Amidon, 13th and Oliver and possibly 31st South and Seneca

WICHITA — Some Wichita investors have the Marina Lakes shopping center under contract on the southwest corner of 21st and Amidon, which is directly across from Twin Lakes.

Those investors in turn have a contract with Wal-Mart for the chain to put one of its Neighborhood Markets in part of the space.

The market, which is a small grocery concept, would go on the north end of the center.

This doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal, though.

First, the investors have to close on the property. The earliest that will happen is the first part of 2011.

Only then can the Wal-Mart deal be completed.

Wal-Mart has already closed deals for three other markets — at Central and Maize, Central and West and Harry and Webb — and there’s a good chance this deal could close as well.

However, as is the case with any deal like this, especially in this economy, nothing’s for sure until the deal is truly done.

Wal-Mart also has a contract to go to 13th and Oliver at Providence Square, though there are some hurdles yet to go.

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Bionic Burger to open a third restaurant

WICHITA — Bionic Burger is going to open its third Wichita restaurant in April.

The chain has signed an almost 10-year sublease for the former Long John Silver’s space at 6121 E. 21st St.

Bionic Burger also has restaurants at 660 N. Ridge Road and 2404 S. Meridian.

Raquel Chavez, daughter of Bionic Burger co-founder Steve Majors, says the space near 21st and Woodlawn is ideal, especially since it’s so close to Wichita State University.

In addition to dine-in seating, the restaurant will have a drive-through.

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Marie’s Bakery for Calorie Counters to open at Twin Lakes

WICHITA — The idea of a bakery serving almost exclusively healthy food might seem like a contradiction, but Lola Hunt says it’s possible.

She’s opening Marie’s Bakery for Calorie Counters next month in Twin Lakes at 21st and Amidon.

“What I’m trying to focus on is healthy eating,” Hunt says.

She says she’ll still have tasty pies, cakes and cookies, but she’ll find substitutions for eggs and sugar or else use smaller amounts when baking.

A dietitian is consulting on her menu.

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Whole Foods is heading to Clear Lakes Shopping Center

WICHITA — Last month, Have You Heard? reported that Whole Foods likely was moving from Twin Lakes to Clear Lakes Shopping Center at 2315 W. 21st Street.

It’s now a done deal.

The Twin Lakes lease is up at the end of this month.

The addition of Whole Foods at Clear Lakes brings that center to 100 percent occupancy.

Scott Harper of Landmark Commercial Real Estate represented Whole Foods in the deal, and Landmark’s Austin Kinzle represented Clear Lakes.