Panda Express to open at One Kellogg Place

WICHITA — Panda Express has chosen One Kellogg Place on East Kellogg where Wal-Mart is for its first Wichita site.

Last year, Have You Heard? reported the California-based chain of more than 1,300 restaurants wanted to come to the Wichita area.

The first Panda will be in a freestanding 2,449-square-foot building with a drive-through between Pizza Hut and IHOP.

It will be ready in the fall.

“We just like the energy that surrounds that area,” says Susan Flesher, Panda’s real estate manager.

She specifically points to the nearby traffic and daytime population.

“We just felt like that was a good first site.”

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Goddard to lose its only hardware store

WICHITA — The only hardware store in Goddard, which is the Goddard Ace Hardware, is closing.

“This is the third recession we’ve been through since we’ve owned the store,” says Mary Carpenter.

She’s owned the business for nine years.

“The businesses were very good about patronizing me,” Carpenter says of places like the schools and city government.

Goddard residents weren’t quite as faithful, she says.

“I think the people who work in town (Wichita) probably shop in town,” Carpenter says.

The store, which is at 19894 W. Kellogg, will close in early May.

Carpenter says the closure has nothing to do with the possibility of Wal-Mart coming to Goddard. As she says, it’s not a definitive deal yet.

“I’ve heard from them, but they keep saying it’s going to be a while yet,” says John Dugan, who owns land Wal-Mart has been eyeing east of Goddard and west of what would be the interchange for a proposed bypass.

Dugan is more than hopeful about Wal-Mart coming, though.

“They say it’s not if, it’s when.”

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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Panda Express to open several Wichita sites, including a possible two this year

WICHITA — Panda Express now confirms what Have You Heard? first reported was a possibility in September.

The national chain is making its first foray into the Wichita market with four to six restaurants in the next two to three years.

“We’d love to open our first one this year — two if we can,” says Susan Flesher, the chain’s senior regional real estate manager.

The company, based in Rosemead, Calif., has 1,300 sites serving Chinese food in a fast-casual style nationally.

Flesher compares Panda Express’ format to Chipotle, where diners first select a starch — steamed or fried rice or chow mein — and vegetables followed by two to three entrees.

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You don’t say

Wal-Mart is not, as I had expected, playing Christmas music. Instead, they have big-screen TVs playing in-store commercials, which mostly consist of one line of ‘Deck the Halls’ played over. And over. And over. Forget vests, those folks gonna need bright blue straitjackets.”

Karen Cravens, president of the Delano Neighborhood Association, on a recent shopping trip to Wal-Mart

You don’t say

“Doggone, we’ve been under contract many times. This one almost got away, too.”

Star Lumber’s Chris Goebel, who’s finally closed a deal on his 11.4 acres at Central and Maize, where Wal-Mart now plans a Neighborhood Market

Hartman announces more Jimmy’s Egg plans

WICHITA — Wink Hartman Sr. formally announced his bid for Congress today but still had time to talk business, too.

The seemingly always-busy Hartman is bringing another Jimmy’s Egg to Wichita and about 20 more to Houston.

First, the next Wichita restaurant.

Hartman and business partner Whitney VinZant will build their fifth Wichita Jimmy’s Egg at 47th and Broadway.

It’s not a done deal yet, but Hartman says, “Everybody’s agreed to agree.”

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Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets still on track

WICHITA — Wal-Mart’s plans to bring its Neighborhood Market concept to Wichita are still progressing, but there don’t appear to be any done deals yet.

“We’re still under contract,” says Chris Goebel of Star Lumber.

Goebel hopes to sell his property at Central and Maize where he once planned the Gaslight Creek commercial development on more than 11 acres.

“We’ve had to do some extensions,” Goebel says of the contract.

That’s because there’s “a wee little bit of an environmental issue.”

Goebel says there are leaking underground storage tanks on another site — not his — that are of concern.

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Italian Garden is moving to Old Town with a new concept; Senor Tequila is moving into former Italian Garden space

WICHITA — It was about this time in the summer of 2003 that Dino’s Italian Grille closed at 21st and Tyler and the Italian Garden moved in after leaving its Douglas and West Street space.

Now, the Italian Garden is closing and Senor Tequila is moving in.

Today is the Italian Garden’s last day in business.

“We’ve been looking for a location in . . . Old Town, basically,” says the Italian Garden’s Mike Issa.

He hasn’t found that space yet, but Senor Tequila’s Jose Cesar Ayala wanted the west-side space.

“It’s going to be a quick move, but it’s going to be a good move,” Issa says.

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Bud Gates to bring Easyhomes to Wichita


WICHITA — For the first time, Bud Gates of Easygates is bringing two of his Easyhome stores to Wichita.

He has eight others elsewhere, including stores in the Kansas City area and Salina.

The stores sell, lease or lease to own home furnishings, electronics and appliances.

The two here will be in the former KenMar shopping center at 13th and Oliver, which is now called Providence Square, and on Pawnee near Broadway in front of Wal-Mart.

The stores will be about 5,000 square feet each.

The one down south will be in a new building, which Larry Cook of Cook Construction is building. Construction has just begun.

The other store, which Coast to Coast Builders is preparing space for, should be ready within a few weeks.

“We’re very excited to be going in there because of the work they are doing and the development they are doing around that center,” says Chris Prater, president of sales and finance for Easygates.

He says the redevelopment of that center is part of what attracted Easyhome.

Prater says there are no other plans for more Easyhomes here yet, but he says, “We will most likely do some more here.”