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High Touch sues landlords over building, parking

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, April 15, 2013, at 9:51 p.m.

Wichita technology services company High Touch has filed a lawsuit against its landlord because the building and nearby parking garage have deteriorated to such an extent they have become dangerous, according to documents filed with the court.

In 2007, High Touch signed a lease for four floors of 110 S. Main from owner Main and Market Streets LLC, which is based in Chicago.

According to the suit, High Touch spent $1.8 million renovating the work areas, offices and conference rooms. The company has about 140 employees.

The landlord was to renovate the common areas and equipment, and provide 120 parking stalls in a nearby parking garage. Main and Market Streets was required by the lease agreement to bring the parking garage up to “safe and commercially usable standards.”

The cost for those upgrades was estimated at the time by Main and Market Streets to be about $350,000.

That never happened, according to the suit.

The elevators at 110 S. Main are in such disrepair, according to the suit, that “one occupied elevator recently fell many floors before the emergency stopping system halted its descent.”

In general, the elevators are “unsafe, inoperable, and continue to strand riders or deliver them to the wrong floor.” High Touch is located on the sixth through ninth floors.

The parking garage, originally built for Macy’s department store in 1966, was closed by Wichita’s Department of Central Inspection in May, which cited “severe structural problems.”

Employees now have to park in a nearby parking deck or on the street, said High Touch CEO Wayne Chambers.

Chambers declined to comment further on the dispute, except to say: “We just have some issues that we need to address, so we took this route.”

A message left for officials of Main and Market Streets LLC seeking comment was not returned Monday.

The city of Wichita sued Main and Market on Jan. 18 for failing to pay rent of $4,166 per month after July on the parking garage. It also owes $210,041 in taxes.

The city contends in its lawsuit that Main and Market Streets has an obligation to repair and maintain the garage, but allowed it to deteriorate. Structural engineers evaluated the garage in August and estimated the basic repairs at $7.9 million and demolition at $4.9 million.

The city is seeking $239,000 in back rent and $4.9 million for lost value of the property.

In its legal response to the city lawsuit, Main and Market Streets said it did not make the lease payments because the city closed the garage without just cause, depriving it of the income to pay the lease.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com

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