Security National Life Insurance Co. executives unveiled the changes they have made to a portion of the 19-story 125 N. Market building to a group of brokers on Tuesday, part of the effort to attract more office tenants.
The changes included gutting more than 7,000 square feet of the 17th floor’s 16,000 square feet and remodeling it into two spec office suites, one designed as a traditional office suite with lots of walls, the other with a more airy feel, using lots of glass and natural light and partially exposed ceilings.
“I’m very impressed,” said Carl Hebert of InSite Real Estate. “I think they are building confidence within the marketplace.”
The remodeled office suites are part of Security National’s previously announced plans to put $5 million into the building that the Salt Lake City-based company took over last year from Minnesota developers Michael Elzufon and Dave Lundberg of Real Development. Security National was the building’s primary creditor on a $5.6 million bridge loan it made to Real Development in 2011.
“We feel pretty good now that the vision of the building is being implemented into the structure,” said Bryce Baker, Security National’s managing director of corporate real estate.
The spec office suites are just part of the changes Security National has made to the building formerly known as Wichita Executive Centre. Baker said he expects upgrades to the control systems of one of four passenger elevators in the building to be completed this month, with the others finished by October. In addition to renovations of the 17th-floor lobby, restrooms and hallways, similar work has been done on floors 11, 12 and 14.
Security National also has repaired and replaced exterior materials covering the skywalk connecting 125 N. Market to Exchange Place across the street, and it has begun roof repairs to the building. In the next week or so, Baker said, workers will begin repairing the skyscraper’s attached parking garage, which will include new lighting, paint and concrete patching.
Sky Contracting of Wichita is the general contractor on the garage and building refinishes.
Baker said about 25 brokers had been invited to Tuesday’s two-hour open house, which included a catered lunch. All but two brokers replied that they would attend, he said. “The two who aren’t able to be here have toured clients through here in the past 30 days,” Baker said.
He said Security National hasn’t secured any new office leases for the building. But “we’ve got proposals out for tenants now,” Baker said. “We have a couple we’re pretty excited about.”
He said 40 percent of the building’s office space is currently leased.
Within minutes of getting off the elevator, Kristin Stang of J.P. Weigand & Sons was looking up and down at the new office suites, asking if she could have one of her clients come over to see the building.
“It’s definitely an improvement,” said Jeff Englert of NAI Martens. “It has the feeling of a different building.”
Englert’s colleague at Martens, Patrick Ahern, is the leasing agent for the building.
Craig Simon, an associate broker at Landmark Commercial Real Estate, knows the building well. He once was leasing agent for Real Development, the building’s previous owner.
“I think they are doing all the right things,” Simon said of Security National’s improvements to 125 N. Market.