For sale: Grain elevator

02/03/2010 12:00 AM

02/03/2010 6:03 AM

DeBruce Grain has put its grain elevators at I-135 and 25th North on the market — and a more unusual piece of industrial property in Wichita is hard to find.

The elevator, at 1400 E. 25th St. North, is 100 feet tall, more than 100 feet wide and 1,500 feet long.

Built in the 1950s and owned by several owners, the grain terminal hasn't been used since 2002 and is not operational. DeBruce doesn't want to help its competition, so the deed would include a restriction preventing it from being used as a grain elevator in the future.

So, that brings up the question: What do you do with a giant old grain elevator that can't be used?

It's a challenge, acknowledges Kris Wessel, an agent with Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial who is marketing the building.

He is primarily marketing it based on the 7.5 acres of vacant land immediately south of the elevator.

On the plus side, Wessel said, the land sits between Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks, has fabulous visibility from I-135 and is zoned for general industrial.

He isn't releasing the asking price but said DeBruce is interested in selling.

He said he has had two parties express interest in the site.

Its value will differ depending on the proposed use. It won't be marketed as housing, although a few grain elevators have been converted.

It more likely would be of interest to a scrap metal dealer, Wessel said. There are a number of scrap dealers nearby.

One scrap dealer said he'd be interested in the land if his business sat next to the site. He'd have more land and could ship by rail, which is considerably cheaper than by truck.

But Craig McCollar, assistant manager of Glickman Metal Recycling, next to the site, said he would be leery of buying it.

The elevator "is too big to ignore, and it would be quite a bit of cost to demo something like that."

How much? Darren Bradburn, owner of Bradburn Wrecking, said he was asked by DeBruce a couple of years ago to estimate the cost of demolishing the grain elevator. DeBruce never acted on it, he said.

It would take about $2 million, Bradburn said, and could be taken down all at once with explosives or over eight months with a wrecking ball.

He would crush the concrete on site into gravel and haul it away.

"It would be an empty field again," he said.

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