The new year is starting off well for Steve Robl of Robl Construction , and it may bode well for others, too.
"I see just a general better attitude in real estate," Robl says.
There are three new tenants for his Barrington Place on 21st Street west of Ridge Road, which is where Red Bean's Bayou Grill and Jason's Deli are.
Sunflower Title is taking 1,800 square feet. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is taking 1,400 square feet. And Advantage Partners , a real estate company, is taking 1,600 square feet.
"It creates a fantastic synergy having us three... next to each other," says Advantage owner and broker Eric Henderson . "It's just a fantastic opportunity."
He says that area has a prime housing market, too.
"It's such a great time to buy, which is one of the reasons we're moving to that west-side location," Henderson says. "As far as visibility, it just makes sense for us."
Advantage will open there in early April and also keep its space at Office This at 4031 E. Harry.
Wells Fargo will open at Barrington Place next month.
"We will be expanding more," says Chad Laipple , branch manager for the state of Kansas.
Sunflower Title is in a huge expansion mode.
Barrington Place will be the company's seventh site within the past year. An eighth is almost complete at the Waterfront at 13th and Webb.
"We've got more expansion in mind," says president Richard Schodorf . "We're all about convenience."
He says Robl is a friend of his and also built two of his houses.
"It was just a natural fit," Schodorf says. "I've always been a fan of Steve's."
He says the site makes sense, too.
"The northwest is a booming area."
Now may seem like a tricky time for a title company to expand, but Schodorf is confident.
"Everybody knows the business will come back," he says.
Also, he says, "Every business relies on its employees, and there's no better time to find some of the most wonderful, qualified employees... than when the unemployment is high."
Commercial brokering isn't all that's working for Robl. His main business is selling houses.
"We've written about 15 contracts since the first of the year, which is really good," he says.
"There's some uptick. January is not a historically good month for houses, especially when you have the weather that we've had. But I've been real pleased."
So does it give him hope for the rest of the year?
"It gives us a start."
On second thought
Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas loves her Clifton Wine and Jazz bar, which she opened in May, but she doesn't love having a day job and a night one, too.
"I just can't physically do it," she says.
So she's looking for someone to buy or lease the business at her development at 3700 E. Douglas.
"I don't want to see it go away," Zakas says.
The business is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, but Zakas says it needs to extend its hours.
She thinks it's a great opportunity for someone.
"Well, where else are you going to find a growing business that is... doing well, and you don't have to start from scratch?" Zakas says.
"There's not a more cost-effective way to get in business than that. I wish someone had done that for me."
You don't say
"I can agree with Carl or disagree with Carl and you can all make your own mind up on which Carl."
—Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce chairman Sam Williams , speaking after Mayor Carl Brewer and Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Karl Peterjohn Thursday at the chamber's Chairman's Lunch