Laham Development is redeveloping the northeast corner of 21st and Rock Road where a BP filling station had been until a few weeks ago.
"We're building a new, 6,200-square-foot retail center that will have space for two tenants," says Cathy Erickson , Laham Development's vice president.
One tenant, the Vitamin Shoppe , is already signed.
The store will take 3,000 square feet to sell nutritional products such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, supplements, homeopathic remedies, sports nutrition formulas and health and beauty aids.
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Erickson says a deal with a second tenant is close.
Laham Development purchased the property, which is across from its Bradley Fair development on the southeast corner, in 2008.
"We're... excited about the redevelopment of that corner since it is the third-busiest intersection in the city of Wichita," Erickson says. "It hasn't been used to its highest and best purpose in the past."
The building should be ready by the end of the year.
Erickson says it will be "a very nice addition to the intersection."
Alltite and MobileCal founder Tom Smith has closed on his deal to buy a 14,000-square-foot building at 141 S. Rock Island near The Wichita Eagle .
"We've got a lot of customers and employees coming in from all over the country, and I wanted to have a neat, interesting property," Smith says. "I really like old buildings with a lot of character. It's just got the cool factor."
In January, Have You Heard? first reported Smith had a contract on the building, which was built in 1901 as a livery stable in conjunction with the adjacent Union Station .
"The neat thing about the building is there's a sliding door from the ice house next door," Smith says.
He says blocks of ice and other refrigerated goods would be loaded onto horse-drawn carriages stationed in his building and then be delivered around Wichita.
Smith currently leases space on the east side for his companies.
Alltite sells industrial bolting equipment and services to heavy industrial plants, and Smith's MobileCal is a mobile calibration lab he developed to service industrial equipment on site.
Smith plans to create a loft-style office at his new space.
"It's going to be open with exposed brick walls and high ceilings," he says. "It's going to lend itself to a very cooperative-type business environment where people are going to be able to see each other."
Picturing the finished project could be a challenge, Smith concedes.
"Right now you kind of have to have a lot of vision to see," he says.
Farha Construction will be the contractor. Kansas City-based El Dorado Inc. is the architect.
"It's the same team that did the Finn Lofts ," Smith says, referring to the loft apartments on Commerce Street.
Construction will begin in the next two or three months, and Alltite and MobileCal should move in in about a year.
"It's a historic renovation," Smith says.
That will include turn-of-the-century reproduction windows and a return to the brick building's original color.
Currently, the building is painted a mustard shade and has a somewhat folksy mural on the north side, which won't be staying.
"No," Smith says. "I think it's hideous."
The building is half a block south of Old Town and is on what Smith calls a connecting corridor to Intrust Bank Arena .
He's been working with the Wichita Downtown Development Corp. on the project and likes that his company will be part of downtown Wichita and may help showcase the city.
"It's going to be a pretty neat facility to operate from," Smith says.
Though there will be modern amenities on the inside, he says, it's the historical touches that most appeal to him.
"I just don't think that you can get any of those things in a new building out east or out west."
You don't say
"It's not like we have thousands of customers who are lining up to go see this ball of twine."
—Bill Miller of New York-based CheapOair on the company's advertising strategy for quirky vacation destination packages, including the largest ball of twine in Cawker City, because "you just don't know what somebody might be interested in"