Tony Utter takes over Executive Centre leasing

03/01/2013 6:52 AM

03/01/2013 6:52 AM

Some of Tony Utter’s fellow commercial brokers have had a recurring question for him since learning he’s taken over the listing for Real Development’s Wichita Executive Centre:

“Basically, was I out of my mind?”

Utter, who owns Utter Commercial Real Estate , acknowledges financial and other issues the Minnesota Guys and the building at 125 N. Market have faced in recent years.

“It’s been a topic of conversation quite a bit lately,” he says.

Calvin Klaassen , who works with Utter, will be helping him with the leasing.

“We did a lot of research before we agreed to it,” Utter says. “It was only after we were satisfied and reached … a high comfort level that we agreed to do this.”

Maintenance and other issues at the building aren’t all that had Utter concerned.

“We wanted to be very careful, very cautious before we agreed to take on a building of this size,” he says.

The 19-story, more-than-300,000-square-foot building has about 80,000 vacant square feet of office space and about 100,000 vacant square feet of former hotel space. Utter says it’s the second-tallest office building in the state next to the neighboring Epic Center .

“This is the most complicated office building that I’ve ever been involved with,” Utter says. “It has a long history in Wichita.”

He’s had some history there already himself.

Utter was the leasing agent for the building for eight months before Real Development purchased it in 2007.

“So I’m back,” he says.

There are a few reasons Utter agreed to get involved.

No. 1, he is confident that his firm and any vendors will get paid.

“The good thing is that the lender is heavily involved,” Utter says of Security National Capital of Salt Lake City.

“We’re expecting a lot of assistance from other real estate brokers, and they want assurances that they’re going to be paid,” Utter says. “We depend heavily on working with other brokers. We consider them as part of our team.”

No. 2, Delton Sandefer and Essential Property Management are managing the property.

Utter says Sandefer successfully maintained it before Real Development bought it and then returned to help resolve a string of maintenance issues, such as heating and cooling problems and a lack of elevator repairs.

“When I heard that he was involved in the management and the maintenance of that building, that made a big difference to us,” Utter says. “If Delton wasn’t involved, we wouldn’t have accepted the listing.”

Utter says he knows he and Klaassen have their work cut out for them “overcoming the bad publicity with respect to the HVAC and the elevators.”

Though Real Development still owns the building, Utter says, “They’re taking a much smaller role in this.”

Utter says he’s also taken over leasing for the O’Rourke Title Building at 229 E. William.

“The O’Rourke Title Building is a historic building,” Utter says.

The building opened in 1924. It has a 60-percent occupancy rate.

The Executive Centre opened in 1964.

“It used to be the premier office building downtown,” Utter says. “It was the place to be.”

It was home to the Wichita Club and the Wichita Royale Hotel .

One of the Executive Centre’s biggest challenges will be filling the former hotel space, which Utter says the Minnesota Guys hope to do with another hotel.

“It would be a significant achievement and a huge asset for Wichita if it happens.”

You don’t say

“If it was any kind of confusion, they would have never gave us that name.”

David Foster , who says he wouldn’t have been able to get a permit for his new Waterfront Cafe and Catering near I-235 and Seneca if it would be confused with the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb Road

Carrie Rengers first reported these items on her blog. Be among the first to get her business scoops at blogs.kansas.com/haveyouheard.

About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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