Wichita’s next major retail development has landed its first three stores.
Greenwich Place, the 106-acre development at K-96 and Greenwich that will be home to the newly announced Wichita Sports Forum, will have three concepts owned by New Jersey-based Bed Bath & Beyond.
Bed Bath & Beyond is taking 38,000 square feet, World Market is taking 17,000 square feet, and Buy Buy Baby is taking 15,000 square feet.
“We have great anchors to start the project,” says Christian Ablah, one of the partners in Greenwich Place and the spokesman for the retail development there.
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Buy Buy Baby, which sells a variety of products for infants and toddlers, is new to the market.
Bed Bath & Beyond will be leaving Bradley Fair, and World Market is making a short jaunt across the street from its current home at Regency Lakes.
“There was a desire to put all three stores together,” Ablah says.
The stores will open in early 2016.
“As we developed Regency Lakes, we have seen in the market that big box retailers want to consolidate their concepts into one location,” says Amy Liebau, a spokeswoman for Laham Development, the Regency Lakes developer.
Ablah says there are several things spurring the growth in the greater K-96 and Greenwich area, including momentum from Regency Lakes tenant Cabela’s, which opened in 2012.
“That is what has helped this intersection blow up.”
He says new traffic lights are “just a great amenity” and the widening of Greenwich “helps the whole area.”
There is $122 million in sales tax and revenue bonds that are going to improve the area, including a recently completed new interchange, which Ablah says is huge.
“This area has become a regional destination site,” he says. “That is what has helped us get national retailers’ attention.”
Ablah says strong retailers such as Costco and Whole Foods opening elsewhere on the east side also help with a national confidence in Wichita and a commitment to the city.
“They help validate what we all want to see in our market,” he says. “That’s another vote of confidence in our market.”
Ablah says it helps that there’s very little vacancy in northeast Wichita.
“We’re working with several national retailers,” he says of Greenwich Place.
Classic Real Estate, where Ablah works, and Walter Morris Cos. are handling leasing at the development.
Key Construction is the contractor for the first three retail outlets.
There will be several retail areas within Greenwich Place and a number of potential restaurant sites along the highway as well.
“K-96 is really important to understand how others view our market,” Ablah says.
He said it’s a regional traffic generator.
“That’s the way people in Andover go to work,” he says. “It’s the way we all travel.”
Last week, commercial broker and developer Tymber Lee announced that Wichita Sports Forum will replace the GoodSports project that had been planned for Greenwich Place.
The city and master developer Wichita Destination Developers said GoodSports developer Jerald Good failed to meet deadlines and prove financial ability to get the project done.
Lee and his partners plan a $14 million, 148,534-square-foot field house that is double the size and price Good first proposed to the city several years ago.
The master developer now plans a hotel at Greenwich Place, which Good once planned to build. It will be immediately south of the Sports Forum, though nothing has been announced yet about what size or hotel brand it will be.
Ablah said Bed Bath & Beyond will help generate more retail activity at Greenwich Place.
“Bed Bath is one of the most desirable co-tenants … in the country,” Ablah said. “A lot of tenants want to be located near them.”
He said now is a good time for retail development in Wichita in general.
“I think it’s hot,” Ablah says. “There’s a lot of activity right now.”
Liebau of Laham Development, which is also the Bradley Fair developer, said that stores coming and going at developments “is part of the natural rhythm of retail.”
“We’ve been working with tenants that have been interested in Bed Bath space for some time,” she says. “We’re looking forward to bringing new concepts to Bradley Fair that our customers have been asking for.”