No one could really blame Bruce Harris for saying, “I told you so.”
The A-OK Super Center owner has three new occupants for his New Leaf Plaza at 21st and Amidon, which leaves only 7,500 square feet to develop at the more than 120,000-square-foot center.
“This blighted property has now become one of the top properties in Wichita,” Harris says.
Four years ago when he purchased Marina Lakes and renamed it New Leaf Plaza, he says everyone told him his idea of turning a new leaf on the dilapidated property was misguided.
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“Everybody told me that it’s a blighted property, and it wouldn’t work,” Harris says.
“I didn’t listen to anybody. I just went ahead and did it with my vision, and it actually came true, and now my wife is happy.”
Harris says his wife, Macaela, truly feared they might lose everything on the gamble.
“I had the vision and the foresight,” Harris says. “I have turned it into a beautiful thing. It’s very good for the city of Wichita and for me.”
Hardee’s and Sprint recently opened at the center. There’s already a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market – which is not closing as other Neighborhood Markets are – along with Planet Fitness and A-OK among other things.
Now, Verizon Wireless is under construction next to Hardee’s, Paleteria Tropicana is going in next to Sprint and, most significantly, a new 200-person call center is in the works next to Planet Fitness.
“It’s the last big box space I have available,” Harris says of the almost 14,000 square feet that the call center is taking.
The center doesn’t want to be named yet but will share information about its plans soon.
“We’re bringing a lot of … jobs in Wichita, Kansas,” Harris says.
He says he expects the center to open by May.
Harris says the businesses that have opened at New Leaf are experiencing success.
“Hardee’s is doing three times the volume of business they expected to, and they’re the happiest people I’ve ever met.”
Leisa Lowry and Krista Racine of J.P. Weigand & Sons, who handle leasing at the center, did the Hardee’s deal. They also handled the Sprint deal along with Weigand’s Christi Royse. Lowry and Racine and Jeff Englert and Patrick Ahern of NAI Martens handled the call center deal.
Harris says all of 21st and Amidon has been doing better in the last few years.
Dillons added a gas station on the northeast corner.
CVS opened near the northwest corner.
Contractor Larry Cook built a new retail center on the southeast corner to replace an aging gas station.
The city also redid the intersection.
“So 21st and Amidon is back,” Harris says.
“Now this dirty, old, nasty intersection is becoming another highlight of Wichita,” he says. “It’s become a tremendous commerce center.”