Jeff Grier was looking for more office space.
So was Rolf Gunderson.
Now the executives of two local companies plan to share space in a 75,000-square-foot building in southwest Wichita that they bought through a partnership.
“The ability to have that kind of space, we probably wouldn’t be able to do as a stand-alone project,” said Grier, UCI executive vice president.
“Nor would I,” said Gunderson, co-owner of ProFillment.
Gunderson and Grier’s father, UCI president Chuck Grier, have known each other 20 years. When Gunderson learned that UCI was interested in the building at 1930 S. Hoover, he called Chuck Grier. A few weeks later, the partnership they created was closing on the purchase of the building that was constructed in the early 2000s for Cessna, but had been vacant in recent years.
“At the end of the day, I have a tremendous amount of respect and trust for the Grier family, and I believe they have the same for me,” Gunderson said.
“The rapport was already there,” Jeff Grier said. “The trust was already there.”
UCI will take a portion of the building, including some warehouse space, to convert into offices, Grier said.
The remaining space will be taken by ProFillment, which Gunderson said will give his 10-year-old company more room than it has at 2432 S. Sheridan.
“We’re basically doubling our space to be more efficient and take care of our customers in a more timely manner,” Gunderson said.
Gunderson started ProFillment with a Minnesota-based partner. The company, which has 13 employees in Wichita, primarily provides interior design, furniture purchasing and installation services to the hospitality industry and senior living facilities, he said. One of its biggest clients is Wichita-based Value Place.
UCI, previously known as Utility Contractors, is a 160-employee construction company with specialization in energy company projects — such as constructing oil and natural gas rail loading terminals — and municipal infrastructure projects.
“Our professional employment is outpacing our craft employment,” Grier said. “The work we’re doing (now) is more technical.”
That’s why, Grier said, the company needed additional office space that it didn’t have at its current office at 659 N. Market.
The new building will also put UCI’s office space adjacent to a facility it has at 1850 S. Hoover, where it has a carpenter shop, training facility and storage for heavy equipment, Grier said.
“It will be a contiguous part of our campus,” Grier said.
UCI will be doing the interior construction work on the building to add office space for itself and ProFillment. It will add about 10,000 more square feet of office space — for a total of 25,000 square feet — and reduce the warehouse space from 60,000 square feet to 50,000, Grier said.
He and Gunderson hope to move in before the first of the year.
Bradley Tidemann, Grant Tidemann and Brad Mitchell, all of J.P. Weigand & Sons, brokered the purchase of the warehouse.