Dining With Denise Neil

The Mead’s Corner space will remain vacant after potential new tenant changes plans

The deal is off: Kookaburra Coffee is not moving into the Mead’s Corner space after all.
The deal is off: Kookaburra Coffee is not moving into the Mead’s Corner space after all. Wichita Eagle

There’s no imminent new tenant for the just-vacated Mead’s Corner building after all.

A news release sent out last week by TGC Development Group, which recently purchased the building at 430 E. Douglas, said that Kookaburra Coffee would not be opening in the space as previously planned.

In early July, Kookaburra owners Rebecca McNelly and Edward Fox told the Eagle they would open their first stationary coffee shop in the spot, which is at the corner of Douglas and Emporia. McNelly, who opened a Kookaburra Coffee truck in 2017, said she had a special affinity for the place because she was one of its original baristas.

But that changed after TGC Development Group purchased the building from the landlord that Kookaburra originally signed with.

“After just getting to know each other and discussing our plans and goals and ideas and strategies, we both looked at each other and agreed there might be better opportunities in the future for them,” said Nick Esterline, who is the principal of TGC. “I think it was pretty mutual.”

The TGC Development Group also is one of the partners in the Spaghetti Works District project under construction in the 600 block of East Douglas, and earlier this week, Brad Saville, whose Landmark Commercial Real Estate is finding tenants for the project, said he was looking for restaurants and other businesses to move in when it opens next fall.

Could that be the bigger plan TGC has for Kookaburra?

“That is certainly an available option out there for them or anybody else, obviously,” Esterline said. “We have not talked specifically with them about that project, but what I would tell you is Ed and Rebecca have been fantastic people to get to know.”

McNelly said she had no comment about the news. In the release from TGC, she was quoted as saying, “Nick and his team have been very transparent in our dealings with them, and we look forward to continuing to build a relationship with them for future opportunities that we hope will be successful for both of us.”

As for what will become of the Mead’s Corner building, Esterline said it was too soon to say.

“We just closed on the real estate on Monday,” he said. “We don’t have any immediate plans.”

Mead’s Corner, which had operated in the spot since 2008, had its last day in business there on Saturday. In May, First United Methodist Church pastor Cindy Watson announced that the shop would be closing, noting a “significant increase” in rent. The church started the coffee shop as a way to raise money for charitable organizations.

The building sold to TGC shortly after Kookaburra announced its plans to take over the space.

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