WICHITA — Mike Loveland is quiet to the point of silent about his deals, and it wasn't much different Wednesday when he agreed to speak to the Park City Chamber of Commerce about his Echo Hills project.
"You said a whole bunch of stuff without saying anything," one attendee said to Loveland on his way out the door.
Loveland did share one little-known detail about the 80-acre project northwest of Interstate 135 and 53rd Street North in Park City.
"I was looking for a site for a nighttime golf course," he said of how he first started looking at the land around 2000.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
He said it then occurred to him what an incredible retail site it would make. Loveland says it took a while, but he closed on the land in 2010, which he says wasn't a great time to start attracting interest.
"I wish I could have made it go faster," he said.
"In '12 they started talking again," he said of potential retail tenants.
Loveland said he'd been close to a big deal for an anchor tenant.
"I'm not saying who it was," he said. But he added that "Cabela's beat 'em to the punch" when it announced it would open at Regency Lakes in Wichita.
Loveland said he's now close on another possible anchor tenant, which he thinks he has an almost 90 percent chance of landing, along with another one that he thinks is a 50-50 chance.
"Those anchors have such an effect," he said of attracting smaller tenants.
He expects to announce "something of significance" within a month.
"We're really close. I wish I could tell you who they are."
Loveland said attracting major retailers to that area is a battle similar to what Derby once faced.
"You had to beg people to come down to Derby, Kansas," he said.
That, of course, changed in a big way with retailers such as Lowe's, Target and Kohl's opening there.
"That's what I'm in hopes of here in Echo Hills," Loveland said.