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New fate awaits last undeveloped building in Old Town

Patrick Ahern, an agent with NAI Martens, helped sell the building at 701 E. Second St., one of the last undeveloped buildings in Old Town.
Patrick Ahern, an agent with NAI Martens, helped sell the building at 701 E. Second St., one of the last undeveloped buildings in Old Town. The Wichita Eagle

What may be the last undeveloped building in Old Town was sold for development on Friday.

The building, 701 E. Second St., is nearly 38,500 square feet on three stories. It sits immediately east of the railroad tracks, across from the Old Town Plaza parking garage.

The building was purchased by Winfield Building LLC, which is affiliated with Ferguson Property Group, a property development and management firm with locations in Memphis and Tulsa. The building was sold by SBJ Properties of Wichita.

The sale price was not disclosed, but Patrick Ahern of NAI Martens, who represented the seller, said the seller waited for three and a half years for the right offer.

“I think the reason it hadn’t sold is that the local group of re-developers in Old Town, they know what property had sold for historically, and they didn’t want to pay more than the historical pricing, and it took an out-of-town buyer to see the value of the property,” Ahern said.

The buyer couldn’t be reached immediately on Friday. Ahern said he understands the plans call for mixed-use development with restaurants and retail on the ground floor and offices on the second and third floors.

The buyer was represented by First Commercial Real Estate Services Corp. of Tulsa.

The building, built in 1909 or 1910, was a warehouse throughout its history. For much of that time, it was used by the former Farha Brothers grocery and has a painted sign on the west side. It also had a sign reading “Winfield Wholesale Grocery Co.”

It had been owned by local businessman Dennis Wilkie, who used it as a warehouse for several decades. Wilkie sold the building to SBJ as part of a bankruptcy in 2013.

Ferguson’s company is also the sole bidder for the former Finney State Office Building and is in negotiations with the city of Wichita over the project.

Dan Voorhis: 316-268-6577, @danvoorhis

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