Carrie Rengers

Cargill has potential buyer for downtown headquarters

Cargill may have a buyer for its downtown headquarters at 151 N. Main St.
Cargill may have a buyer for its downtown headquarters at 151 N. Main St. The Wichita Eagle

UPDATED – As Cargill proceeds with plans to move out of its downtown headquarters, another company is making plans to move in.

Meritrust Credit Union has a letter of intent to buy the 110,000-square-foot 10-story building at 151 N. Main St.

“That’s about all it is at this point,” Meritrust president and CEO James Nastars says. “It’s not a final deal.”

This week, Cargill employees were notified via e-mail about a possible sale of the headquarters.

“We have an interested party, but there is no agreement in place,” Cargill spokesman Mike Martin said in an e-mail response to Have You Heard?

Cargill advised employees that in the coming weeks, there could be people in the building to inspect it as part of the due diligence process that’s necessary before a sale.

Meritrust has been in its headquarters at 8710 E. 32nd St. North for about a dozen years.

“We have been growing, and we are out of space at our current headquarters here at K-96 and Rock,” Nastars says.

Of the company’s 350 employees, 150 are at the headquarters. There also are 11 branch locations in Wichita and Derby along with two in Lawrence, one in Manhattan and one in Junction City.

In addition to needing more space, Nastars says the purchase “would help us be part of the community and the growth we’re seeing in downtown Wichita.”

He says Meritrust may not be as large as, say, Spirit AeroSystems, but he says, “We do take our commitment to the community very seriously. We will certainly do whatever we can to help Wichita grow economically.”

If the deal comes together, Nastars says he expects Meritrust would be set for space for the next couple of decades.

In addition to office space, he says Meritrust would use some of the new building for training and community events. The company wouldn’t need all of that space immediately, but Nastars says he’s not sure what would happen with the balance of the building.

Cargill is moving its Wichita headquarters to 825 E. Douglas where The Wichita Eagle currently is.

Once The Eagle moves, Cargill will demolish the buildings on the property and build a new headquarters there.

Cargill officials have said they want to have a less traditional office environment in particular to be more appealing to millennial employees and potential younger workers.

The Eagle hasn’t announced where it’s moving yet, but it appears a top possibility is space in Old Town Square.

Nastars says part of the Cargill building’s appeal is all the nearby amenities, such as restaurants and the YMCA, and its proximity to the river and growth along it and in downtown in general.

“We’re excited about the things the city is talking about.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers