Carrie Rengers

Old Town Suites becomes Swope Lofts

The Wichita Eagle

The three-story red brick building at the southeast corner of Douglas and Washington is no longer going to be known for its position on the edge of Old Town.

Old Town Suites has gone back to its 1915 roots and is now known as Swope Lofts.

Sidney M. Swope built the building, which became a hotel in 1921.

“In honor of the 100-year anniversary, we switched it to the Swope Lofts,” says Mark Steiner, who bought the property in 1993. His cousin, Scott Steiner, became a partner in 1997.

When Mark Steiner purchased the 18,000-square-foot building, he renovated it for apartments and some commercial on the first floor. Original tenants the Aquarium in Old Town and Catholic Art & Gifts are still in the building.

In addition to now rebranding the property, Steiner says, “We’re changing the theme.”

He credits his son, Clayton, with the changes.

“Clayton, my son, has done a terrific job renovating these,” Steiner says. “It was kind of his idea to rebrand all this.”

Clayton Steiner began managing the property last year, and Steiner says his son is creating an industrial, modern design in the building.

“He’s exposing all the brick and all the original hardwood,” Steiner says.

Clayton Steiner also is taking out ceilings to expose wood beams, and he’s renovated the lobby.

Steiner says so far they’ve redone about five apartments and are doing more as they come open.

“We’re having a terrific response to it.”

Abuelo’s inked

The deal for the new west-side Abuelo’s has closed.

“When we talked last, we had a gentleman’s agreement,” says Chuck Ouellette, manager of the chain’s east-side restaurant. “Now it’s all signed and delivered.”

Construction will start soon on the almost 8,000-square-foot restaurant, which will be at the northeast corner of Taft and Ridge Road. That’s south of Panera Bread and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and across the street from where Twin Peaks is under construction.

“The revitalization of the west side is growing, and that area is fantastic,” Ouellette says.

There also will be a 1,000-square-foot patio with the new Abuelo’s.

“This one’s going to be covered,” Ouellette says.

There will be a stage at the patio as well.

“So we can do some live music out there,” Ouellette says. “It’s going to be cool.”

Inside, the restaurant will feature some new design elements for the chain, including some skylight.

“The plans are in the city right now,” says Randy Simon, one of the property owners who also owns Panera and is a partner in Freddy’s.

Simon says Abuelo’s is “a higher-end concept that I think will bring … new people to the intersection.”

The restaurant should open in early spring.

Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal. Saville also is going to handle leasing on an additional 8,400 square feet of space that will be attached to the Abuelo’s space.

That could include retail or office users and possibly one more small restaurant concept, but Simon says he’d want to choose something that wouldn’t compete with the other concepts already there.

“We’d like to keep the rest of that pretty secure.”

Hair cut

The more than 20-year-old Hair & Shampoo Center near the southeast corner of 21st and Maize is closing.

“It’s a shame,” says employee Lisa Moody. “We’re a big, busy shop, and we’ve got tons of clients.”

Moody says salon owner Randy King had a stroke earlier this year.

“We have been running the shop …in the meantime,” she says of herself and some other employees.

Moody says a few of those employees looked at buying the business and continuing it.

“It’s just not going to work out,” she says.

There are usually about a dozen stylists working in the shop, and there’s a separate area for children, which Moody says has helped make it a popular salon.

She says the last day of business is Aug. 13.

“It’s all coming to a close.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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