Carrie Rengers

Jay Maxwell ready to start doing deals at Southfork

It's taken seven years, but Jay Maxwell is finally getting close to landing some contracts for his more than 50-acre Southfork retail development.
It's taken seven years, but Jay Maxwell is finally getting close to landing some contracts for his more than 50-acre Southfork retail development. The Wichita Eagle

After about seven years, the prep work is just about done – relatively speaking – for developer Jay Maxwell’s Southfork project at the southwest corner of 47th Street South and Interstate 135.

“You lose a lot of thrill or excitement because you just get so bogged down,” Maxwell says. “It shouldn’t take seven years.”

So why did it?

“I would tell you very slow government processes – at all levels. I’m not picking on any one of them,” Maxwell says of the approximately seven government entities he worked with. “That’s the state of how our government works. I’ve become very sour on those kind of processes. It’s not the people I’m mad at. It’s the system I’m mad at. They just don’t have any ability to make it efficient.”

A new street is going in and water, gas and sewer lines are being completed at the more than 50-acre development. Maxwell says the hardest part at the moment is relocating a high-pressure gas line.

“All the dirt work’s being done to get the property out of the flood plain,” he says.

There’s also a rebuilt interchange by the property.

Maxwell says he’s at least 60 days out from starting to do deals for the development.

“Then the piece of ground will actually be in position to have some fun things done to it,” he says. “I haven’t had a piece of ground that I could even deliver to people.”

Maxwell says he has a lot of interest in the frontages and the outparcels on the property, but he doesn’t have an anchor tenant yet.

“That’s probably the biggest frustration is big boxes haven’t come to the table yet.”

He’s working on it, though.

“I’ve got a lot of balls up in the air.”

Maxwell has another seven acres nearby at 47th and Hydraulic where QuikTrip is opening a new store.

He says his persistence at Southfork is paying off.

“Here’s the good news: I’ve lived seven years to see it,” Maxwell says. “Now we’re actually getting it to the point where we could do something down there. It’s getting fun again. I’m half excited.”

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

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