Carrie Rengers

Downtown’s Kaufman Building has new owners

Clark and Sharon Bastian have purchased the Kaufman Building at 212 S. Market, which is about half a block northeast of Fidelity Bank’s headquarters where Clark Bastian is CEO.
Clark and Sharon Bastian have purchased the Kaufman Building at 212 S. Market, which is about half a block northeast of Fidelity Bank’s headquarters where Clark Bastian is CEO. The Wichita Eagle

Banker Clark Bastian and his wife, Sharon, have purchased the Kaufman Building at 212 S. Market, just south of the southeast corner of William and Market.

“We heard it was for sale,” Clark Bastian says. “We were wanting to make an investment in some real estate.”

Bastian is CEO of Fidelity Bank, which is about half a block southwest of the Kaufman Building.

Timsah Group sold the four-story, 37,000-square-foot building to the Bastians for $1.35 million

“It was downtown, and it’s got some history,” Bastian says.

The building, which opened in 1925, is on the state historic register.

“I’m kind of a student to history,” Bastian says. “I thought it was kind of interesting to learn that the architect of the building is the same architect as the Orpheum Theatre.”

That was the Chicago firm of Eberson and Weaver.

“(John) Eberson was considered the Valentino of cinema design,” Bastian says.

The building is named for Hilbert Kaufman, who was in the grain business. There were a number of wheat-related businesses in the building for a time.

In more recent history, the Minnesota Guys owned it and planned condos there that never materialized.

Current tenants are the Kansas Department of Corrections and a financial planning group.

There’s 6,000 square feet that’s available on the first floor, which is about two-thirds of the floor.

Bastian says that around 2006, someone started remodeling that space but never finished.

That’s his guess, anyway, because, he says, “I found a 5-gallon paint bucket that said 2006.”

The Bastians cleaned up the area in the hopes of leasing the space.

“We basically turned that space into a white box,” Clark Bastian says.

He says it’s ready for office or retail.

“We can go whichever way. We can build to suit.”

Beyond that, they don’t have any plans, he says.

“Who knows? A lot depends on what happens to the north,” Bastian says of the former Finney State Office Building at 230 E. William.

The Corrections Department still has more than four and a half years left on its lease, so nothing much different will happen anytime soon.

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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