Carrie Rengers

College student helps Occidental Management land AMC Theatres deal

University of Kansas senior Charlie King, who has been working at Occidental Management while going to school, is responsible for landing an AMC Theatres deal for Wichita.
University of Kansas senior Charlie King, who has been working at Occidental Management while going to school, is responsible for landing an AMC Theatres deal for Wichita. Courtesy photo

To understand how Occidental Management landed AMC Theatres for the former Dickinson Northrock 14 space, you’ve got to go back to 22-year-old Charlie King’s senior year at East High School.

He was a member of Youth Entrepreneurs, which had an event that paired students with Rotary members. King indicated he was interested in commercial real estate and was paired with Occidental chairman and CEO Gary Oborny. That led to a summer internship, which led to King working for the company while also attending the University of Kansas, where he’ll graduate next month with a degree in finance.

The summer after his sophomore year, King says he began wading through a stack of more than 100 leads he created of companies that might be expanding.

“I just went through that list and started dialing numbers and talking to people to see if they would be interested in one of our properties,” he says. “It was just, ‘No,’ ‘No,’ ‘No.’

“It was a big stack of, ‘Nos,’ but that one, ‘Yes,’ certainly made it worth it.”

That was AMC, though it wasn’t quite as easy as a simple, “Yes.” The deal took about a year and a half and help from Oborny and Occidental president Chad Stafford.

Still, King says Oborny and Stafford were pleasantly surprised when he brought them the potential deal, and it’s been his biggest payoff to date.

“Yeah, by a long shot,” King says. “It’s pretty good for a 22-year-old just out of college.”

Or, technically, not even out yet.

The new AMC theater will open early next year.

“It was very exciting and a big sigh of relief, too, to finally get it done after all that time,” King says.

He didn’t stop to celebrate, though.

“I actually did nothing because I had a test the next day and a big project.”

The ability to get a deal done is what he says attracts him to commercial real estate. King says it’s “something you can really see the fruits of your labor in a physical way.”

“It’s really cool to take some old properties that need a little work and bring them back to life.”

King says he’s appreciative of everyone at Occidental, where he’ll begin working full time after graduating.

“Eventually, I would like to branch out on my own and do my own developments,” King says. “They’re very supportive of that.”

In the meantime, he’ll continue his education at Occidental.

“It’s been a great learning experience here.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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