Carrie Rengers

School-turned-apartments sells; new owner plans likely addition

The former Martinson School in Delano has sold.

In March, The Wichita Eagle reported that the school, which was built at 249 N. Athenian near Second and Meridian in the 1930s, has attracted a lot of online interest since owner Don Vaughn Sr. decided to sell it.

“It’s a super-interesting building,” says new owner Sebastian Guthery.

“It has a lot of history. … I’m interested in preserving that.”

Guthery divides his time between Kansas and California. He purchased the former school, which now houses apartments, through a company called Lead Equity, a residential real estate company. Guthery says he buys houses in College Hill to then sell to people who don’t qualify for traditional financing.

He purchased the 24,342-square-foot former school building, which has seven one-bedroom apartment units and three two-bedroom units, for $730,000.

Guthery says he appreciates that Vaughn preserved great touches from the school, such as chalkboards in individual apartments.

“It’s just cool.”

He may add another building for more apartment units. Guthery says he would make it look like a school to keep in tradition with the property.

Cole Oglesbee, a longtime friend of Guthery’s, will manage the apartments. Oglesbee owns the residential remodeling company College Hill Custom. He suggested that the rents may be undervalued at the former school. Guthery says he’s not going to increase them.

“I have no intention of really raising rates or anything, especially not for the current tenants,” he says. “It’s fine the way it is.”

Oglesbee says it’s a building that doesn’t have vacancies for long.

“The tenants seem to be very happy there.”

Guthery says he’d like to buy more properties

“I’d love to,” he says. “That’s the goal.”

Lawton Makovec with Pinnacle Realty Group at Berkshire Hathaway helped with the Martinson deal and is helping Guthery find more properties.

Oglesbee says he’s happy to finally see the Martinson building.

“I was pleasantly surprised with everything that’s been done to the space. It’s beautifully renovated.”

Oglesbee says he’s been driving by the building and admiring it from a distance for years.

“It’s a beautiful building and a wonderful use of an old structure,” he says. “I’m kind of excited to be a part of it.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers