Carrie Rengers

Abdul Arif plans second Huddle House in new retail center connected to new apartments

Lawyer and restaurateur Abdul Arif plans a new retail center connected to apartments at the northeast corner of Kellogg and Seneca. The first of three businesses for the retail center will be a Huddle House, which will make Arif’s second in the market after one under construction at Twin Lakes.
Lawyer and restaurateur Abdul Arif plans a new retail center connected to apartments at the northeast corner of Kellogg and Seneca. The first of three businesses for the retail center will be a Huddle House, which will make Arif’s second in the market after one under construction at Twin Lakes. The Wichita Eagle

As a result of Abdul Arif’s infamous Shocker Knockers story – there’s an update on that below – he had another deal pop up with lightning speed.

After the lawyer told Have You Heard? his plans for the sports bar at NewMarket Square and that he’s looking for a second site to open another Huddle House, he says he was deluged with calls from developers and potential investors.

“My phone rang off the hook,” Arif says.

Now, he’s signed a contract to purchase about 1.6 acres at the northeast corner of Kellogg and Seneca to build a new retail center that will have a Huddle House, two other businesses and 38 apartments next to it.

“We’re really excited because of all the development in Delano,” Arif says. “We feel like it’s the gateway to Delano from a major highway.”

He calls the development one of the biggest projects he’s ever done.

“It’s really beautiful.”

Arif plans to close on his purchase in a month and hopes to break ground in mid-March.

The first phase of construction will be a 7,400-square-foot strip center with a Huddle House and two other businesses, both of which Arif says he’s close to deals for.

Huddle House will be in 3,000 square feet.

“There’s no 24-hour breakfast place,” Arif says of the area.

“We have site approval already, so we’re good.”

His first Huddle House is going to open in April in a retail center he’s building in front of Twin Lakes at 21st and Amidon.

“Phase two, we will put (in) 38 apartments,” Arif says. He says they’ll be “very modern-looking, Class A that will appeal to millennials.”

“Apartments are always a safe bet,” he says.

In 2015, Arif started an apartment project on two acres on the northwest corner of K-96 and Woodlawn that he’s now leasing.

“People are always looking.”

That’s because he says renters are always looking for better amenities and better views.

“Especially if you do it at a price point that’s attractive to them,” Arif says. “There’s a lot of cannibalism that goes on in apartments.”

The apartments will be mostly one-bedroom units and studios along with a few two-bedroom units.

“All of them will have balconies so you can see the highway.”

Arif says he thinks that’s a selling point because of the open space “as opposed to ugly buildings or opposed to looking at another person’s window.”

“There’s definitely value to it. It’s not exactly Manhattan, but still.”

The apartments will be around $700. They’ll have washers and dryers, which Arif says is unusual outside of upscale apartments.

“People look for much more after $700,” he says.

The retail center and the 36,000-square-foot apartment building will be connected.

“The idea is to have … a community, if you will,” Arif says.

There will be green spaces and an outside kitchen area as well.

The apartments don’t have a name yet.

“Maybe I should have a naming contest for that, too,” Arif says, referring to the notoriety his contest to name the sports bar received.

He had half jokingly thrown out Shocker Knockers as a name and included it as one of the choices in the name-the-business contest.

“I’ve never seen so many mad women at me,” Arif says.

He says there were a few who weren’t angry.

Still, Arif is trying not to bring up the name anymore, although it keeps slipping out.

“I keep kicking myself,” he says. “The more I say it, the more it settles in people’s heads.”

That project is in flux now because it turns out that NewMarket developer Slawson Cos. has first right of refusal to buy the former Granite City building that Arif was in the process of buying.

“We’re working it out,” he says.

If it doesn’t work out in his favor, Arif says he’s probably not interested in the vacant Pei Wei or TGI Fridays buildings at NewMarket.

Pei Wei is too small, he says.

“This needs to be an independent building.”

Also, Arif says he and his partners aren’t interested in being tenants.

“They will not do anything without real estate.”

Arif says he’ll continue the naming contest “until this mess resolves itself.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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