Carrie Rengers

What will open, and what won't, at NewMarket Square

Kansas Sampler/Rally House is opening at NewMarket Square on Friday.
Kansas Sampler/Rally House is opening at NewMarket Square on Friday. The Wichita Eagle

There are a few NewMarket Square updates since last we checked in with the west-side center at 21st and Maize Road.

First, it turns out the former Granite City site there won’t be home to Abdul Arif’s much-discussed new sports restaurant and bar concept.

Arif says he discovered the center has first right of refusal on purchasing the building from its owners, and he says that’s what Slawson Cos. has opted to do.

“Clearly, we think it was because of our concept,” Arif says.

Shocker Knockers was one name Arif floated for his concept, which he says will be “very subtle” but similar to Hooters or Twin Peaks.

Arif says he isn’t going to use that name, but he thinks it was enough to hurt his NewMarket deal.

No one with NewMarket would comment on the situation.

“Suffice it to say, we’re on the hunt for other locations,” Arif says. “The program to develop our own concept is still very much alive and on track.”

Instead of opening in time for the NCAA Tournament, he says, “We will just do it by the start of football season.”

Arif says this will give him more time to prepare.

“In hindsight, maybe it’s a good thing.”

In addition to possibly developing his own concept, Arif is in talks to bring a similar chain to Wichita instead.

“There’s no point to reinvent the wheel.”

He’s still looking for an east-side site as well, though Arif says he’s ruling out the former east-side Granite City. He says he’s now looking for either a 10,000-square-foot building or land on which to build.

“We’re absolutely looking anywhere, everywhere.”

Back at NewMarket, two other new businesses are in the works.

Kansas Sampler/Rally House is opening Friday in the 4,429 square feet Family Christian Stores used to occupy.

The sporting goods apparel store is something of a replacement for Sports Time Fan Shop, which closed last year.

Also, as Have You Heard? previously reported, Freezing Moo is opening this spring in 2,383 square feet in front of Target.

Chris Newkirk of CBRE in Kansas City, Mo., handled both deals.

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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