Carrie Rengers

Wichita Union Stockyards: 'All at once, you drive by, and there's a building'

Mike Andra stands with one of the beams he’ll use for the timber-frame event center at his new Wichita Union Stockyards.
Mike Andra stands with one of the beams he’ll use for the timber-frame event center at his new Wichita Union Stockyards.

You've heard the phrase, "Now you see it, now you don't." But the new event center at Wichita Union Stockyards is going to be the opposite.

You can't see the building now, but once base work is complete in the next week or two, you suddenly will.

"The building is going to go up that fast," Mike Andra says.

Andra and his wife, Tina, are planning a timber-frame building for the event center, and that's been a hold-up to starting their Union Stockyards on 40 acres at 6425 W. MacArthur in Sedgwick County.

The timber-frame design is centuries old, but Mike Andra says that "that has to be revisited before you get everything approved."

Every joint and fastener on the building had to be drawn and stamped by an engineer, he says, where some other buildings would be pre-engineered.

The timbers are cut and drilled.

"It just needs put together," Andra says.

He says a single beam is about "as big as a pickup truck."

"People just can't believe the size of them."

He says insulated panels that are going in the building took some time, too, but he says they'll be worth it.

"It'll be real efficient," Andra says.

"About like a Yeti cooler."

Union Stockyards should open around October, which is about a year later than planned. Andra says a second phase including a meat market and steakhouse will happen another six to nine months after that when he, his wife and staff "you know, get our feet under ourselves."

First, though, keep an eye out for that event center, Andra says.

"All at once, you drive by, and there's a building."

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
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