As downtown transforms with new buildings and businesses and as plans continue to develop to redo Century II, Sophokles Anthimides has developed a few plans of his own for Century Plaza next door.
Anthimides, who also owns Athena Jewelry at 219 E. Douglas, bought the once-thriving 12-story 1920 building 17 years ago.
The building is mostly empty today except for Quiznos, longtime tenant Copy Express and a ballroom that Anthimides occasionally rents. It’s also the building where former state Rep. Phil Hermanson planned to open a grocery store last year but never did.
Now, Anthimides is preparing to open a Greek restaurant on the lowest level of the building where the popular Lancer’s club was decades ago. He’s going to follow that with apartments on the third through 12th floors. He plans to rename the building as well.
As Anthimides puts the finishing touches on the restaurant space, he’s also working on buying land from the city behind his building in order to have enough parking for the restaurant and future apartments.
“This place is going to go no matter what happens, but I would love the city to realize I’m in . . . a fantastic center-city building, nothing around, and I’ll bring more people downtown than anybody else, and it will be different,” Anthimides says.
“I think the city should look for opportunities like this instead of trying to bring somebody from outside.”
Anthimides won’t say how much he’s spent on the 8,000-square-foot restaurant space — “I don’t like to brag about it” — but he says, “The city should come and see what I’m building and how much money I spent to build this place.”
“There (is) nothing like this,” Anthimides says. “Everything was done 100 percent the way it was supposed to be done.”
The restaurant’s colors are gold, white and blue for a Greek feel, and there are columns and other touches reminiscent of Anthimides’ native home of Greece.
“This is my . . . creation,” he says. “It’s like going someplace in Greece.”
If he can find a large statue of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, Anthimides will name the restaurant that.
“We’re still celebrating that,” he says of street parties in Greece honoring Dionysus.
The restaurant’s food will be “100 percent” Greek, Anthimides says.
“Not only are you going to get Greek food, you’re going to get real Greek food.”
There’s also a 70-foot bar within the restaurant along with a stage and dance floor.
Anthimides has been collecting restaurant equipment from other restaurants that have closed, such as the Lakeside Club.
“I have enough equipment to supply for two or three other restaurants,” he says. “First we’re going to get everything we need here, and what’s left we’re going to sell.”
After the restaurant opens, Anthimides will turn his attention to the rest of the 150,000-square-foot building.
“This building was the finest office building in the city of Wichita,” he says. “Most of the people left because they own homes way east.”
Anthimides says there are beautiful touches throughout the building, such as original tile and chandeliers.
“I have doors worth $2,000, $3,000.”
The apartments won’t happen until 2019.
With all the new activity at the building, Anthimides is rebranding it. He says he’s tired of receiving calls from people who are looking for Century II, not Century Plaza.
“I don’t want to be associated with Century II.”
Olympus is the name of his company, and Anthimides wants to name the building that, too.
First, he has a restaurant to open, which will make his fourth. Through the years, he had Big Alpha, Epita, and Court of Athena Restaurant & Club.
Anthimides says construction should be done in a month, and then he’ll begin hiring a staff and someone to run the restaurant.
“It worked before,” he says, “and it’s going to work again.”