The group of investors that reassembled the ownership of the Petroleum Building after the Minnesota Guys sold it floor by floor has now sold it to Gene Regier and a group of partners with CDK Wichita.
“It’s just a neat old building,” Regier says of the 8-story, Art Deco-style building on Broadway a block and a half south of Douglas.
“We just felt like it was a good time to pick it up.”
With more and more downtown office spaces being converted to apartment and condominium use, Regier says, “The office market is going to be … getting stronger.”
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Last year, his group also purchased the one-time Wonder Bread building at 601 N. Emporia, where CDK will move in October.
CDK distributes windows, cabinets and doors. Regier says the company purchased the Petroleum Building as an investment.
“We’re going to just kind of keep things going as they are right now.”
He says the group will “maybe brighten it up a little bit” and “give it more of a facade treatment.” That will include putting some of the company’s own windows on the building.
Craig Simon and Ted Branson of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.
“It’s like most buildings: It’s intact under one ownership,” Simon says.
He says he’s watched a lot happen with this building through the years as Real Development – the group better known as the Minnesota Guys – sold floors of the building one by one to California investors, most of whom later lost them.
Floor-by-floor sales were common for Real Development with several downtown Wichita buildings.
“It just complicated things,” Simon says. “It was great for Real Development. They made a lot of money.”
The 47,190-square-foot Petroleum Building, which also has a 39,323-square-foot parking garage and an additional lot, was built in 1929 as the Ellis-Singleton Building and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
There’s been some deferred maintenance on the building, which Simon says the new owners will address.
Simon is a particular fan of the sunflower motif on the front of the building.
“It’s probably one of the more unique buildings that we have downtown, I think.”