Carrie Rengers

Shops at Tallgrass and Tallgrass Centre sell to local buyer

Slawson Commercial Development sold Tallgrass Centre and the Shops at Tallgrass in a deal that closed on Friday. (Nov. 1, 2014)
Slawson Commercial Development sold Tallgrass Centre and the Shops at Tallgrass in a deal that closed on Friday. (Nov. 1, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

A local group has purchased two of Wichita’s most prominent shopping centers.

Slawson Commercial Development has sold its Shops at Tallgrass, which is on 21st Street just east of Rock Road, and Tallgrass Centre near the southwest corner of 21st and Rock Road.

“This is probably the largest retail shopping transaction … in the last five to 10 years,” says Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, who represented the buyers in the deal.

Simon says the group prefers to remain unnamed.

He says the deal includes “tremendous property … on one of the most influential corners of Wichita.”

The deal closed Friday for an undisclosed amount.

The Shops at Tallgrass was part of the original Tallgrass master-planned community. Its first building opened in 1998.

Tallgrass Centre opened in the late 1980s.

“We developed the whole center but sold off large parts of it,” says Jerry Jones, a broker with Slawson Cos.

The parts that sold in this deal include the center along 21st Street that is bookended by Verizon Wireless and Jimmy’s Egg. It also includes a smaller property between Best Buy and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Jones says there’s been a lot of activity in the Wichita real estate market lately.

“We decided to test the waters and found that there was a lot of interest in the property. It turned out to be a good time to sell,” he says.

“A lot of it has to do with the amount of commercial land we still have to develop,” Jones says of selling now. “We’re going to try to focus our attention on finishing NewMarket Square and getting the properties we have … further east on 21st Street going.”

That includes Cross Pointe, a Slawson development at the southeast corner of 21st and Greenwich. The company also owns Oak Creek on the southwest corner.

Simon says he’s happy that the Tallgrass properties sold to a local owner.

“Being a local owner just gives them a pride of ownership, kind of like the Slawsons,” he says.

Jones says he agrees.

“We’re sure they will give it the same kind of care and attention that we did.”

Jones says selling the properties also is “a little bittersweet.”

“We’ve owned them for quite a number of years and have enjoyed working with the tenants here. Everybody in our company has worked on some facet … of those properties.”

Slawson broker April Reed handled many of the leases.

“I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and business owners over the years managing and leasing the center.”

Reed has been one of the most visible faces at the centers.

“It’s funny, everybody’s been asking, well … what’s going to happen to you? I’ve just told them I’m still employed with Slawson. I’m not going anywhere.”

Except maybe shopping, that is.

“Now, I’ll be at the shopping center, but I’m just going to be April.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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