Carrie Rengers

Phil Ruffin to buy Epic Center for $11.5 million

On Dec. 1, Phil Ruffin will close on his purchase of the Epic Center for $11.5 million.
On Dec. 1, Phil Ruffin will close on his purchase of the Epic Center for $11.5 million. File photo

Phil Ruffin has changed his mind.

In August, the billionaire businessman said he was interested in buying the Epic Center, but only for $10 million.

On Dec. 1, he’ll close on his purchase of the building for $11.5 million.

“We negotiated the hell out of it,” Ruffin says.

“I thought it was worth $10 (million), but that wouldn’t buy it,” he says.

A broker who represents the Epic Center declines to comment until the sale is finalized.

Ruffin says he’ll make about $1 million a year on the building.

“It’s a decent profit,” he says. “It gives us about a 9 percent return, which is not great because we usually demand a 10-to-12 percent return, but it wasn’t possible on this deal.”

Ruffin says he’ll save money by managing the building with his own staff instead of having Weigand-Omega Management handle it as it does now.

And he says he’s not going to raise anyone’s rent to increase his profit.

“We’re going to keep the same rents,” Ruffin says.

He says the Epic Center is a “beautiful building.”

At 23 stories, it’s the tallest building in Kansas.

The last time the 289,154-square-foot building at 301 N. Main St. sold was in 2013.

The current county appraisal has the building, which Willard Garvey and his Builders Inc. built in 1986, listed at just over $16 million.

The Epic Center has about an 80 percent occupancy rate and is home to a number of lawyers, accountants and federal workers, including the FBI, Secret Service and U.S. Attorney’s office.

“It will do very well,” Ruffin says. “We’ve had some inquiries from people who actually want to be there.”

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

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