Carrie Rengers

Which Garveys will own the Garvey Center now?

The Garvey Center is selling, but it’s staying within the Garvey family.
The Garvey Center is selling, but it’s staying within the Garvey family. The Wichita Eagle

UPDATED – The Garvey Center is selling, but it’s staying within the Garvey family.

“We like keeping it in the family,” says Mike Garvey, president of Builders Inc., which owns the center.

Garvey and his brothers and their father, Jim Garvey, are selling the center to Bonavia Properties, which is owned by Emily Bonavia and her son, Nick.

Jim Garvey and Emily Bonavia are children of the late Willard and Jean Garvey, who used to own the Garvey Center.

“I’m very keen on downtown,” Nick Bonavia says.

He says there’s a lot of growth happening downtown right now.

“We’d like to be part of that long term,” Bonavia says. “We’d like to build and innovate with Wichita. I think this property will be a good cornerstone for our presence there.”

Mike Garvey says Builders Inc. will remain “heavily involved” and will continue to manage the Garvey Center, which has more than 600,000 square feet over more than two city blocks.

“It’s just Nick has a lot of great ideas for downtown,” Mike Garvey says. “Nick is the most pro-downtown guy I know. He’s very pro-Wichita … so I think it’s a good fit for his portfolio.”

The center includes the R.H. Garvey Building at 300 W. Douglas; the Page Court Building at 220 W. Douglas; the O.W. Garvey Building at 200 W. Douglas; 250 Douglas Place at 250 W. Douglas; and Corner 365 Apartments at First and Waco.

“It’s probably the ones we’re most known for, but we have a lot of other property we own here in Wichita,” Mike Garvey says.

The company also owns property in Kansas City and Oklahoma City.

The Bonavias own property in Wichita, such as Bennington Place Apartments, a 138-unit luxury apartment complex near 21st and Maize Road. They also own property in Kansas City and Oregon, where they have a cattle operation and a small timber operation as well.

Mike Garvey says his great grandmother, Olive White, started the Garvey Center in a blighted area in 1966.

“It’s from urban renewal,” he says. “That’s how it started.”

He says Bob Page, who wasn’t a member of the Garvey family, “really masterminded the whole development.”

“It initially housed all of the Garvey industries,” Mike Garvey says.

“Over the years, we filled it up with other tenants.”

That includes apartment tenants in the 250 Douglas Place building, which was a former Holiday Inn.

Willard Garvey, who bought the center in the 1990s, remodeled the building into apartments.

Builders Inc. purchased the center from his trust in the mid 2000s.

With the latest sale, not a lot will change.

“Obviously … I’ll bring a different long-term vision,” Nick Bonavia says.

“Different people like to bring different nuances,” he says. “As far as anything radical in the short term, no.”

He says there could be changes in the future.

“A lot of it’s going to be determined by the market.”

For now, Mike Garvey says the sale is “just a line on the title work.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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