Academy Sports & Outdoors helps fill out center near 29th and Maize
Two retail sites remain in Central Park Place development
From The Wichita Business Journal
by John Stearns, Reporter
Date: Friday, March 23, 2012
A commercial development in northwest Wichita will take a major step toward completion with last week’s announcement that Academy Sports & Outdoors will build a 73,000-square-foot store immediately north of Lowe’s on Maize Road, near 29th Street North.
All that remains for the 24-acre Central Park Place development is construction of up to a 32,000-square-foot space for a “junior box” tenant north of Lowe’s and a 6,600-square-foot space for a fast-food or casual-dining restaurant north of Panda Express, according to Brad Saville, president of Landmark Commercial Real Estate Inc.
Saville and Christian Ablah of Classic Real Estate are partners in Eastside Investments LLC, which sold Academy its 6.4-acre site and is the developer of Central Park Place. Academy was represented by Paul Burkhart of Concordia Equity LC of Plano, Texas.
There won’t be any further development from Central Park Place to 29th Street North on the east side of Maize Road because the area is a protected wetland. On the west side of Maize Road, however, Slawson Cos. plans to develop a strip it owns between NewMarket Square and 29th — all part of what has become a hot retail corridor stretching from 21st Street north beyond 37th.
Two groups are looking at the junior-box site, says Saville, who will attend the International Council of Shopping Centers show in Las Vegas in May to network with potential tenants.
Saville says two groups also are looking at Central Park Place’s restaurant site.
“I really think the retail market in Wichita is strengthening,” he says. “We’ve had some nice tenants enter the market.”
That includes Academy competitor Cabela’s, which Saville was instrumental in landing, according to George Laham, president of Laham Development and a partner in the Regency Lakes Shopping Center, the east-side development where Cabela’s is located.
Academy Sports new to market
Katy, Texas-based Academy plans to open the Maize Road store — its first in Kansas — late this year, by the holiday shopping season, according to Elise Hasbrook, a spokeswoman for the retailer.
The company has more than 135 stores, concentrated in Texas and the Southeast. It is owned by the equity firmKohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP.
The store’s philosophy is “selling the right stuff at everyday low prices,” according to its website.
That stuff includes categories for apparel, footwear, team sports gear, recreation and leisure, fitness, golf, hunting, fishing, boating and marine, camping and outdoors, patio and barbecue, and electronics.
“It’s just an incredible store, and there’s so much that we offer,” Hasbrook says.
The store will be almost as big as Cabela’s, which is 80,000 square feet, and more than twice the size of Sports Authority, a competitor situated across Maize Road at NewMarket Square.
“We think it’s good for the community to have options for shopping,” Hasbrook says.
The store will hire about 150 people.
Meanwhile, across maize …
Jerry Jones, vice president-commercial development for Slawson Cos., developer and owner of NewMarket Square, wasn’t necessarily surprised that Academy picked the location it did.
“If a major retailer is going to come into this market, they are probably going to look up in this area,” Jones says of the growing Maize Road corridor.
But Jones says he was surprised that Academy would choose to enter a market that seems saturated with sporting-goods retailers, mentioning Cabela’s, Sports Authority, Dick’sand Gander Mountain.
Across Maize from the Academy site, immediately north of NewMarket Square and south of 29th, Slawson has about 10 acres available for development. Jones anticipates a mix of tenants there, including offices, restaurants and potentially a hotel.
He can’t project when it might be developed, noting it’s contingent on tenants, but “hopefully sooner as opposed to later.”
“There’s more activity, things have picked up,” Jones says of the area. “We do have prospective tenants that we’re talking to about this tract.”
“I think one thing that’s unique about it, it has a lot of Maize Road frontage and visibility,” Jones says.
That’s similar to NewMarket Square, where what is built is virtually full, Jones says.
Central Park Place
Location: East side of Maize Road south of 29th Street North.
Already built: Lowe’s; Panda Express; LongHorn Steakhouse; strip center with Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Long John Silver’s, Ribbit Computers and Cinnamon’s Deli.
Coming late this year: Academy Sports & Outdoors.
Available: Two sites, one for up to a 32,000-square-foot “junior box” tenant, another for a 6,600-square-foot fast-food or casual-dining restaurant.