Once construction finishes in April, one of the local Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty offices will be the newest tenant at the Hinkle Law Firm building at the Waterfront.
Patty Sanders, the company’s regional president for the state of Kansas, said the plan is to relocate BHHS PenFed Realty’s east Wichita office to the Waterfront from its current space near 13th Street and K-96.
“I think the main driver is the business has evolved and changed and so our physical space wasn’t necessarily conducive to the way we do business today,” Sanders said. “It was a question of do we remodel a very nice building or do we maybe take a look at some other space? We just happened to come across the opening over at the Waterfront.”
BHHS will take up a little more than 17,000 square feet at the sleek, seven-story Waterfront building at 13th and Webb Road. The building, which was built in 2016 at the sprawling mixed-used development, is now about 90 percent occupied, said Jeremy Hurt, real estate manager for Murfin Inc.
Sanders said the new office space, which is designed to be more open and collaborative, will take up about half of the first floor, the entire sixth floor and half of the seventh floor.
Snodgrass + Sons Construction Co. is in the middle of the remodel. Back in December the construction company received a building permit for the project at 1617 N. Waterfront totaling $1.2 million, records show.
LK Architecture came up with the design plans. They also designed the building.
“It was a shell,” Sanders said, “so they are building it out. They’re getting it framed up as we speak.”
The first-floor space will serve as a main reception and lobby area, where agents can come and go to meet clients or work for a few hours. The sixth floor will house a meeting room and a classroom for the company’s licensing school. There’s also an outdoor patio for entertaining. Administrative offices will go on the seventh floor.
According to its website, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty has 1,800 agents and more than 50 offices nationwide. PenFed Realty is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PenFed Credit Union and is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage network, operated by HSF Affiliates LLC.
In Kansas, BHHS has a network of about 320 agents with seven offices located across the state, in Newton, Ark City, Augusta, Derby and three in Wichita. The company primarily provides residential real estate services, but does some commercial and land real estate along with auction services.
Sanders said changes in the industry helped fueled the decision to relocate the east-side office. BHHS will still operate in west Wichita and downtown.
For example, BHHS has gone paperless, Sanders said, so areas of the office once devoted to paper storage now sits empty. While the new office at the Waterfront will only a little less than the original space at 13th and Webb, Sanders said it will be set up much different because of the push for more collaborative spaces.
“Our teams need a different type of environment,” she said. “We felt like it was really going to suit us well for the future growth for our company, and just a really nice first-class space for our agents to work in.”