The Partnership will expand into a fourth, ground-floor storefront adjacent to its current offices at historic Eaton Place once renovation work finishes later this spring.
“It was an opportunity to expand,” Greater Wichita Partnership president Jeff Fluhr said. “It certainly is a space that has served us well as things have evolved.”
The new storefront, 509 E. Douglas, was the old Urban Interiors space before the home decor store moved to the corner spot across from Naftzger Park last year.
Fluhr said once the space became available, the Partnership, which since 2015 has worked to drive economic growth in the region, started the process of leasing it. Craig Simons of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handles commercial leasing for Eaton Place.
With the addition, Fluhr said it was time to reconfigure the office, which also houses the Partnership’s Downtown Wichita arm. Until now, the two groups have taken up three adjacent storefronts at Douglas and Emporia.
“What we’re looking to do is allow our team to be located together versus on two ends of the space so we can increase collaboration,” Fluhr said. “We’ll be adding a number of those meeting rooms and collaboration spaces. We’ve seen that increase exponentially.”
Once the renovation is finished, the storefront at 505 E. Douglas will serve as the single entryway — until now there have basically been three entrances.
Hutton is completing the design-build project. In the meantime, the Partnership and Downtown Wichita have temporarily relocated to the fourth floor of the High Touch building at 110 S. Main.
Fluhr said renovations should finish by mid-April.
The group — under former titles and affiliates — has been at Eaton Place since about 2005 or 2006, Fluhr said.
“We’ve cut through the walls over the years,” he said.
In 2010 they added the Innovation Center, an event meeting space funded partially by a grant from the Knight Foundation through the Wichita Community Foundation. And in 2015 the Partnership added the corner office at Douglas and Emporia.
Fluhr said the move is a reflection of increased activity in downtown Wichita — the exact work the Greater Wichita Partnership and its strategic initiatives strive to create.
“It’s really a dynamic location,” he said. “It really does showcase what’s going on. … There’s just an increased energy in that area.”
The Partnership isn’t the only one on the move in Eaton Place.
Urban Routine, a skincare clinic, reopened this week at its new space at 511 E. Douglas after relocating there from an Emporia-facing store.
Simon said a new business called Urban Glam is moving into Urban Routine’s old spot at 106 S. Emporia.