Green light on Greenwich — This corridor is ripe for development
Published by : Wichita Business Journal
By: Josh Heck
The potential was always there, developers and real estate brokers say, for the North Greenwich corridor to be a hotbed for commercial development.
That’s happening now, but it took time to materialize.
When Target opened a store in 2004 in the Regency Lakes development in northeast Wichita, commercial development in that area was sparse. Target knew the risk, but took it anyway.
Other retailers, however, shied away because the area was too green to open stores there. A global recession that took hold in 2008 didn’t do development efforts along Greenwich — or development in general, for that matter — any favors, either.
Fast forward three years and development efforts turned the corner following the January 2011 announcement that Cabela’s would build a store in the Regency Lakes development near K-96 and Greenwich.
Now, the Greenwich corridor specifically and northeast Wichita in general have become the hottest destinations for commercial development. So much so that the North Greenwich corridor has drawn comparisons to the surge of development that happened years ago at 21st Street North and Rock Road.
“The next retail corridor is Greenwich Road,” George Laham, president of Laham Development, told the Wichita Business Journal in January. Laham Development is the company behind much of the development along Greenwich.
New construction is happening all along the Greenwich corridor. Retail and restaurant sites are being built. Car dealerships and hotels are being added. Other developments, several of them focusing on sports and the outdoors, are in the planning stages.
No longer are retailers afraid to move to the edge of Wichita in the northeast.
Local real estate brokers say the Greenwich corridor has become a destination for shopping in Wichita.
“Northeast Wichita is becoming the Rock Road of east Wichita,” says Chad Stafford, president of Occidental Management.
Northeast Wichita is ripe for development, helped by increased activity along Greenwich between 13th and 21st streets and along Webb Road between 13th and 21st. The addition of the Whole Foods Market in the Waterfront Plaza development near 13th and Webb is spurring additional interest in that area.
So why the influx of development interest in those areas?
It’s momentum generated by the success of earlier businesses that were willing to take a risk on moving to a less-developed part of Wichita, real estate brokers say.
“With retail, a lot of folks are looking for other retailers to make their mark,” says April Reed, a broker with Slawson Cos., which has commercial and residential development land near 21st and Greenwich.
She says the addition of a Super Target gave credibility to that intersection and its ability to sustain retail development.
Brokers also attribute the growth to a population increase in the area spurred by additional housing development. Others say access to K-96 is helping to increase visibility in that area.
Reed says the influx of recent activity along the Greenwich corridor is like a junior high dance.
“The music is playing but no one will dance until those first couples get on the dance floor and show everyone what a great time they’re having,” Reed says. “Before long, the dance floor is packed and you can’t get anyone to leave.”
The intersection at 13th and Greenwich has benefited from the additions of high-end car dealerships that are part of the Wichita Luxury Collection, such as Audi, Land Rover and Jaguar.
A Jaguar and Land Rover dealership is being constructed at 1525 N. Greenwich Road. That’s in the Berkeley Square development near 13th Street North and Greenwich.
In August, an Audi dealership opened in the same development.
Brokers point to the addition of Cabela’s at Regency Lakes as a turning point for commercial growth in northeast Wichita.
Occidental’s Stafford says the addition of Cabela’s has generated momentum for further commercial projects.
He expects that momentum will intensify with each new project, with continued improvement in the commercial real estate sector and with road construction improving access to the area.
The 2013 addition of Hobby Lobby was another win for Regency Lakes, brokers say, because it brought another high-profile business to that area.
Hobby Lobby joined Regency Lakes when the company relocated its east-side store from near 21st and Woodlawn. Now, Regency Lakes is moving into its next phase with the construction of an 11,375 square-foot building in front of the Cabela’s in that development. The mixed-use building will include spaces that are 1,625 square feet to 8,475 square feet. A McDonald’s also is under construction at Regency Lakes.
“The commercial market is better than it has been over the past four years,” Stafford says.
And northeast Wichita is reaping the benefits.
Interest in the area along Greenwich north of K-96 also has increased in recent years with several key additions, such as Surgicare of Wichita LLC, and planned projects including the Thunderbird Tactical Regional Shooting Complex and the Bliss Bouldering & Climbing Complex.
GoodSports Enterprises LLC has a fieldhouse project planned for the northeast corner of K-96 and Greenwich Road. Academy Sports and Outdoors has announced plans to construct a store on Greenwich, across from Cabela’s. That will be Academy’s second Wichita store.
“There’s demand for new retail development,” says Jeff Englert, a commercial real estate broker with NAI Martens. “I think [north Greenwich] is going to be a huge retail corridor.”