Landmark Commercial Real Estate president Brad Saville likes to say that Wichita, a city with nearly 400,000 residents, has always had a small-town feel.
He also acknowledges the city is changing, especially downtown Wichita. Landmark’s planned $23 million Spaghetti Works development, announced earlier this month, is a big piece of the revitalization of the east-side of downtown.
The development would include a 41-unit apartment complex at the Spaghetti Works building, 619 E. William, and a build-out for retail and office space. It also includes a revamping of Naftzger Park.
What was the process like for planning this development? When we bought the property (in 2016), we had several ideas for it. We didn’t think that one idea was the only idea, so we just started studying all the different possibilities. This mixed-use project is what rose to the top. With the opportunity to work with the city on Naftzger Park, that made this project special and unique. Right now, people walking from Intrust Bank Arena to Old Town go around the park and we want to change that. There was a lot of architectural planning and construction estimating and weighing all that with the potential income to make the project feasible. We wanted something fun and exciting that people would like, but, at the end of the day, it still needs to be feasible.
With all the projects either being planned or constructed in downtown Wichita, what will the city’s core look like in a few years? The day of the Oklahoma/Wichita State basketball game, I was all the way to the north (in Old Town) by the movie theater and I saw lines of people walking with their Shockers gear on. I don’t think it was because they couldn’t find places to park closer to the arena, I think people are becoming more accepting of the concept of walkability. I don’t remember things being that way 10 years ago.
Landmark has been involved in a lot of retail-based projects over the years. With the economy changing and people shopping more and more online, how has your business changed? There’s been some exciting development in some areas, like Greenwich Place, but generally speaking, people feel like retail has slowed down a lot. It’s so competitive now and that’s partially related to the Amazon-effect. At Landmark, we built our business on retail so now we have to look at other things. Looking ahead, it would be foolish to put all our eggs in the retail basket. There’s still exciting retail projects happening here — places like Greenwich Place, Plazzio and Waterfront, which has had a heck of a year — but most have an entertainment aspect to them. Ten years ago, it was ‘hey, let’s build a retail center next to Walmart.’ Now, it’s about having an entertainment venue as the anchor, whether that be a movie theater or something like that.
You’ve been doing this for a long time, starting out in the commercial real estate business in 1991. What do you like about your job? Every day is a new adventure. Having the opportunity to really impact the landscape of Wichita is exciting to me. Being in this for so long, I still feel like Wichita is a small town. It’s pretty easy to do business here. We’re blessed to have a great team at Landmark.
A lot of people are talking about the Spaghetti Works project now that plans are out there and the city seems to be on board with offering some tax incentives. How excited are you? We’re really excited to finally get to where we are, especially since we have the support of the city and the support of the community. That City Council meeting (Dec. 19) was a big milestone. That area has been an eyesore for 15 years. It’s been slow coming over the last five years, but, gosh, downtown is desirable again. Companies are recognizing that millennials want to be downtown and I think it’s just great. I think we’re going to have several years of positive news downtown now that the ball is rolling. I really believe in what the city is doing — they’ve turned the corner and are supporting a lot of projects recently.
Article found @ https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2017/12/28/10-minutes-with-brad-saville-president-of-landmark.html