For the first time in its 25-year history, Kobe Steak House of Japan is getting a second Wichita location. The restaurant is taking the former Tokyo Steakhouse space in North Maize Place on Maize Road just north of 21st Street.
"We've always wanted to go out there and never found the right opportunity," says Jim Hamlin, who is partners with Jim West in Kobe Management Inc.
"We feel like there's been some exciting growth both in retail and in population on the west side," West says.
The restaurant, which will be open by December, will seat 90 at its teppanyaki tables and another 40 or so in its lounge. That's slightly smaller than the Kobe at Carriage Parkway.
Brad Saville and Nick Esterline of Landmark Commercial Real Estate Inc. handled the transaction.
"We will be bringing the same cuisine and things we've done for years," Hamlin says.
"Kobe has become a tradition in Wichita," West says. "We're serving a third generation of customers."
West and Hamlin have owned the restaurant for six years and also have Kobe Steak Houses in St. Louis and Omaha.
They're looking for a new east-side location, too.
"We'd like to move our restaurant farther east," Hamlin says of the Carriage Parkway Kobe.
They'd prefer the Rock Road or Webb Road areas, and they'd like the chance to build their own building.
Over at North Maize Place, part of the appeal is that they wouldn't have to do much remodeling for their new space, which is part of what makes the move easier in tough financial times.
"If we were starting a new concept in a new area, it might be scary," Hamlin says.
But he says there's "great opportunity on the west side."
"It doesn't seem out of line to us at all."
A trip to the Gym
As Have You Heard? hinted last week, Bradley Fair's newest tenant is going to be Gymboree.
The San Francisco-based chain, which has 600 stores in the United States and Canada, sells children's clothing and accessories from newborn to age 12.
Gymboree is leaving its space in Towne East Square to move into 2,500 square feet of former Restoration Hardware space at Bradley Fair.
That still leaves 6,000 square feet of former Restoration space for what likely will be a single tenant.
The new store will open Oct. 23, which coincides with the 18th anniversary of Bradley Fair.
Hello? Hello, hello?
It's been one year almost to the day since Kelly Donham last talked with us regarding his plans to convert the former Caldwell-Murdock Building at 111 E. Douglas into a hotel.
Like last year, people continue to ask questions.
That's because Donham got as far as knocking structures down and putting a big hole in the ground, but not much further.
At the time he said the project was still going to happen, but he didn't know when.
Donham won't say. When we called to ask what's happening, he hung up.
You don't say
"We're maybe back to a 301(k) today."
_ Mark Ralston of AGH Wealth Advisors, who has joked about 401(k)s turning into 201(k)s during the recent financial crisis but felt a bit more optimistic after Monday's jump in the market