WICHITA, KS-In the past two years, Real Development Corp., based in Minneapolis, has purchased 1.3 million sf of office space in the local area, and has worked on redeveloping the assets for their best use. The project is part of a master plan to bring multi-story mixed use, including office, retail and housing, to the Downtown Wichita area. The next phase will cost roughly $109 million, and a third phase will encompass an entire city block, says partner Michael Elzufon.

The company has already turned about 240,000 sf into multifamily uses, including a 29-unit condo called the Lofts at St. Francis. The company was going to build another 92-unit condo project, but the market shifted, Elzufon tells GlobeSt.com. “We really didn’t think that was really answering the marketplace,” he says. “We took a step back at the beginning of the second quarter. We needed to have 50 pre-sold in a market where there’s not that many cranes up. We decided to go with 150 to 175 rental units.”

Also, Real is spending several million dollars on renovations to its new office buildings, including $2.5 million on Broadway Plaza, and more on the 19-story, 214,000-sf SC Telcom building and the 95,0000-sf Sutton Place building (being renamed the Wichita Executive Center). “For two years we bought a whole lot of property, worked out some of the kinks and are producing some viable product,” Elzufon says.

Now, he says his company is working to get the word out about the space he has to offer. Some efforts have already been rewarded. His company has signed 32 new leases in its eight office buildings, for more than 100,000 sf, since June. “As we go forward, the big focus is to really get out and do a good job educating the business community,” he says. The firm is opening up a leasing office in Broadway Plaza. “We’ve been flying down every few days for months now, but we’re really going to put our feet on the ground. We’re ready to go the second phase.”

The next phase includes even more development, including a 250-unit high-rise multifamily property, 160,000 sf of office and 60,000 sf of destination retail, Elzufon says, just part of large development plans the company has for the Downtown. The next phase will cost about $109 million, he says. “There’s a significant amount of the downtown core that we intend to introduce as a new multi-block neighborhood, with several hundred units of residential, office and mixed-use space,” Elzufon says. “In Wichita, for us, it’s about the challenge, the unique opportunity to be instrumental in redefining the Downtown.”

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