Michael Ramsey of Bokeh Development, Wichita, Kan., had the ambitious idea of turning an old, obsolete, concrete parking facility in downtown Wichita into a cool, modern, mixed-use apartment building.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, Broadway Autopark (originally called Knightley’s Parking Garage and built in 1949) has been reimagined and repurposed from its original heritage as a 500-car parking garage into a 44-unit, trendy, urban, residential and commercial complex—becoming a community asset to downtown Wichita.
Farha Construction Inc., which was the contractor on this project, now leases the office space on Broadway Autopark’s ground floor. The next four levels are one-bedroom apartments. Residents get the best of both worlds: covered and secure parking directly in front of their door, plus the convenience of living downtown. Each unit is a modern, industrial, open-concept living space with amenities any urban dweller would desire.
The arrival of the automobile in the first decade of the 20th century played a significant role in Wichita’s growth. By 1923, one in five Wichita residents owned an auto, making downtown congestion and parking top concerns for city leaders. With its diversified industrial economy, Wichita weathered the Great Depression and WWII. Following the war, its population returned to wartime highs and the city nearly doubled in size. The post-war growth heightened the struggle between needing cars to bring people to shop and work downtown without overburdening city streets.
Local oilman D.R. Lauck realized the multi-level parking garage could address the challenge of congestion by removing parked vehicles from busy streets and making efficient use of downtown real estate. Upon opening in March 1950, Knightley’s Parking Garage was proclaimed as a civic and commercial asset to Wichita, providing a much-needed service to downtown businesses and customers: the ability to park and shop or work in close proximity to the destination. The garage is a rare surviving example of a post-war, privately owned and attendant-operated garage, in contrast to self-park garages that became dominant in the 1950s. A dual-function facility, the garage also served as the offices of Lauck Oil Co. for more than 25 years.
Knightley’s Parking Garage also is an excellent representative of the multi-story parking garage, a unique Modern building type characterized by its open-air design, its concrete construction and its minimalist exposed skeletal structure distinguished by horizontal banding. The garage featured parking on the roof deck, a novelty for the city. Other distinguishing features were its twin spiral ramps, porthole windows, integral flared canopies at the perimeter rail and the 4-story neon “PARKING” sign on the Broadway façade. Incorporating the latest advances in concrete construction, Wichita’s largest parking garage (at the time of construction) reflects the convergence of architecture and engineering in a modern building form. The garage featured twin spiral towers and porthole windows and had the capacity to hold 500 cars. All these unique features remain, including the manlift that allowed parking attendants to move themselves between floors. Although, no longer functional, the manlift remains as an artistic and aesthetic part of the building.
In the 1950s, wealthy Wichitans would drop their cars off with a valet at the garage before going shopping downtown. As customers shopped, downtown merchants would ship their purchases to Knightley’s Parking Garage. An advertisement of the grand opening of Knightley’s Parking Garage in 1950 announced an air-conditioned waiting room, restrooms and parcel storage. There was also a safe used to guard valuable purchases.
The garage was open 24/7, 365 days a year until the early 1980s when it closed because there no longer was demand for valet parking services. The building owner unsuccessfully tried to make conversions so the garage would be self-parking; however, the facility sat vacant and trash-filled for the next few decades until Bokeh Development acquired the building in 2016. The garage was in rough shape—not structurally but cosmetically. There was trash everywhere and graffiti all over the walls.
After it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the renovations began. Inside the office area, crews found parking tickets they estimated had been on the ground 30-plus years. The renovations took a little more than two years to complete. Continue reading the full article in Retrofit Magazine
Architect: Shelden Architecture Inc., Wichita, Kan.; Stan Shelden; Daniel Gensch
Developer: Bokeh Development, Wichita
General Contractor: Farha Construction Inc., Wichita
MEP Engineers: Integrated Consulting Engineers Inc., Wichita
Structural Engineers: Hartwell Structural Engineering, Wichita, (316) 683-6644, and MKEC, Wichita
Historic Preservation Specialist: Spencer Preservation, Wamego, Kan.
HVAC Subcontractor: Waldorf Riley Heating & Cooling, Arkansas City, Kan.
Electrical Subcontractor: Tejeda Electric, Wichita, (316) 832-9558
Sign Refurbishment: Ron’s Sign Co., Wichita
As the educational facilities within Kansas’s Dodge City United School District aged, teachers and students noticed the impact the buildings’ noisy HVAC systems had on the overall classroom experience. The district decided to solve the problem by equipping the schools with sustainable HVAC systems using geothermal technology. The energy efficient solution is expected to provide students with a better education experience, via a quiet environment, while simultaneously reducing the district’s utility bills.
“We work every day to conserve energy,” said Morris Reeves, the district’s energy manager. “Energy conserved is more money for the classroom—that is what we are all about. Ultimately, we want to improve the teaching environment.”
With 10 schools to renovate, the district opted to work on one facility per summer. In 2012, they set their sights on Central Elementary School, a 3252-m2 (35,000-sf) building located in the center of Dodge City.
“[Central] is a two-story brick building constructed in 1927, and....Read the full article The Construction Specifier
In some bigger cities, Michael Ramsey’s concept is the stuff of urbanists’ dreams.
Sure, the concept of living in a parking garage has been tested in Atlanta, but no one has completed a retrofit that quite mirrors the scale of Wichita’s Broadway Autopark.
Over the span of the past two years, Ramsey and his Bokeh Development team have converted a neglected downtown parking garage at 303 S. Broadway into 44 high-end apartment units.
The apartments-in-a-garage officially opened on April 1, and about 20 of the units are already leased or pre-leased, according to Brittany Wahlers, assistant property manager at Broadway Autopark.
Read the full article and take a look inside and apartment in Wichita Eagle
t's not every day that a new building is built from the ground up in Delano, one of the older parts of Wichita, but that's what's about to happen at 559 W. Douglas.
Hayes Co. is building the 9,400-square-foot building.
"We are going to build some of it for us and some of it for lease," says president Will Hayes.
The company, which provides supply-chain solutions for retailers, has an office next door at 567 W. Douglas.
Read the full article in the Wichita Eagle
Since the successful opening of Wichita’s third Doc Green’s Gourmet Salads & Grill near Central and Hillside a year ago, owners Tammi and Scott Kuthan continue to hear a request that they didn’t hear when they opened their restaurant on the east and west sides.
“Why are you not coming to Derby?” customers asked, Tammi Kuthan says.
She and her husband had been looking at Derby and south Wichita, but the requests made them select Derby.
“Derby is growing, and to us, it just has that hometown feeling to it, and we feel like we will just be a great fit,” Kuthan says.
At 3,170 square feet, the site is slightly larger than the College Hill Doc Green’s, which is the largest of three open so far.
Read the full article in the Wichita Eagle
Wichita attracts its share of musical acts, but there are still a lot of concerts it misses.
That's likely about to change with Wave, an indoor-outdoor concert and event venue that promoter Adam Hartke and a group of businessmen are planning along with a beer garden and food truck area near the northeast corner of Second and St. Francis.
Wave, which has a capacity for 3,300 people outside and another 500 indoors, is named in part for sound waves and light waves since multicolored projections will feature prominently in its design.
"It's going to be kind of a sensory experience," Hartke says.
There will be what he calls an "industrial, futuristic" look with metal, concrete, wood and shipping containers.
"It's more of a 'Star Wars' meets 'Mad Max' type of venue."
Hartke says the beer garden, which will have craft beer mostly if not entirely from local breweries, features in the name as well with "a nod to Kansas with amber waves of grain."
There will be space for four food trucks, which can be there even when concerts aren't, along with barbecue from B&C Barbecue, lawn games and eventually a deck.
"I'd been thinking about an outdoor venue for years and years," Hartke says. "We've never had a legitimate outdoor venue."
Wave will have "a full-blown stage with rigging and lighting," says partner Dave Wells, who also is president of Key Construction. "This is the real deal."
Read the full article here in the Wichita Eagle
We're always growing and reaching out into our community. Read how we've added new employees over the past year in the Wichita Business Journal.
Integrated Consulting Engineers are proud to be a part of the planning and development of the new innovation campus at Wichita State University. Read the full article in on WSU's website.
We are pleased to be among the forty companies in the Wichita area who are finalists in the 2017 Best Places to Work program. This is the fourth year that ICE has received this honor. Read the full article in the Wichita Business Journal