Brian and I had a blast touring the living options in downtown Wichita this afternoon. I’m glad we were able to squeeze it in between my 1 PM Zumba class and my group exercise staff meeting. It was a beautiful day for walking around downtown.
We were able to see all of the properties but one, Innes Station, before the tour ended. We didn’t really mind missing it because we had seen those units before through friends who had once lived there.
Our first stop was WaterWalk Hotel Apartments. True to its name, the units are very hotel-like. The two units on exhibit were both furnished nicely with contemporary furnishings that are streamlined with sleek lines. Bulky oversized furniture would not be a good fit as the living and kitchen area aren’t very spacious. Brian and I agreed it would be great for someone who travels a lot or won’t be staying for an extended period. The units would quickly feel cramped after living there a year. I did find the two bedroom floor plan ideal for a roommate situation because both bedrooms had attached bathrooms so you wouldn’t have to share the same bathroom with your roommate. The rooms are identical in size so there would be no arguing over who got the better space.
Next up, the Finn Lofts. Located behind the Intrust Bank Arena, the location is perfect. The units are small but the minimal design makes excellent use of the space. One of the units we looked at was very European in style with the toilet area separate from the shower area. Some of the units also have this weird atrium in the floor plan. At first I thought it was the apartment’s designated smoking area but Brian was quick to point out that smoking isn’t allowed in the property. I guess it would work as a good spot for an indoor potty area for your pets.
Commerce Street Lofts had one of the better units on display. The unit we looked at had a nice, open floor plan with awesome skylights that bathed the space in natural light. The living area had access to a huge deck, twice the size of the decks of most houses. Located just down the street from Finn Lofts, living at Commerce would also afford you access to many of the great amenities that downtown Wichita has to offer.
Out of all the places we looked at, Eaton Place was the most dated. The unit we looked at had a nice view of Douglas Avenue, but the hallway leading to the unit was very dark. The unit itself was small with a loft bedroom that offered very little in the way of privacy. Brian and I found the floor of the unit creeky and not level, probably a sign of the building’s age. Eaton Pace did have a nice common area with a pool table and nice comfy furnishings. The common area also seemed brighter than the hallways leading up to the units. The skylights make a huge difference.
The Piano Player Lofts are similar to Finn Lofts in style, minimalistic and seemingly European. The kitchen was modern and very IKEA.
The unit at Rock Island Lofts was pretty nice. I liked the two level unit because the entertaining space is separate from your private space. The kitchen was large with granite counters and open to the living area, which made it a great entertaining space. Brian and I liked the layout of the upstairs because there was potential for an office and lounging space up there, opposite the bedroom. I did not like the fiberglass corner shower in the large bathroom. The bathroom was large enough for a nice giant shower. It felt like they cut corners on the bathroom, which had so much potential. The location is also a little iffy because it’s right above the old Suede and Finns bars. I imagine it might be kind of noisy on the weekends unless they spent money on good soundproofing. Hopefully, they didn’t cut corners on that too — quite possible considering what they did to the master bathroom. The apartment would have been really awesome had the bathroom not been such a let down.
I really looked forward to seeing how the Lux had been renovated into residential living because I worked there for several years (from 2002 to 2008), before we moved our office to the Bank of America Building. There were two units on display: 5X and 5J. The bedrooms in both were small but not really that different from the other apartments we had toured. Space downtown is at a premium. The interior style reminded me of the European style we saw at Finn Lofts. The layout of 5X was similar to the unit we looked at at Eaton Place but the loft bedroom had taller walls and offered better privacy. It’s also more modern. The living space itself felt small though, with barely any room for a dining table. They did such a great job on the renovation. The entire place, including the hallways, looks so bright and modern. I also loved all of the outdoor spaces. The rooftop terrace is awesome and had a phenomenal view of downtown Wichita. You can even see my office building from there. The only thing missing was a rooftop pool. Access to a pool would have made up for the smaller living space.
We saved Flats 324 because we had seen it before, back in 2010 when we were looking for a place to rent after selling our old house. The building was an old high school (the original Wichita High School) that’s been converted into several apartments with unique floor plans. The boiler room (basement apartment) was the highlight of the tour and it was the exact unit that we considered renting before settling on Quarters at Cambridge. Despite the high price tag, we really thought about it because it was the coolest space we’d ever seen. Ultimately, pragmatism won. The two bedroom (with attached garage) townhouse we ended up getting at Quarters at Cambridge proved to be a far better value. Anyway, as cool as it would have been to live in “the dungeon” (as we had called it at the time), I don’t think Brian and I could have done the place justice because we don’t really have a great eye for interior decorating. The current owner did a fantastic job of defining the spaces and decorating the place. It looks amazing! The boiler room apartment at Flats 324 was a favorite of mine five years ago and, seeing it furnished, it’s even more impressive today.
We probably would have had time to look at Innes, but I didn’t want to be late for my group exercise staff meeting at Andover YMCA. We ended up getting there a half hour early because the meeting got pushed back to 5:30 PM. I’m glad that we planned ahead and pre-bowled for this Sunday otherwise I would have had to miss bowling completely because of the later meeting time.
Overall today worked out great! I hope everyone had just as fantastic a day as we did.
These crime maps from the City of Wichita are a little outdated but I think it’s a pretty accurate depiction of where crime is heaviest in this city. It sure doesn’t make me want to live downtown. LOL.
Brian found a dungeon at The Flats 324 that he really likes, though. He’s pretty sold on it. Hopefully it looks worse than it really is. From the looks of it, Old Town itself is pretty okay. It’s the areas adjacent to it that you have to worry about.
We tried to steal someone’s court tonight. Unintentionally, of course. We had reserved our racquetball courts yesterday morning. You have to call first thing in the morning when you wake up because they’re in such high demand. Anyway, I called and reserved Court A from 6p to 7p. Brian reserved Court B from 7p to 8p.
Tonight, after work, we decided to check out Flats 324. This is the old Wichita High School on 3rd and Emporia that got converted into apartments. We ended up spending an hour touring the place. It is so neat in there, I can’t describe it. All of the units have their own unique charm and they kept some of the school’s original features (clocks in the hallways, doors, shelving, lockers, etc) because it is a historic downtown building. That’s a whole other blog post, though.
Anyway, it was well after 6p by the time we got out of there and we still needed to run home and change. We weren’t concerned though, because we figured that even if we missed my court reservation we still had Brian’s. So we get, change quickly and arrive at the North branch YMCA at around quarter ’til seven. There was someone in Court B, but Court A was empty so we decided to start playing in there.
Around 8p these three guys showed up. We figured they had Court A reserved from 7p to 8p and we had Court B reserved at the same time so we could just do a switcheroo (pardon my technical term). So we continue playing and then a few minutes later, another guy shows up. He’s stretching and prepping as he patiently waits for us to finish our game. The problem is, we’d just gotten started with our second game.
BRIAN: I don’t know but he’s going to be waiting a while.
The guy is really bugging me. I mean, I feel kind of bad that he’s just waiting out there and we’ve got a ways to go before 8p. So a little bit later I go..
BRIAN: You should do it. You’re nicer than I am.
We continued to play on, while urging each other to do the asking and neither of us doing anything. I guess the guy finally got tired of waiting because he eventually caught our attention. He explained that he had Court A reserved from 7p to 8p. We were like, the guys in Court B have this court reserved from 7p to 8p and we have their court reserved from 7p to 8p so we just switched. So we tapped on the other court and confirmed that the other guys had Court A reserved and sure enough they said yes. It looked like the courts had gotten overbooked somehow. What a mess!
Anyway, we go to the front desk and try to sort this out. Sure enough, the three guys had their court and the other guy had his court. Brian and I were the odd ones out. Neither of our names were on the list. We searched and searched and even checked the morning and nothing. Uh-oh. Sounds like a service breakdown. The guy at the front desk was like, “Do you remember who you talked to?” We were like, “No. This has never happened before.” I’m not the type of person who throws a fit and starts getting ugly at other people so I’m trying to logically work through the situation in my head. In the meantime, the other guys are satisfied after being proven right.
As we walk back to get our stuff, feeling defeated, I’m thinking that the people at the Y are usually really good. I must’ve called a different YMCA. It’s not an unlikely scenario. We do rotate between three different branches after all. Brian felt sure that they messed up and we called the correct Y. I’m not so sure though, so I start checking my phone records.
There it was. January 28. I called North branch and then, immediately after that, I called the Andover branch. Just then a light bulb came on above my head. North Y told me they were completely booked so I reserved my court at Andover. Brian called the same number. We were at the wrong branch! LOL. Our courts probably sat empty for two hours at Andover. What knuckleheads we are…
Anyway, I’m glad that we didn’t know any better because we at least got one game in. Brian and I agreed that if we would have remembered that our court was in Andover that we might have decided not to go tonight because of the weather.
Brian won the first game 15-11 and we were tied in the second game 2-2 when we were interrupted. We agreed not to count tonight’s messed up session, though. I felt like we both lost tonight because we got kicked out of our court, which was not really our court.
The guys were really nice, though. After waiting patiently for us jerks to pay attention to him, the guy’s buddy actually offered to let us stay and play doubles with them. He was like, “You drove out in the snow to come play so you obviously want to.. You’re welcome to come play doubles with us.”
OTHER GUY: We can split up.
ME: It’s okay. Thank you for the offer, though.
BRIAN: Yes. Thank you.
“We’re just going to go drive home now,” I said as I fake-smiled and waved goodbye to both of them. Deep down I was extremely disappointed at having the opportunity to kick Brian’s butt at racquetball yanked away from me. It must be his lucky day.