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Downtown Wichita Living Tour

Posted on March 29, 2015 by under Life.    

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.

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  • Replies to "Downtown Wichita Living Tour"


    Jo Alonso  on March 30, 2015

    As always I like your blog the details are exactly what one wonders about. If anyone is considering about the possibility of residing in the area where you can work and play, I can always take you on a private tour.

    No yard work for you on the week-ends. Instead, you can walk to your favorite restaurants, retail shops and the movies

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