Lane4 announces new tenant at South KC Block Party
By Kathy Feist
Photos by Bill Rankin
Owen Buckley, president of Lane4 Property Group, looked over the crowded parking lot at Red Bridge Shopping Center on Saturday, October 14, and announced,” When I pulled up here today, this is what I would have expected five or six years from now after the center is full,” he said about the large turnout. “This community continues to amaze us with its passion for its neighborhood.”
It was 11:30 a.m. The parking lots surrounding the shopping center were full. Long lines had formed in front of the food trucks. Families visited booths that circled the center. But many people had gathered in front of the Premier Mazda Entertainment Stage. They were there to hear a different announcement Buckley was about to make.
“About 30 years ago when I was just getting started,” Buckley said promising to keep the story short, “I got a phone call from a gentleman named Ron Hendrix.
“Ron was calling me from Phoenix, AZ, where he managed and operated a breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant called The Good Egg.”
“He said, ‘I’m flying up to Kansas City. I know Kansas City pretty well. I know where I want to go. I want to go to 95th & Metcalf,'” Buckley recalled. “I want to open a restaurant there called First Watch.”
“I met Ron and helped him secure the location. He went on with a group of people and they took First Watch to a whole other level,” he said. “They’re a national company now.”
“Ron is very entrepreneurial obviously,” Buckley continued. “He has some restaurants of his own and some kids of his own.”
“Rebecca, his daughter, and Ron are going to open up Caleb’s Brunch and Lunch in the former Bruce Smith Drug Store space,” he finally announced to much applause.
The restaurant will occupy 5000 sq. ft. of space and serve classic breakfast and lunch items from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is planned to open in early 2018. Hendrix will have two children in the restaurant industry: Rebecca Hendrix Huntsman and his son Dave Hendrix who runs a restaurant in the northland and Lenexa.
The announcement of Caleb’s follows on the heels of the Crows Coffee announcement in September. With Blue Moose, Silks & Poles Aerial Fitness, Euston Hardware and SERC Physical Therapy, plus Blue Bicycle’s and Edward Jones’ expansions into neighboring spaces, the center is now at 80 percent occupancy. When Lane4 purchased the property almost two years ago, it was at 40 percent.
After the announcement, some of the crowd dispersed to take part in the rest of the festivities. The Center Elementary School began to sing “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Gringo’s BBQ announced they were out of pulled pork at 1:15. Intermittent bursts of rain threatened to spoil the day, but held off until after the event was over, around 3 p.m.
This was an inaugural event sponsored by the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. And judging from the community response, it will be the first of many.