Cover photo: Spaces at Gomer’s Square are slowly filling up thanks to a new owner. Photo by Nicolette Vescovi.
Gomer’s Square: New Owner, New Tenants
By Brad Lucht
Gomer’s Square has a new owner with new tenants on the way.
Bakul Desai purchased the property in August. More accurately, he purchased the buildings located on the property, signing an 80-year lease with Theobold Family Trust. “They don’t believe in ever selling property,” Desai explained.
Desai came to this country in August of 1978 to pursue a Masters degree in civil engineering at Kansas State University. Upon graduating he was hired by HNTB as a structural engineer. He worked there for 31 years, retiring as an associate vice president in the bridge building department in 2011. While working as an engineer he acquired a few residential properties. It was after retirement that he started getting into commercial properties. Gomer’s Square is his third commercial acquisition.
“I was always fascinated with real estate. As a child, I wondered why they called it “real” estate. My last name, Desai, signifies my forefathers were big land owners in India. So maybe it’s in our blood,” Desai chuckled.
Desai emphasizes he is experienced in the business and wants to assure the community he is in it for the long term.
“We want to make sure all the tenants are happy and we do not want any marginal tenants, tenants that can bring nuisance to the community. For example, the Soul Lounge is no more.”
Desai also looks for tenants that are financially stable as well. Gone are the days of month-to-month leases. Three years is now the minimum, but he prefers a five-year lease with a tenant option.
“Anyone who was on a month-to-month lease, we give them a chance to enter a long term lease. Whoever did not want to do that, we asked them to leave. As a result we already have three new tenants.”
The first new tenant was Change Now Crossfit, which opened about two months ago. They have signed a long-term lease.
The next new tenant is Penny’s Street Tacos, expected to open in early June. This restaurant is owned by the same husband and wife team, Penny and Doug Mufuka, who run Thai House, also located in Gomer’s Square. Penny’s will take over the former Cookie Dough Madness space.
The third new tenant is Second Best Coffee, which will open their second location in the old Davis Family Dental space. “They are very, very popular amongst the millennials and teenagers,” Desai said.
Demolition has come to a halt at the location while waiting for the city to release permits. Bureaucracy permitting, the coffee shop will open sometime in late summer or early fall.
Soul Lounge finally closed about a month ago. It had been the source of numerous complaints. Desai says he is being very careful in choosing who will fill that location.
“We have a lot of interest in the restaurant/bar. Two candidates we are considering are people who already have one or two locations. So they are experienced in business.”
Desai has also spoken with the owner of Coach’s, but those discussions have been put on hold. “I would love to bring Coach’s here,” Desai said. “I told Block too; they are in contact with them.” In the meantime, Desai is spending $5K to clean up the property for the next tenant.
Never on Sunday
Expect to see changes at the Greek restaurant Never on Sunday as well. Having signed a nine- year lease extension, plans are in place to remodel the interior with Desai’s assistance.
Gomer’s Square is located at the SW corner of 99th and Holmes.