Built in 1963 for the Kansas State Bank & Trust, 125 N. Market in Wichita was once the largest office tower in town and it quickly filled with tenants. Due to its sleek polished granite exterior and fabulous 360-degree panoramic views it became one of the city’s most sought-after office addresses. With a covered skywalk across Market Street, the building was directly connected to a multi-block area of downtown businesses, banks and commerce.
Today, the 19-story high-rise is owned by Salt Lake City-based Security National Life Insurance Company, who has been working on extensive building upgrades including new spec suites, garage rennovations and a new 400 ton chiller. Next up they are replacing four passenger elevators at a cost of $800,000.
Elevator Solutions, a Wichita-based independent elevator contractor, is handling the 40-week project. One elevator at a time will be taken off-line for upgrades, with each elevator taking approximately 10 weeks to complete. This schedule ensures elevators are available and operating for tenants and guests throughout the upgrade process.
“The elevators are safe, but they don’t perform at the speeds and functionality we expect by today’s standards,” says Bryce Baker, Vice President of Real Estate for Security National Life Insurance. “We are eliminating the original, analog relay system and replacing it with microprocessor-based “smart” technology. The new system will improve the speed of each elevator and decrease wait times when someone calls an elevator to any floor. This improvement will enhance the overall experience in the building.”
As each elevator is taken off-line, it will receive a new digital controller, new wiring, and interior updates. New elevator button controls will be installed on each floor and inside each car. Each elevator will be made ADA compliant, including audio tones and timing devices as doors open and close.
In addition, elevator #2 will have new entrances opened on levels three and four of the building’s covered parking garage. This will give each level of the parking garage access to two passenger elevators and the freight elevator.
125 N. Market also has a service elevator, plus two additional elevators serving floors six through nine (the former hotel space of the building, which is unoccupied). Upgrades to these elevators will be reserved for later, Baker said.
According to Ben Boesen, President of Elevator Solutions, 125 N. Market is one of the largest elevator upgrade projects to occur in Wichita in the past 15 years, and the largest to date for his company.
Photo courtesy of Security National Life Insurance Company