Unpaid utilities empties downtown building

Published On: Nov 15 2013 06:47:07 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 15 2013 06:49:09 PM CST

The guys who work at Snack Attack know about customer service. "They have my breakfast ready for me every morning," said 18 year customer Tanis Liton.

But they are not happy about what is happening to the building they work out of at 1st and Main. Manager Kurtz Poore says the building owner has not been paying the bills, so the gas company turned the heat off. "It's forcing people to leave and it's hurting business," he said.

The building housed all kinds of businesses, but in the past few weeks most moved out. "In my own opinion, it's kind of irresponsible on the owner's part for not paying the bills. We've been here 27, almost 28 years and this has never happened," said Poore.

It is not just the heat. The elevators and escalators were shut down, and people still there think it is only a matter of time before the lights go out. "If the electricity goes, then I've got all this food, all this product that I have to move," said Poore.

Snack Attack serves many people who work downtown and across the street at Cargill, but its biggest business came from those in and out of the Wichita Workforce Center. It took up a major part of the building that is now empty. "The facility at 1st and Main really served us well for many years. It's a beautiful building. Unfortunately the maintenance issues were just not taken care of as needed," said Amanda Duncan with the workforce center.

The workforce center had to move fast and split into two locations. "We just really appreciate the public being patient with us but thankful the service to the public has not been interrupted," said Duncan.

Many other businesses are still looking for a place to go. "I think it's sad. It's sad for downtown to have another big building sitting empty," said Liton.

"We're going to stick it out for as long as we can," said Poore.

Eyewitness News called the owner of the building, Joe Moosally, multiple times but never heard back. Property records show Moosally lives in Minnesota.

Workers at the Wichita Workforce Alliance say the building flooded multiple times this year, but the owner never made arrangements to cleanup or fix the problem. That service is now temporarily located at 1220 E. 1st Street.