McLouth couple buy former Ford garage
Tonganoxie's former Ford garage will be the new home of T.W. Ellis Construction Co.
On Thursday, Ted and Teri Ellis, who live near McLouth, became new owners of the 5,925-square-foot building and adjoining 7.5 acres. The property is on the north side of U.S. Highway 24-40, across the highway from Tonganoxie Junior High School.
Ted Ellis said his company installs commercial and industrial concrete. He and his wife plan to use the front part of the building for office personnel, and the back of the building for storage and a shop.
Ted and Teri are both from this area. Ted grew up in Merriam. Teri grew up in Bonner Springs. Her parents, Mary Ann and Gene Allen, live in Tonganoxie. Ellis said he had been in the construction business since the early 1970s, beginning when he worked for contractor John Rohrer in Kansas City, Kan.
Though the Ellis' construction firm, which has 50 to 60 employees, does some business out of state, most of its work, Ellis said, is in the Kansas City area.
"We've done quite a bit of work at the Legends (the new shopping area near Kansas Speedway) and we still have a quite a little bit left to do there," Ellis said.
His firm is affiliated with several unions, including the trade union, laborers' union, cement finishers and operators and bricklayers. And Ellis said, they use union iron workers.
It's possible, Ellis said, the firm will hire additional employees, including office workers and field supervisors.
Since starting their own company four years ago with three employees -- themselves and one other person -- Ted and Teri Ellis have seen their business grow.
The first year, Ted Ellis said, they did about $35,000 worth of business.
"We'll probably do more than $5 million next year if the economy stays good," Ellis said.
It hasn't been easy, he said.
"We've had to hustle," Ellis said, chuckling. "A lot of Rolaids."
Ellis said he and his wife paid about $700,000 for the property, which had sold for $579,555 at a foreclosure auction on June 23. The buyer at the county's tax sale was Sand Trap Properties, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bank, which also paid about $49,000 to cover back property taxes. At that time Craig Buckley, vice president of U.S. Bank's special assets department, said the bank had planned to list the building and land for its $745,000 appraised value.
The previous owners of the property, Sameer and Elizabeth Said, had attempted without success, to sell the property.
On Sept. 8, Sameer Said was murdered as he left a Lenexa restaurant near 87th and Hauser Court. Lenexa police detective Mike Lowther said last week there had been no arrests made in connection with the parking lot shooting of the 45-year-old Said.
Ted Ellis said the couple was interested in the property's investment potential. The property runs from the trailer business to the west and eastward to the street that runs beside the Sonic restaurant. But Ellis said they're not in a hurry to sell the property.
"We didn't purchase it to turn it quickly," Ellis said. "We just purchased it as an investment, and it's a good location for an investment."