Entrepreneur | WStudios21

Entrepreneur to build apartments at Woodlawn and K-96

Entrepreneur Abdul Arif and a group of local investors have bought 2 acres on the northwest corner of Woodlawn and K-96 and plan to build apartments aimed at international students.

Arif said the project will be 140 units in three, three-story buildings to be named Maghreb Place.

If the $6.8 million project is approved, he expects to break ground in October and open in June or July. He said he has submitted a site plan to the Wichita Area Planning Department.

Arif, originally from India and a long-time business owner and attorney in Wichita, served most recently as executive director of the South Central Kansas Executive Development District. He said he recently chose not to renew his one-year contract with the organization to pursue other opportunities.

Maghreb Place, he said, will be marketed to Wichita State University's Middle Eastern students. The Maghreb is the name of the region of mountains and coastal plains of Morocco and Algeria. The project is adjacent to the Islamic Society of Wichita, on 34th Street, although the two have no legal or financial connection.

Many of the international students now live in older housing near the WSU campus or in other apartment complexes. He said he will put in a hooka bar, outdoor kitchen, chairs and artificial palm trees on the roof, so the students can hang out and watch the cars on K-96 whiz by. It will feel just like home, he said.

"In a nutshell, 3,400 international students live off-campus, and I just want 10 percent of them," he said. "That is my elevator speech to the investors. They loved it and wrote some big checks."

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

This story was originally published September 10, 2015, 10:05 AM.