Former Moon Bar building, land for sale

Site of stabbing marketed for possible offices, apartments

The scene of an altercation that left several people stabbed and helped send a one-time Kansas University basketball star off campus is up for sale.

List price: $1.249 million.

The former home of Moon Bar, 821-831 Iowa, is being marketed as a potential doctor’s office, restaurant or apartment complex – anything but a drinking establishment. The listing comes four months after highly touted shooting guard J.R. Giddens was stabbed in the bar’s parking lot following an argument inside.

Now that Giddens is gone – he has transferred to the University of New Mexico – the property’s owners are hoping to sell the building and adjacent land and get out of the property-management game.

The bar closed in July.

“I’m just tired of leasing to other people,” said restaurateur Xin Li “Sonny” Liu, one of the building’s four owners. “I just want to get rid of it.”

The property’s list price is nearly double the $660,630 valuation assigned to the property by the Douglas County Appraiser’s Office for tax purposes.

The building that had been home to the Moon Bar, 821 Iowa, is for sale. The bar closed in July after a stabbing incident left several people injured, including then-Kansas University basketball player J.R. Giddens.

That’s because the site is being sold as more than a 4,200-square-foot building and an adjoining parking lot, said Heather Kirchhefer, a Realtor with Realty Executives Hedges Real Estate, who is marketing the property.

The property includes space out back – with a view of Centennial Park – that could be developed into apartments, she said. There are plans on file to allow for construction of six apartments, each with up to three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

“I get at least three calls a day on the property, and I’ve showed it several times,” Kirchhefer said. “A lot of people are interested in it for different reasons.”

Among the potential players she’s heard from: a dentist, an optometrist, several developers, a landscaper and the owner of a Mexican restaurant considering another location.

“Nobody who calls me asks about what happened there,” Kirchhefer said. “They’re looking to buy it for a variety of reasons.”

Liu and three family members bought the property in January 2003 and soon opened the Moon Bar, which would become popular among Asian students and others by featuring private karaoke rooms. But Liu said that he got out of the bar business in April by leasing the place to another operator.

“I don’t have time to take care of it,” said Liu, an owner of Royal Peking and TryYaki restaurants near 23rd and Louisiana streets, plus two other Chinese restaurants in Manhattan. “In the beginning, I wanted to build apartments there, but I’m too busy. It’s a very cool location. A lot of people like it – it’s near the park. It’s near Iowa Street.”

Liu said he wouldn’t mind if the place became a bar again, but acknowledged that such a business would be difficult, given the intense competition already posed by established bars in town.