BrightWater Bay is Wichita’s new vacation-staycation combination | The Wichita Eagle

How is it possible to take a vacation and a staycation at the same time?

Jeff Lange has the answer.

His Lange Real Estate is kicking off the new BrightWater Bay 90-acre lake development near I-235 South and West Street, which will be available to rent by the hour, day or week.

"It’s a way to vacation without leaving town," Lange says.

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"It’s amazing how it just feels," he says. "As soon as you drive through the gates, it’s just like, ahhh, now this is relaxing. It just feels like you’re on vacation. It’s really cool."

The development follows the announcement of Lange and Triple Crown’s new Steeple Bay development where Camping World and Gander Mountain are going to open.

"BrightWater Bay is the next thing," Lange says.

"Kind of another high-profile property with water," says Jeff Lowrance, Lange Real Estate’s property development manager.

"Now is the time to start letting the world know about it," Lange says. "Springtime’s coming. It’s a good time to be thinking about a lake and all the activities that can happen out there, so here we go."

The 44-acre lake, which used to be known as Keeler Lake, is at 4900 W. 31st St. S., which is the northwest part of what Lange is calling the CrossGate District. Its boundaries are I-235 on the north, I-35 on the east and the Big Ditch on the west and south.

"We don’t see in this market where there’s really a lake to do what we’re doing," Lange says.

The property, which has not been open to the public in recent years, has an event venue and house along with amenities such as tennis and pickleball courts, horseshoes, shuffleboard and a basketball goal.

The house will be able to sleep up to nine people.

"It’s being completely renovated," says Rachel Lange, Jeff Lange’s daughter who also works at his company.

The renovation includes new large windows and a lot of glass facing the water.

"So all of a sudden now . . . it is part of the lake," Jeff Lange says.

Eventually, the venue will be renovated as well, but Rachel Lange says they want to see what visitors’ needs are first.

"We’re not going to do a ton of work on it this first year."

Visitors can rent the buildings individually or together along with the entire lake.

"You could act like you own it," Jeff Lange says.

Rachel Lange says the venue will be ideal for corporate gatherings, family reunions and other parties.

"Have your own retreat within the city," she says. "So you don’t have to travel all the way to Table Rock or even Cheney and load your boat and everything up."

The lake can have up to four watercraft at a time.

There are new docks, and a boat slip has been renovated.

There will be boat and jet ski rentals eventually.

"We’re working with a dealership that we hope to announce here soon that is actually going to look at relocating here to this site, and then we’ll create a little mini marina," Jeff Lange says. "That way you don’t need to own anything."

Also still in the works is a new entry point to the property.

"Right now the access is limited," Jeff Lange says.

Visitors have to go through the Blue Lake neighborhood. Jeff Lange says everyone — from neighbors to his company to the city — would prefer the entrance be off of K-42 to the north.

Lowrance says BrightWater Bay fits into Lange Real Estate’s bigger plans for the CrossGate district.

He calls the development "kind of a continuation of this family-friendly theme that we’re doing again and again in the CrossGate District. It’s a thumb-free zone where your kids can go do something that doesn’t involve an iPhone or a video game."

In an interview with Lowrance and Jeff and Rachel Lange, Lowrance also pointed out that the lake is hardly just for kids.

"Somebody in this room has been taking jet ski lunches," Lowrance says, looking at Jeff Lange.

"I have a picture of that," Rachel Lange says of her father. "In his business outfit. In his slacks."

Jeff Lange admits to taking some work breaks to enjoy the lake since buying it last year.

He says it’s a business venture for him along with "a cool spot to slip off to."

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.

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