State plans to leave Finney Building downtown

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WICHITA, Kansas – State officials have notified the city of Wichita that they plan to vacate the Finney State Office Building downtown when the lease expires next year.

Kansas houses nine state agencies and more than 700 employees in the city-owned building.

“At this point we expect the lease to be terminated in September of 2014,” said Kansas Dept. of Administration spokesperson Chuck Knapp.

City officials have been negotiating with the state for nearly a year trying to convince the state to stay. And, in spite of the notice from the state, say negotiations aren’t over.

“We’re not done yet,” said Allen Bell, Director of Urban Development. “We’ll have continuing discussions with them in the very near future.”

The city and state worked together in the early 90s to turn the abandoned building on Broadway into state offices touting its central location and proximity to the city bus depot.

State leaders say the building no longer meets the needs of the nine agencies calling it home.

The Department for Children and Families, formally known as SRS, is the largest tenant. A spokesperson says the agency needs a larger lobby and no longer wants to have offices spread out over several floors.

“For workers and clients, having to go back and forth between multiple floors is a problem,” said Theresa Freed.

State officials say they’re currently looking for new locations for the nine agencies.

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