Redevelopment projects set to bring more people to downtown Wichita

Intrust Bank Arena (KSN file photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – The Shockers played at Intrust Bank Arena tonight, in front of a sold out crowd of more than 15,000 people.

The game caps off a busy week for the arena, which also hosted the Eric Church concert on Thursday and the Tran Siberian Orchestra on Friday.

“For the three days, we’re going to have more than 32,000 folks downtown at Intrust Bank Arena and we love that,” said A.J. Boleski with SMG Management.

It was music to the ears for Boleski.

Numbers released last month show the arena was operating at a $500,000 loss in the third quarter. However, Boleski says things tend to even out at the end of the year.

“We typically have a pretty busy 4th quarter next to our 1st quarter it’s typically our busiest we love to end it  with college basketball and of course we have Wichita Thunder hockey the rest of the month,” said Boleski.

While Intrust Bank Arena is seeing more foot traffic, other redevelopment projects are helping revitalize the downtown area.

The $54 million dollar Union Station project is set to break ground this Thursday. It will transform the abandoned buildings and surrounding area into retail shops and restaurants.

Just across the way, a private developer is aiming to spruce up the Mosley and Rock Island areas of Old Town. Transforming these buildings into shops with a courtyard and parking garage.

Wichita resident Kelly Laflin says events like the Shockers game today brought him downtown.

Coupled with the improvements set to be made to the area, Laflin says the money invested in these projects is worth it.

“Both the Intrust Arena bringing events down here that people want to see, gets people downtown and with places like Old Town, Delano being developed get people down,” said Laflin.

While a lot of money is being invested in the redevelopment projects, it’s not all at the taxpayer’s expense.

A Tax Increment Finance District, or TIF, was created for the Union Station in October.

The city will pay about a million and a half dollars to repave roads and sidewalks for the Old Town expansion.

 

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