Big plans for downtown Wichita calls for all developers

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The city is looking to revitalize downtown Wichita by putting an old fire station up for sale. The station is located south of Intrust Bank Arena, in the 500 block of South Topeka.

Right now, that entire area of Lewis and Topeka is pretty bland; not much to see there but city leaders are hoping the old saying goes: If you build it, they may come. They meaning developers and traffic to the downtown area.

“There’s a lot of vacant land and a lot of parking lots that really aren’t used for anything,” said downtown project manager, Scott Knebel. “The hope is this RFP for development would spur the development for not only the fire station but also development on the vacant sites nearby.”

Knebel says the city is currently accepting redevelopment proposals. The expansion is a part of 2010’s Project Downtown.

“The intention is that we make their land or facilities available for private development that would hopefully catalyze development on surrounding sites,” said Knebel.

This change could also affect existing downtown businesses like El Patio, a Mexican restaurant that’s been downtown for 20 years.

“It’s a good thing,” said Aliza Vasquez, an El Patio employee. “It will bring more people and bring new customers.”

KSN spoke with other local downtown businesses who agree with Vasquez, like a car dealership located near the fire station.

“More people means more businesses,” said Moe Chamey.

If you are interested in this project, the city has already started to market this location to a number of developers. March 2nd is the submission deadline. City officials will make a final decision this spring.


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