Study: Century II is holding the city back, Wichita needs new convention center

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Wichita, Kan. -- Is century II holding the city back from making millions? A recent study commissioned by the city says it is and the solution could be tearing the old building down and building a new convention center.

This is just the first phase of a multi-phase project but right now all they're looking at is what the city would have to do to bring more national conventions to Wichita. City leaders tell us what they found out is every year they do nothing, Wichita is losing out on millions of dollars in potential income.

It's hard to picture Wichita’s skyline without the century II but no matter how you feel about the 44 year old building , city leaders say it's holding the Wichita back from the millions of dollars that booking a national convention would bring in.

"These are the visitor that stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our retail stores so these are the outside dollars coming into the community,” Go Wichita President and CEO Susie Santo said.

The problem according to a recent study is other cities have raised the bar by building brand new, state of the art convention centers and Wichita just can't compete.

"There's lots of groups that want to come here but for whatever reason you're not meeting space, quality of space, and other types of standards related to the convention centers so there is to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year of lost economic activity,” Bill Krueger with Conventions, Sports and Leisure International said.

The city of Wichita has three options. First, do nothing. Second, keep the round building for performance arts but build a new convention center where the Bob Brown Expo Hall is. The third option is to tear it all down and build something new.

According to the study, by doing nothing Wichita will actually lose money in the future, Building a new convention center could bring in an additional 30 million dollars a year.

Now that phase one is over the next step is to start drawing up designs, seeing how much these projects would cost and start getting input from the community

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