Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The planned Exchange Place apartments project is set to move forward again - now with a different developer.
The $65 million project involves converting the vacant buildings on the northwest and northeast corners of Douglas and Market into residential and commercial space.
Today, Wichita city council members voted to approve a new development agreement, which includes a new developer.
John McWilliams, president of Utah-based Talos Holdings, was recommended by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for his experience in developing multi-family residential projects.
According to city council records, the new developer was initially brought on by the previous project owner, Real Development, to help secure a nearly $36 million HUD-guaranteed loan.
"This project is going to be yet another catalytic project that moves downtown forward in a big way," said council member Janet Miller.
In 2007, developers proposed a 91-unit condominium complex with an adjacent 175-car parking lot. The agreement called for tax increment financing for a $6 million parking garage.
The project under the new developer calls for 230 apartment units, a TIF-financed parking garage with 225 stalls, and retail space that would include a grocery store. The city's commitment has since risen to $9.3 million in TIF funding, on condition that a HUD-guaranteed loan be secured.
City staff members said the new developer has experience with HUD financing and will be the sole owner of the property.
"I think this will make the project come alive. The HUD has had some requirements in order to get HUD financing, which is essential in this marketplace, because there is no other financing available," said Harvey Sorensen, attorney for the new developer.
Once legal documents and HUD loans are approved, construction will begin next summer.
The developer is planning for the apartments to open in the summer of 2015.