Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The keys to the Kansas Coliseum is now in the hands of a private developer.
Sedgwick County closed the sale of the building with Johnny Stevens Tuesday. The $1,462,487.12 deal includes the Britt Brown Arena and the Kansas Pavilions.
Stevens has said he will operate under the name "Kansas Coliseum LLC." All contracts and deposits for scheduled shows at the Kansas Pavilions will be transferred to the Kansas Coliseum LLC.
"I've been in the industrial real estate business most of my life, and I buy old buildings and recycle them," said Stevens. "I went out and looked at it, and noticed it was a free-span building with 50 ft. ceilings, and it intrigued me that it might be a great industrial building for someone who needs high ceilings and no columns."
Stevens' future tenant will be the National Institute for Aviation Research. Located on the campus of Wichita State University, NIAR provides research, development, testing and certification services to a variety of entities.
"We hope to see more industry up there. Once NIAR is up there and running, there are a lot of businesses that have already inquired about being near them, that are sort of off-shoots of what they do," said Stevens.
Although the future home of NIAR will be a locally-owned facility, Stevens says it will be known well beyond Kansas.
"This will be a world-wide known facility up there for them. You'll see businesses from all over the world come in there to have their products tested," said Stevens.
The 18 full- and part-time County employees who currently work for the Kansas Pavilions will receive reduction-in-force notices, benefits and support in the transition process according to normal County procedures.
The County budgeted approximately $500,000 in operational subsidies for the Kansas Pavilions for 2012, which will remain in the County's general fund. In addition, since the property is under private ownership, it will be returned to the tax rolls, which will result in property tax revenues.
Dave Unruh, Sedgwick County Commission Chairman, said he is pleased that Stevens will transform the Coliseum for future use.
"I appreciate that the pavilions will continue to operate and provide the accommodations that those shows and exhibitors require," Unruh said.