Wichita Council Selects West Bank Apartment Developers

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Wichita City Council selected the River Vista project developers to build an apartment complex on the southeast corner of McLean Boulevard and First Street, on the West Bank of the Arkansas River.

The Council approved the River Vista project by a vote of 4-2, with Mayor Carl Brewer and Council Member Pete Meitzner against it.

The River Vista is a 154 unit apartment project with a commercial building along McLean. The project also includes a boat and bike rental facility and 134 parking stalls for the general public.

The River Vista project team includes George Laham of Bradley Fair, Bill Warren of Warren Theatres, David Burk of Old Town, and Dave Wells of Key Construction.

"I feel strongly that the River Vista project is most consistent with the Downtown Master Plan, which has had public input from hundreds of Wichitans," said Council Member Janet Miller.

At this morning's council meeting, several people in the audience voiced their concern regarding the sale of land for $100,000. The property is valued at $611,769 by the Sedgwick County Treasurer's Office.

"This is taxpayers loss, that land was created under the new deal with taxpayer money and we just sold it for 47 cents a square foot to one of the same people who sold us land for $8.50 a square foot right next door," said Susan Estes of Americans For Prosperity.

The River Vista project will cost $24.7 million with $13 million in private debt financing and $6.4 million in private equity. Developers are asking for $2.4 million in TIF funding for parking and infrastructure improvements, as well as $2.5 million in STAR bond financing for river bank improvements.

The competing project, backed by Clark Investment Group and HCW, was a 140 unit apartment complex that included a boathouse to be used by Wichita Festivals and the WSU Rowing. The $17.8 million project asked for $1.6 million in TIF and $1.9 million in STAR bonds.

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