WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Century II has been a staple of downtown Wichita for decades and city leaders are looking at a project that would transform it to keep it that way for future generations.

"It is important to us here in Wichita to balance our historical roots with our modern purpose and I think that we can thread the needle on a project like this," Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple.

Tuesday the Wichita City Council and the public got the first look at a proposed 400 million-dollar plan to renovate and modernize Century II, the Bob Brown Expo Hall, and the old downtown library building.

"What we've seen with the arena, downtown itself, Riverfront Stadium, hopefully, the Wichita Biomedical Center Complex, all of this coming together, it's just this amazing catalyst of energy that continues to stack on top of each other," said Wichita City Council Member Bryan Frye.

This is the first large-scale project to tackle re-designing Century II since the Riverfront Master Plan back in 2019. Visit Wichita estimates the city is missing out on 45 million dollars a year because the city lacks more modern convention space.

This project would fix that.

"This vision actually will put us on a map as like a destination for meeting planners to host their events and conventions, it really is actually going to transform the entire riverfront area," said Visit Wichita CEO Susie Santo.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple says today was the first conversation about this project and that the city needs to look at funding sources and get public feedback before going forward.

However, he and other city leaders are excited at the potential of finally getting started on a project like this. 

“It is absolutely transformational if we can pull it off," Mayor Whipple said. 

One other aspect of this project could hold it up for a bit. The city would need a new performing arts space since that part of Century II would be repurposed.

Mayor Whipple says the city would need a plan for that before anything goes forward.