New Co-working Business Space Coming To Wichita Firehouse

Sep 18, 2018

A former Wichita fire station is set to become the city’s newest co-working business center.

Wichita City Council approved the sale of the former firehouse at Topeka and Lewis streets at a meeting Tuesday.

Commerce Street Development Partners plans to convert the two-story brick firehouse into shared a office space for start-ups, freelancers, artists and businesses.

The new business will be called FireWorx.

"They will be providing that space for hourly, weekly, monthly leases for ... makers, entrepreneurs, as well as folks who maybe just need office space for a few hours downtown to conduct quick business," said Mark Elder, a development analyst with the city's economic development division.

The agreement calls for construction to begin immediately, with a completion date of about a year.

The company is buying the property for $100,000 and plans to spend about $1 million on the redevelopment project. The plan is to keep the key architectural details of the building while making updates.

The city put the former firehouse up for sale in January to help revitalize the area. Five proposals for the property were submitted. A committee narrowed the projects to two finalists and then recommended Commerce Street Development Partners for the purchase.

The 16,000-square-foot firehouse at 500 S. Topeka is near the Commerce Arts District and the south side of Intrust Bank Arena. City officials considered the property a “catalyst” site to help spur development of nearby vacant lots and existing buildings.

Most recently, the former firehouse served as a city maintenance facility. The property is eligible for listing as a historic landmark.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.