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Report Shows Downtown Investment Is Paying Off

Wichita Downtown Development Corporation

An annual report indicates that public spending for downtown projects is only a fraction of what it was 10 years ago. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation has published its annual report on the growth of downtown. The data shows that in 2005, public investment in downtown projects was over $40 million. Last year, it was about $8.5 million.

Credit Wichita Downtown Development Corporation


Scott Keneble, with the Wichita-Sedgwick County Planning Department, says that’s because for now, the city’s largest investments, like the Hotel at Waterwalk, are behind them.

“That is the premise behind the Project Downtown plan: to build on past investments," Keneble says. "Private investment with continued but strategic and smaller scale public investments.”

Private investment was also down in last year, sitting at $21,870,693. That’s less than half of the private investment in 2013 and a quarter of the money spent in 2011.

Credit Wichita Downtown Development Corporation

Overall, the report points towards a successful decade of investments: both assessed and appraised property values in downtown Wichita are at 10-year highs, and a total of 263 new residential units opened in 2014, with 550 units under construction.

Downtown’s population sits at 1,872, with the most common resident being a single, highly educated young professional making $45,846 per year on average.

Downtown hotels have higher occupancy rates and produce more revenue than the overall average for hotels in the metropolitan area.

Riverfest attendance was up by 20,000 visitors in 2014, and the Orpheum Theater has increased their attendance by about 15,000 since 2010.

Despite low attendance numbers in 2014, the Intrust Bank Arena will be among the eight sites hosting the First and Second Round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.


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Follow Sean Sandefur on Twitter, @SeanSandefur