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Wichita Puts Firehouse Up For Sale To Spur Development

TopekaStreetFirehouse03.jpg
City of Wichita
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The city-owned former firehouse at 500 S. Topeka Avenue is considered a "catalyst site" for future development.

The city of Wichita is looking to developers to revitalize an area near the Commerce Arts District and Intrust Bank Arena.

TopekaStreetFirehouse02.jpg
Credit City of Wichita
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City of Wichita
The two-story former firehouse located at Topeka Avenue and Lewis Street is up for sale.

The city put a two-story former firehouse located at Topeka Avenue and Lewis Street up for sale to encourage interest and investment.

Assistant City Manager Scot Rigby says the city is seeking proposals to redevelop the firehouse property as well as nearby vacant lots and existing buildings.

"The goal is not simply to say 'What’s the highest price we can get?' We look at it as, 'What’s the best value we can get for the property?' in addition to the best revitalization of adjacent properties," Rigby says.

Rigby says the city is hoping future projects in the westward expansion of the Commerce Arts District include residential, office or retail spaces.

Most recently, the former firehouse served as a city maintenance facility. The building is about 16,000 square feet. The property is eligible for listing as a historic landmark.

Development in downtown Wichita is ongoing. So far, 61 projects totaling more than $524 million have been completed since January 2010. Another 10 projects worth about $100 million are currently under construction, with 11 more projects in the planning phase.

Most of the development near Intrust Bank Arena has occurred on the north side along Douglas Avenue. Rigby says it’s time the area to the south gets attention.

“I call it a 'plus-one' opportunity," Rigby says. "It’s not only this firehouse but also the surrounding area."

The city has marketed the property to local and regional developers and is looking for a development team with experience in multi-property developments involving both historic rehabilitation and new construction.

The deadline to submit proposals is March 2.

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

 
To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

 

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.