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Wichita City Council Approves Tax Incentive For New Downtown Hilton Hotel

commerce_plaza.jpg
Nadya Faulx
/
KMUW
Commerce Plaza at Douglas and Topeka will be renovated into a new Hilton Garden Inn.

A new hotel is coming to downtown Wichita. As KMUW’s Nadya Faulx reports, the project has some controversial backing from the city.

The Hilton Garden Inn will be built at Douglas Avenue and Topeka, where the current building, Commerce Plaza, has remained vacant for years.

The Wichita City Council voted Tuesday to create a Community Improvement District in support of the hotel and retail center. It will add a 1.5 percent sales tax on all purchases made there for 10 years, generating up to $930,000 to help pay for the project. The total $14.4 million project includes the 120-room hotel, 6,000 feet of commercial space, and a rooftop bar, as well as a new parking garage with a skywalk connecting the hotel and parking area.

The Downtown Development Corporation says revenue generated by the hotel will benefit downtown and Wichita as a whole. But City Council member Bryan Frye and Mayor Jeff Longwell tried to block the tax incentive, with Longwell saying downtown might not need the extra help.

“I’m excited about this project, but I’m not excited about handing a CID over to them," he said. "Because I think downtown has reached a point where it can live on its own.”

Wichita Downtown Hotel LLC, the developer behind the project, is made up of Minhas Ladiwalla, Dr. Subhash Shah, Raju Sheth and Mitesh Patel. They plan on having the hotel open in time for the 2018 March Madness tournament.

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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