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Wichita City Council signs off on first Riverfront Stadium development project

Rendering of office and retail space near Riverfront Stadium in Wichita.
DLR Group
Rendering of office and retail space near Riverfront Stadium in Wichita.

Construction will begin next July on the first commercial development plan near the new baseball stadium.

The Wichita City Council agreed to a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with Wichita Riverfront LP and EPC Real Estate on a development project near Riverfront Stadium.

The groups intend to build a 150-room hotel and a 200-space parking garage with free parking next to the stadium. The plan also includes a 55,000-square-foot office building with retail space on the ground floor.

“This is … step one that allows the process to continue on,” Assistant City Manager Scot Rigby told council members. “It can start design efforts.

“I think the other critical part is it provides (the developers) the ability to return … to the state and say we have a project ready to go, we have the initial approval from the city to move forward with the efforts.”

Developers of the project are seeking $4 million from the state through SPARK, a state committee that oversees how money from the American Rescue Plan Act is allocated.

In the memorandum, if the project does not secure funds through SPARK, the city will identify up to $3 million in its budget to use.

Wichita Riverfront LP includes the ownership group of the Wichita Wind Surge baseball team.

City officials hope the project, which was delayed by the pandemic, will spur additional development near the stadium.

Delano United, a neighborhood group, opposed the development’s current plans due to the size of the project.

“We have one obvious tall building,” Delano United Vice President Vincent Hancock said of the area. “It’s Friends University. It’s been there since the late 1800s. … It is five stories tall, not six. Not eight.

“So to say that a… six-story office complex or an eight-story hotel is in character with the neighborhood is a flat out lie.”

Construction is expected to be completed by July 2024.

Kylie Cameron (she/her) is a general assignment reporter for KMUW. Before KMUW, Kylie was a digital producer at KWCH, and served as editor in chief of The Sunflower at Wichita State. You can follow her on Twitter @bykyliecameron.