The city symbolically broke ground Thursday on a multimillion dollar project to renovate the old Spaghetti Works building and historic Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita.
Construction started in May on the project at Douglas and St. Francis, which will convert the vacant Spaghetti Works building into 41 high-end apartments, add 60,000 square feet of commercial space along Douglas Avenue and redesign Naftzger Park from its original Victorian look to a "modern, urban" area.
Mayor Jeff Longwell said the space will connect downtown Wichita and Intrust Bank Arena to Old Town, encourage walking and raise the aesthetic appeal there.
“This area has long been underutilized in our city, and this is a testimony to the crossroads that we’re currently at," he said.
The $23 million dollar Spaghetti Works development is the result of a public-private partnership between the city of Wichita and several developers, including TGC Development Group and Landmark Commercial Real Estate of Wichita, and Sunflower Development Group of Kansas City, Missouri. The Martin Pringle law firm is the first confirmed tenant in the development.
The project was the catalyst for the nearly $4 million in planned renovations for Naftzger Park next door, which is funded partly by a recent donation from Evergy, the new parent company of Westar Energy and Kansas City power and Light. The city and Tax Increment Financing will fund the rest.