Coalition Releases Scenarios For Riverfront Development

Nov 14, 2019

There’s still a chance Century II will remain a part of Wichita’s skyline — just not as a performing arts or convention center.

The coalition of community groups developing a new plan for Wichita’s riverfront has released five design concepts as it works toward a final recommendation for the future of the downtown east bank. In three of them, the round, blue-domed building — and the former Central Library nearby — is removed to make way for more green space along the river. In the other two, Century II is repurposed, its shell remaining on the site in one form or another.

A matrix of investments, costs and returns for the scenarios.

Members of the design firm Populous presented the designs at a public meeting Thursday night. The plans show loose sketches of new buildings along the river, likely a mix of commercial, residential and retail. All of the scenarios include a pedestrian bridge, and new performing arts and convention centers.

The coalition and Populous members have gathered public input and market data over the last five months to guide the scenarios. Planners say costs will range between $970 million and $1.5 billion.

The riverfront legacy group will give its final recommendation in January.

The scenarios

Scenario 1A (Cost: $1 billion-$1.5 billion)

Century II will be torn down, leaving space for a civic park. A new performing arts center will be built on the site of the former Central Library, and a new convention center goes in just south of it. Gander Mountain and the Boathouse will remain.

Scenario 1A

Scenario 1B (Cost: $1 billion-$1.5 billion)

Century II and the old library are torn down, as are Gander Mountain and the Boathouse. New buildings and additional green space take their places.

Scenario 1B

Scenario 2 (Cost: $970 million-$1 billion)

The main feature in this scenario is the expanse of green space stretching down from Douglas to Waterman. Century II is a goner, but the old library will remain intact and repurposed. A new performing arts center goes in blocks away from the river, with a convention center getting a riverfront view. Gander Mountain and the Boathouse both remain.

Scenario 2

Scenario 3A (Cost: $970 million-$1 billion)

Century II is repurposed and surrounded by green space. A new convention center is built east of the Hyatt Regency, and a new performing arts center is built along the river. Under this plan, the old library is repurposed, and both Gander Mountain and the Boathouse remain as they are.

Scenario 3A

Scenario 3B (Cost: $1 billion-$1.5 billion)

Century II is repurposed as an indoor-outdoor space. The former library, Gander Mountain and the Boathouse all remain. A performing arts center goes in along the river, and a new convention center goes in by the Hyatt and the old library.

Scenario 3B