By Sia Nyorkor
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
9:20 PM CST, January 4, 2013
(Bel Aire, Kan.)
A developer has big plans for an area just north of Wichita, a $500 million dollar entertainment center.
The City Manager of Bel Aire says the city's been waiting for the right project for a long time and this one could put his town on the map.
They're calling it the Caban Marketplace. It's a 500 plus acre project that promises new shopping, entertainment and even an aquarium near Rock Road and highway 254.
"We're not looking to create another shopping center that you can find on the east or west side of Wichita," says Thomas Blitz, developer for Kansas and Shopping Center Development & Consulting LLC.
The project is 2 years in the making. The City Manager says Bel Aire has never had a place for residents to gather. He's hoping that this center will create a sense of community.
"Bottom level you have your retail, coffee shop, your barber shops.Second floor you have more businesses like accountants and attorneys and then your third floor you have studio apartments, so you have that downtown feeling," says Ty Lasher.
The plan is to build most of the entertainment parts of the center, right along highway 254, an area that can handle the extra traffic.
But that plan is still in development. The City and developer are hoping to use STAR Bonds to help finance Caban Marketplace. STAR Bonds use sales tax revenue to pay for approved projects.. The city has also approved other incentives.
"If it doesn't happen, yes, it will have to be downsized to a certain degree, we are still going to build something that is what Bel Aire wants for their city center," says Blitz.
Either way, the city manager says it's a positive for everyone.
"Our goal is not to compete but to compliment what's already here." says Lasher.
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