Wichita City Council to revisit deal to develop land around Riverfront Stadium

Nearly four years after the city entered into an agreement with developers, the land around the new stadium remains vacant.
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 6:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It has been more than four years since the City of Wichita first entered into an agreement to develop land around the Riverfront Stadium.

The location calls for a hotel along the river and across the street, a parking garage - which the city will eventually purchase, retail and in the most recent agreement - apartments. The problem is that development has yet to begin.

The city sold the land for $1 an acre to be developed. That deal goes back before the Wichita City Council next week for the initial developer to sell it back.

Mason Duchatschek likes to bike regularly along the river. He said the future of the area comes down to two priorities.

“The biggest thing that could be done to improve the usage of that amazing asset is keeping it cleaner and safer,” Duchatschek said.

The land is located in District 4, an area represented by Councilmember Jeff Blubaugh. He said he has questions about the future of the riverfront and who plans to develop it.

“I had a lot of questions: asking me if they were going to be paying a higher price. No, the city is going to be paying a dollar an acre, just like it was sold a dollar an acre. I’m optimistic we’ll be able to go through and get a development in there,” said Blubaugh.

In 2019, the city entered into an agreement with Wichita Riverfront LP. In 2022, EPC Estate Group joined, but last fall, WRLP, and EPC hit an impasse. Under the latest deal with the city, WRLP will sell the land back to the city, which will then sell it to EPC.

Blubaugh said with the revised agreement, his main concern is the parking north of the stadium to the Delano businesses.

“I want to ensure that we are honoring those agreements that we made to the public. Specifically, 75 parking spaces for the downtown Delano businesses today,” he said.

The public portion of this project is also growing. The TIF (tax increment financing) for public use portions will now raise from $8.6 to $11.3 million dollars.

“This has been months and months of negotiation, and it was kind of an eleventh-hour deal. That’s why I want to make sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed,” Blubaugh said.