Design concepts for downtown Wichita feature options without Century II

Published: Nov. 14, 2019 at 4:09 PM CST
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We now have a better idea of what Wichita could look like along the Arkansas River in downtown.

Project Wichita will hold an open house Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, from 6:30-8 p.m., to go over three design concepts and two alternatives for the space.

The group says all of the designs feature significant green spaces for public gatherings, mixed-use space, restaurants and retail shops, as well as a pedestrian bridge connected to the west bank of the river.

There's also a plan for plenty of parking, including taking some spaces underground.

“It’s exciting to see the concepts include a new convention center, which would generate approximately $50 million in economic impact annually,” said Susie Santo, President & CEO of Visit Wichita.

The difference in the plans could impact the future of Century II.

Three of the concepts come with the removal of the iconic blue-roof building. The other two call for the performing arts center to be repurposed, including one option that "gives an open-air nod to the 50-year-old structure."

Project Wichita says the designs are "a culmination of five months of reviewing previous studies done of the area, along the Arkansas River to Main Street and between Douglas Avenue and Kellogg, as well as public input and market-driven analyses of what could be supported in the area."

Preliminary costs for the design concepts range from $970 million to $1.5 billion.

A final plan will be presented to the community in January 2020.

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