A local development group wants to purchase the former Commerce Plaza building in downtown Wichita and convert the site into a Hilton Garden Inn hotel.
And the development entity, Wichita Downtown Hotel, wants the city’s blessing to create a community improvement district to help pull off the conversion.
City leaders on Tuesday approved a Sept. 6 public hearing to allow residents a chance to offer input on the matter. Following the hearing, the Wichita City Council could adopt an ordinance to establish the CID.
The proposed district would include the Commerce Plaza building on the southeast corner of Douglas and Topeka and an accompanying parking lot to the east.
In a CID, businesses charge an extra 1 to 2 percent tax on purchases to generate funds to support development costs.
In this case, Wichita Downtown Hotel is seeking a 1.5 percent tax that would expire 10 years after the commencement date. A not-to-exceed amount of $930,000 is being proposed, city documents show.
The entire cost of the proposed project is listed at $14.2 million.
Wichita Downtown Hotel wants to purchase the property at 401 E. Douglas and redevelop the site into a minimum 120-room hotel with at least 6,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and a rooftop bar, according to the proposal. The existing building would be renovated and expanded to the east to accommodate all of the hotel rooms.
The proposal, city documents show, also seeks industrial revenue bonds for a sales tax exemption, a parking agreement for an unspecified number of spaces in the State Office Building parking garage to the south of Commerce Plaza and an easement that would allow for the construction of a skywalk to connect the hotel and garage.
A development agreement is expected to be presented to the Wichita City Council Sept. 6.
Wichita Downtown Hotel would purchase the building from Seneca Property, a development entity including Brad Savilleand Nick Esterline, both of Landmark Commercial Real Estate. Commerce Plaza was purchased at auction for $671,000 in March 2015.
The building was put on the auction block after its previous owners, Les and Courtney Ruthven, decided not to convert the building into apartments.
Commerce Plaza was built in 1932 and remodeled in the 1970s.Montgomery Ward was in the building until about 1968.