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Council moves $23 million Spaghetti Works development project along

Tuesday, December 19 2017 3:23 PM
By   –  Reporter, Wichita Business Journal

The Wichita City Council on Tuesday moved forward plans for a $23 million mixed-use development around the Spaghetti Works building downtown.

In a 6-1 vote — District 5 Councilman Bryan Frye dissented — the body agreed to accept a petition for a community improvement district. A public hearing was set for Jan. 9.

The development would include apartments at the Spaghetti Works building, 619 E. William, along with a build-out for retail and office space. A development group that includes Nick Esterline of Seneca Property LLC and Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate plans to turn the Spaghetti Works building into a 41-unit apartment complex.

They also plan to build for 8,000-square-feet of retail space and another 27,000-square-feet of Class A office space that would face Douglas Avenue and sit adjacent to Naftzger Park, according to city documents. That build-out would need to be completed within an 18-month period from the final development agreement.

Developers have plans for an additional 25,000 square feet of commercial space that would come during a future phase of the project. That addition, according to city stipulations, would need to be completed within five years of the final agreement.

"I'm so glad we're here to talk about this project," said District 1 Councilwoman Lavonta Williams. "This has been on again, off again, on again for a long time. I'm pleased with what we've seen and I'm looking forward to the community's engagement on this."

In an email, Frye said he voted against the agreement because of the amount of incentives necessary and the CID.

The Spaghetti Works building was purchased by Seneca Property and Sunflower in 2016. Saville said the commercial building will feature retail and restaurant space on the first floor and office space on the second. He said plans are for some of the rooftop space to be used as private entertainment patios.

"This will continue the momentum we already have in our city," said Mayor Jeff Longwell.

In a CID, businesses charge up to an extra 2 percent tax on purchases to generate funds to support development costs. In this case, the tax on retail purchases in the district would last for up to 22 years.

The developers are also asking for industrial revenue bonds for a sales tax exemption on construction costs. Developers and the city would work together in an effort to renovate Naftzger Park, which Williams highlighted as an important part of the agreement.

Jeff Fluhr, president of Downtown Wichita and the Greater Wichita Partnership, spoke in favor of the development.

"Projects like this position our downtown to attract and retain talent," Fluhr said. "Everything we do today should be seen while looking through the lens of talent."

In the current proposal, Shelden Architecture would do the designing and Hutton Construction would serve as the general contractor.


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