Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the $23 million Spaghetti Works development on Thursday, Mayor Jeff Longwell said Wichitans should get used to big ideas.
"This is who we are now," said Longwell while addressing a crowd of about 150 at the downtown site, which is just north of Intrust Bank Arena. "This is an exciting space that wouldn't happen if not for the vision of some tremendous developers that really care about Wichita."
The project represents another lynchpin in downtown redevelopment. Check out the Wichita Business Journal website for more on this story, a farewell from a veteran reporter, a county commissioner's growing legal indictment and the Kansas Leadership Center's vevture into international leadership.
Wichita-based firms Landmark Commercial Real Estate and TGC Development Group are partnering with Kansas City-based Sunflower Development Group on the project, which will feature a new office and retail complex and the remodeling of the existing Spaghetti Works warehouse structure into a 41-unit apartment building.
In addition to the ceremony, Westar Energy parent company, Evergy, this week announced a gift of $1.4 million for the adjacent Naftzger Park. Evergy was formed when Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy merged earlier this year.
"As a company serving from an electric perspective, we only grow if you grow," said Terry Bassham, Evergy's CEO, at the groundbreaking. "Partnerships and working together on projects just like this, that's what builds our company and builds our community. It's so exciting to be a part of what's happening in Wichita."
The Martin Pringle Law Firm has already been announced as the anchor tenant for the 60,000-square-foot commercial space that will go up. Martin Pringle will initially use close to 30,000 square feet.
The city is also in the process of revamping Naftzger Park, which is just steps away from the Spaghetti Works building and planned development. The park closed for the remodel in May.
Hutton Construction is the general contractor for the project. Shelden Architecture Inc. is designing the commercial space. The development is part of a tax increment financing district that was approved by the city.
Those in attendance for Thursday's groundbreaking also included Landmark Commercial Real Estate president Brad Saville, Jeff Fluhr of the Greater Wichita Partnership, Ben Hutton of Hutton Construction, city manager Robert Layton, Martin Pringle managing partner Stan Smith, Stan Shelden of Shelden Architecture, Visit Wichita CEO Susie Santo, and, in additional to Longwell, all six of the other members of the Wichita City Council.