Press Releases

News and updates directly from Wichita Downtown Development Corporation. 

Greater Wichita Partnership to create a more coordinated approach to Economic Development

“It’s time to align, focus and fast forward our economy in new ways.”

 

WICHITA, Kan. - 4/17/2015 - The business leadership of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Council, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) announced they are working toward a closer alignment of economic development related groups through the formation of an umbrella entity called the Greater Wichita Partnership. The Partnership will help increase private sector commitment and investment to grow the community.

“We already have a lot of great organizations working on different aspects of growing our community. It’s time to work together even more closely because both the challenges and opportunities for our city and region are so great,” said Charlie Chandler, Leadership Council Co-Chair.

CONCEPT OVERVIEW
Business volunteers say initial plans call for the Leadership Council to transition from the Chamber to the Greater Wichita Partnership. The Partnership will work with organizations and initiatives focused on increasing private sector economic growth and investment in the community and region, including two organizations:
- Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC)
- Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC)
And two committees:
- Entrepreneurship Task Force
- Business and Education Alliance

WDDC and GWEDC would continue as separate organizations with their own Boards and missions. The Entrepreneurship Task Force and Business and Education Alliance are both priority initiatives of the Leadership Council driven by business volunteers from business, education and entrepreneurship support networks.

“There’s been a lot of discussion from many that it’s time to align, focus and fast-forward our economy in new ways,” said Jeff Turner, Co-Chairman of the Leadership Council. “Just as in business, it’s important to recognize opportunities for change and respond to the current environment. Everyone wants to see the next generation grow here, and it’s going to take everyone working together in new and smart ways to ensure that.”

Chandler added, “We’ve been hearing throughout the community that the lack of economic growth in our community is of great concern and frankly hearing a lot of frustration from people on the community’s overall approach. While there are bright spots, including WSU’s Innovation Campus and Downtown, it’s time to create a new framework and this starts that discussion. As a community we must determine how to ensure a bright future.”

Past, present and future volunteer leadership of the four organizations began discussing the concept with input from executive committees, boards and funders, plus discussions with partners, including the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County. The idea is to work together toward a transition to the Partnership this summer.

“Leadership of this aligned effort is key, and we’ve tapped Jeff Fluhr who’s proven his abilities to bring people together, align efforts and lead collaborations,” Chandler said. Fluhr would also remain as WDDC President and CEO. “We’re bringing him on board to help work through all the details that come with new alignment, from staffing to refocused activities.”

WORKING TOGETHER

“It’s an exciting idea, and the City Council and I are eager to be part of the discussion,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “It’s gratifying to see the private sector step up and present a new idea on how we approach working together to increase jobs and growth. We’ve been very supportive of Wichita State’s Innovation Campus, the Regional Export Plan, and the BREG initiative. We look forward to working with everyone to help link all of this together to benefit the community.”

Chandler said the transition will include input from every organization and partner. “This is the time for us to come together because we must look to the future and what we’re leaving to the next generation.”

Wichita State University President John Bardo expressed support saying, “Strong economic regions are using all the resources available to them to really focus on connecting innovation and entrepreneurship networks, while working closely together to create quality, connected places where a great workforce wants to live. I believe this framework could really help our region take advantage of all we have to offer while linking the region together in new ways through powerful collaborations. We’re excited to be a part of the process.”

The plan is for the Leadership Council to work closely with its founder, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce in the transition and moving forward. The formation of the Leadership Council was an initiative of the Chamber. The Chamber has managed GWEDC since 2003.

“The partnership among all organizations is vitally important,” said Jon Rosell, Chamber Chairman. “We know that it takes the work of everyone to grow a community and everyone rowing in the same direction.”

Chandler said, “The Chamber is the largest business organization in the region and state, and it is imperative we work closely together.”

The Chamber represents more than 1,900 members.

A FOCUS ON ECONOMIC GROWTH
The Greater Wichita Partnership will be focused on aligning economic growth initiatives.

WDDC and GWEDC both have contracts with the City of Wichita to deliver services related to economic development and growth. GWEDC also has a contract for services with Sedgwick County.

Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) – The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) was launched in 2002 to revitalize and enhance the center city. WDDC is a private 501c3, not-for-profit corporation that works closely with the private sector and local government to stimulate new investment and interest in Downtown Wichita. WDDC directs a comprehensive economic development program to strengthen Downtown. It is governed by a 25-member Board of Directors elected by members of the organization.

WDDC Chairman Bill Livingston said, “Research shows that successful economic regions have strong, vibrant core areas. Following the Project Downtown planning process, the private sector has invested millions in Downtown Wichita with more to come.”

Livingston added, “WDDC has a very active and engaged board that represents Downtown property owners. Our Board is made up of those owners and accountable to all of them and to the City to deliver continued economic growth in the Downtown region. We think working more closely with other economic development groups will strengthen our efforts on behalf of Downtown.”

Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition – Founded in 2003, GWEDC is led by an 18-member Steering Council comprised of eleven private sector leaders, elected officials from Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita, a representative from the Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP), and two representatives from the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

GWEDC is focused on supporting local companies that want to expand in the community and assisting new businesses interested in locating here. It also markets the nine county region of South Central Kansas. In the last year it has partnered with other organizations to help create a new Regional Export Plan and is now working on the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG).

Gary Schmitt, chairman of GWEDC said, “We’ll be working with stakeholders and taking their input plus what we learn from the BREG process on what companies need most to grow here. That will help us restructure and focus GWEDC activities and initiatives. We’ve lost thousands of jobs and we’ve got to grow companies of all sizes in our region, from the one-person entrepreneur to established companies, and connect them closely with Wichita State and its Innovation Campus.”

Schmitt will serve as a part-time loaned executive for ongoing GWEDC activities working closely with Jeff Fluhr, including on the BREG efforts. WDDC and GWEDC are both partners in BREG. The Steering Council will continue to serve as the governing body.

Leadership Council – The Leadership Council was formed in 2012 and now consists of more than 100 top business, non-profit, public-sector and labor leaders. It was formed by the Chamber with the purpose of discussing and pursuing resolutions of major issues or projects to make the Wichita area competitive for job creation, talent attraction, capital investment and therefore long-term economic prosperity. Members identified three top priorities as growing primary jobs, entrepreneurship and educational attainment and workforce development.

Entrepreneurship Task Force – This task force led by Co-Chairmen Scott Schwindaman and Gary Oborny has been moving fast to align the entrepreneurial eco-system and efforts at all levels and increase business start-ups and success through mentoring support, private funding and more.

Business and Education Alliance – Led by Barry Schwan and Jackie Vietti, this group has been focused on bringing together business and education leaders in the community to ensure a workforce that is well-prepared for the global economy. Educational attainment, building a community that values education and a focus on improving “soft skills” – such as working as part of a team and communicating effectively – are current priorities for the Alliance.

NEXT STEPS
Boards of each of the groups have been discussing the proposed structure and will continue to provide input as the process moves forward. The groups will seek additional input from all partners, including the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County, Wichita State University, REAP, WIBA, Kansas Global, and all additional partners and investors.

Turner said as the Partnership focuses on economic growth to begin with, the plan is for it to be strategic and expandable as the region changes and other issues arise. For instance, the boards have said that they will have a plan developed by next summer on how to bring the Chamber under the Partnership’s umbrella.

“We’ve got to keep going where we are successful, align our resources and actions and rethink strategies where needed,” Turner said. “The community has watched Jeff Fluhr approach economic growth and business investment in the downtown area in a strategic and collaborative process, and we are excited about him agreeing to work with us as we focus in a new way on our community’s economic future.”

LIVING TOUR TO HIGHLIGHT DOWNTOWN’S RESIDENTIAL OFFERINGS 

WICHITA, Kan. – 2/27/2014 – The Downtown Wichita residential market is booming. With it, young professionals, empty nesters, and families are increasingly interested in living the walkable, urban lifestyle. To highlight this growth, and the distinctive living spaces available in Downtown, the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation will present a Downtown Living Tour on Sunday, March 29 from 1-5pm. Additional event info can be found at www.DowntownWichitaLivingTour.com.

Zach Wiggins, a Downtown resident says, "Living Downtown is great, especially if you are lucky enough to work Downtown as well, like I do. I live right in the middle of so many events, restaurants, businesses and everything else that happens Downtown. Additionally, with new development taking place, living Downtown has allowed me to both see and also be a part of the changes!"

The Downtown Living Tour is a free open house event for everyone to enjoy. Participating residential properties will welcome visitors to view units and amenities. Properties include: The LUX, The Rock Island Lofts, Eaton Place, Player Piano Lofts, The Finn Lofts, Innes Station, Commerce Street Lofts, The Flats 324 and WaterWalk Hotel Apartments. In addition, the WDDC offices will be open for a sneak peak of Downtown’s newest upcoming residential properties. The Q-Line trolley will also provide free transportation for the duration of the event.

Recently, Zimmerman/Volk Associates Inc. updated Project Downtown: The Master Plan for Wichita’s residential market study. The study shows a significant increase in residential market potential for Downtown. Per the study, Downtown Wichita can absorb 1,750 additional units over the next five to seven years, predominantly rental dwelling units.

“We have seen tremendous growth in our residential sector, and the variety of offerings that have come online has been exciting to see. The Downtown Living Tour on March 29 is the perfect opportunity to showcase what Downtown living has to offer,” states Jeff Fluhr, President of the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation.

The Downtown Living Tour is sponsored in part by Bokeh Development, Marketplace Properties, The Finn Lofts, WaterWalk Hotel Apartments, Eaton Place and Commerce Street Lofts.

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Fuel the Fire Speaker Series Concludes with Brad Segal

Wichita, Kan. - 10/30/2014 The 2014 Fuel the Fire Speaker Series concluded this week with a presentation by Brad Segal, President of Progressive Urban Management Associates. Three different sessions have been held, beginning with Carol Coletta of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in August and James Chung of Reach Advisors in September. The series is a collaborative effort between the Wichita Community Foundation (WCF), the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Each session was open to the public at no charge. Organizers estimate that total attendance for all three sessions was approximately 1,000.

Aimee Geist, Executive Director of Arts Partners, attended the sessions. “This series really helped connect the people in Wichita who want to make it a more vibrant community. The speakers provided examples of other cities that have overcome some of the same barriers and issues that we’re dealing with here: job loss, transit needs, cultural funding cuts, and the importance of downtown development. I’ve never felt so connected to the city or to the people who want to roll up their sleeves and work together to make something positive happen.”

WCF President and CEO Shelly Prichard said the series ignited community discussions about national trends about talent, opportunity and place. “We accomplished our goal of stimulating community thought and discussion about how to retain our talent and competitively position Wichita for the future.”

Suzie Ahlstrand, Executive Vice President of Community Development at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, and WDDC President Jeff Fluhr were pleased to see a broader and younger audience engaging with the speakers. Fluhr said, “We loved providing the opportunity for connecting the unique insight of the speakers with local young professionals who have creative new approaches for enriching Wichita.”

Video of the first two sessions may be viewed at FueltheFireSpeakerSeries.com, and the final session will be posted at a later date. Comments about the series may be found on Twitter at #FueltheFireICT.

The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series was made possible through a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at WCF, as well as funds from the WCF, WDDC and the Chamber’s Leadership Council.

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P.U.M.A.’s Brad Segal to conclude Fuel the Fire Speaker Series on Oct. 29

Wichita, Kan. - 10/16/2014 - The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series concludes with Brad Segal, President of Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.) on Oct. 29 at 5 p.m.

The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series is designed to engage the Wichita community in conversations revolving around national trends and how to competitively position Wichita for the future. The Wichita Community Foundation, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce have partnered to make this series possible. All keynotes are held at The LUX (120 E. 1st St. N.). They are free and open to the public.

Segal is one of the nation's leading authorities on downtown trends and issues. His consulting firm, P.U.M.A., is dedicated to advancing downtowns and community development by creating and sustaining thriving places. Recently, P.U.M.A. received the 2014 President’s Award from the International Downtown Association, for their work in producing and sharing their “Top 10 Global Trends Affecting Downtowns Report.” Prior to establishing P.U.M.A., Segal designed and managed economic development programs as senior director of the Downtown Denver Partnership.

With over 30 years of downtown management and community development experience, Segal has played a key role
in the development of downtowns across the nation, including Downtown Wichita.

In 2000-2001, Segal helped guide the creation of the Downtown Wichita Self Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID). Since Segal’s work, the WDDC has been the private sector entity responsible for cultivating investment in Downtown. Since it’s creation, Downtown has witnessed approximately a billion dollars in investment. 

As the American economy recovers to a post-recession growth cycle, cities across the country are seeing a resurgence of urban centers. Segal will speak about how national trends in demographics, lifestyles, and global competition are converging and affecting these urban centers and what that means for Downtown Wichita and the South Central Kansas region as we look towards the future.

“With the resurgence of downtowns across the nation, being aware of national trends is vital information we must
have if we are to effectively track and plan for future growth. Brad will provide invaluable insight into these trends,
how they will affect our City, and why they are important to growing our economy," said WDDC President Jeff Fluhr.

For additional details, and to RSVP, visit FueltheFireSpeakerSeries.com.

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Wichita native continues Fuel the Fire Speaker Series on Sept. 17

Wichita, Kan. - 9/10/2014 - The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series continues on Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. with Wichita native James Chung, President of Reach Advisors. Chung earned his bachelors and MBA degrees from Harvard University after completing his early education with USD 259 and Wichita Collegiate School. His strategy, research and predictive analytics firm, Reach Advisors, currently works with some of North America’s most innovative organizations involved in community development, tourism, and other industry segments.

This second presentation in a series of three community discussions is designed to engage the Wichita community in conversations revolving around national trends and how to competitively position Wichita for the future. The Wichita Community Foundation, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce have partnered to make this series possible. All sessions are held at The LUX (120 E. 1st St. N.). They are free and open to the public.

Working with cities across the country, Chung says he has seen strong evidence that communities can change their trajectory by deliberately choosing to pull together the right resources and leaders. “I’m looking forward to sharing stories with Wichita’s stakeholders about the communities we’ve seen proactively shaping their future and influence their momentum, rather than settling for status quo. Unfortunately, status quo currently isn’t an ideal place to be for manufacturing-driven Midwestern cities.”

Some of the topics Chung plans to address include:

• Why a city’s success rate in attracting young educated people is a strong predictor of the
area’s future job growth.

• Examples of cities similar to Wichita that have recovered from dramatic shifts in their manufacturing
job base.

• How Wichita's dynamic arts/culture scene has already influenced downtown revitalization.

The Chamber’s Leadership Council is sponsoring Chung’s visit and Co-Chair Charlie Chandler said the community will benefit from the presentation. “Chung knows our community and he’s still attached to it as a special place that provided him with a strong foundation. Our first speaker in this series, Carol Coletta, advised us to capitalize on loyalty from those who still have strong ties to Wichita, but no longer make their home here. Chung has a passion for helping communities leap to the next level and he understands our history. He can provide us with a unique perspective about mobilizing and moving forward.”

For more details, and to RSVP, visit FueltheFireSpeakerSeries.com.

Wichita Downtown Development Corporation receives 2014 Pinnacle Award by the International Downtown Association

Ottawa, ON Canada. - 9/4/2014 - During its 60th Anniversary Conference, the International Downtown Association recognized the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) with a Downtown Pinnacle Award for its initiatives related to leadership in the implementation of Project Downtown: The Master Plan for Wichita. Approximately 60 international entries were received for consideration; nine were awarded a Pinnacle Award. Other Pinnacle Award winners were: The Charlotte Center City Partners; City of Kelowna, British Columbia; City of London and Downtown London; Cooper’s Ferry Partnership; Downtown Sacramento Partnership; Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass Improvement District – Brooklyn; Downtown Fort Worth – Sundance Square; Town Green Special Services District – New Haven’s Historic 9th Square Neighborhood.

The WDDC entry was in the category of Downtown Leadership and Management. This category features comprehensive and unique organizational approaches, projects, or programs that improved the effectiveness of downtown management organizations.

The WDDC’s entry, Evolving to Maximize Development, outlined how the organization has evolved the past five years to become the convener and private sector facilitator to implement Project Downtown: The Master Plan for Wichita. This focus has led to public sector policies, an entire city block (Block One) of development demonstrating design principles of the plan and leadership in fostering strategic public investment that has served as a catalyst for significant private sector investment.

“The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation’s project received IDA’s most prestigious award for demonstrating excellence in downtown management,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “Each year the IDA Awards Jury honors the very best programs and projects in each category to recognize great work and most importantly to set the standard for best practice in our industry. Their submission is a wonderful example for other cities to emulate.”

“The WDDC is honored to receive this award,” said Sam Williams, Chair of WDDC Board of Directors. “The WDDC is a partner in multiple initiatives to develop a vibrant Downtown. This award acknowledges that our community is taking proactive, strategic steps to maximize our potential. Our Downtown is evolving and the years to come are going to be very dynamic.”

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Knight Foundation’s Carol Coletta to kick off Fuel the Fire Speaker Series on Aug. 28

Wichita, Kan. - 8/21/2014 -  The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series begins Aug. 28 with Carol Coletta, Vice President of Community and National Initiatives at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The series, which is designed to engage the community in conversations revolving around national trends, will focus on the topics of talent, opportunity, and place to competitively position Wichita for the future. The Wichita Community Foundation, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce have partnered to make this series possible.

“The Wichita Community Foundation is proud to bring Carol Coletta of the Knight Foundation to Wichita for Fuel the Fire,” said WCF President and CEO Shelly Prichard. “Carol’s insight into the importance of developing and sustaining talent in cities is vital to the over-arching concept of the speaker series. WCF’s continued partnership with the Knight Foundation has provided our city with the opportunity to grow and thrive in an ever-changing economy.”

Coletta, who joined Knight Foundation in 2013, is an expert on the development of cities.

Coletta was director of ArtPlace, a unique public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the United States. ArtPlace brings together leading private foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, other federal agencies and major banks.

For seven years, Coletta was president and CEO of CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders. Previously, she served as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, and also ran a Memphis-based public affairs consulting firm, Coletta & Company, focused on civic issues.

Coletta has written and spoken extensively on the future of cities, including how communities develop, attract and retain talent.

In 2003, Coletta was named a Knight Fellow in Community Building at the University of Miami School of Architecture. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Memphis with majors in Journalism and Public Issues Management and has completed graduate work in future studies at the University of Houston Clear Lake and in design at the Institute of Design in Chicago.

Coletta‘s keynote, which is free and open to the public, is on Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. at The LUX (120 E. 1st St. N.). For additional details, and to RSVP, visit FueltheFireSpeakerSeries.com.

FINAL DESIGNS FOR DOUGLAS AVE UNDERPASS TO BE UNVEILED AT PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE

WICHITA, Kan. – 8/18/2014 – The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation was recently awarded $75,000 from the Knight Foundation Fund of the Wichita Community Foundation in order to derive design concepts that will revitalize the historic Douglas Avenue underpass from its current status into an inviting Downtown gateway. This grant has allowed the WDDC to hire LawKingdon Architecture to lead the design team to assist with the first phase of the project.

The overall "vision" is to transform the underpass from the barrier that it is in its current state, to an inviting connector between Old Town, Union Station, and the core of Downtown. To achieve this vision, a steering committee was formed to spearhead the project, two public input meetings were held to garner community input, and opinion data was collected from multiple online surveys through the City of Wichita’s Active Wichita website. This input played a key role in the final concepts created by LawKingdon Architecture, which address lighting, pigeon mitigation and the inclusion of art and technology in the space. These concepts will be unveiled at a come and go Public Open House on Tuesday, August 26, from 5:00-7:00pm at the WDDC Design & Innovation Center (505 E. Douglas Ave).

“The Douglas Avenue Underpass is vital for the connective tissue of Downtown between Douglas Avenue, INTRUST Bank Arena and Old Town. The concepts created by the design team through public input, have set the vision to transform this space into a walkable, urban environment that will continue to transform the Douglas Avenue corridor and furthers the opportunities identified in Project Downtown,” said Jeff Fluhr, WDDC President.

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 Community Organizations Announce Fuel the Fire Speaker Series

WICHITA, Kan. - 8/4/2014 – The Wichita Community Foundation (WCF), Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC), and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Council have partnered to host the Fuel the Fire Speaker Series this fall. All three keynotes are open to the public and will be at 5 p.m. at The LUX (120 E. 1st St. N.).

• August 28 – Carol Coletta, Vice President of Community and National Initiatives at the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation

• September 17 – James Chung, President of Reach Advisors

• October 29 – Brad Segal, President of Progressive Urban Management Associates

The purpose of the series is to engage the community in discussions about national trends on the topics of talent, opportunity and place to competitively position Wichita for the future.

WCF President and CEO Shelly Prichard said her Board supports the idea of stimulating community conversation by bringing in thought leaders and subject matter experts. “We want to ensure that Wichita is retaining top talent, providing unique opportunities for our citizens, and projecting an image of a place others want to live.”

WDDC President, Jeff Fluhr, notes “National shifts in demographic trends are fueling change throughout the nation and in our community. Each of these speakers will provide valuable insight on how these demographic shifts are affecting our city and what opportunities are resulting because of them.”

“We’re not looking for these speakers to provide easy answers to our region’s challenges,” said Suzie Ahlstrand, Executive Vice President of Community Development at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. “But their ideas, experience, and the results of their research can ignite the type of discussions that we need to provoke
thought and help fuel the fire. We’re confident that we’ll find better and more creative solutions as a result of hearing their presentations.”

The sessions are free to attend, and those interested can RSVP at FueltheFireSpeakerSeries.com.

The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series is made possible through a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at WCF, as well as funds from WCF, WDDC and the Chamber’s Leadership Council.

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PROJECT DOWNTOWN: THE MASTER PLAN FOR WICHITA  UPDATED RESIDENTIAL MARKET ANALYSIS SHOWS INCREASED POTENTIAL FOR DOWNTOWN

WICHITA, Kan. – 07/18/2014 – An update to Project Downtown’s residential market study, recently published by Zimmerman/Volk Associates Inc., shows a significant increase in residential market potential for Downtown. The study states that Downtown Wichita can absorb 1,425 to 1,870 market rate units through the adaptive reuse of existing non-residential buildings and/or new construction projects. Per the study, Downtown Wichita can absorb 1,750 additional units over the next five to seven years, predominantly rental dwelling units. Based on a twelve to fifteen percent capture rate of the potential market for new rental housing, and a five to eight percent capture of the potential market for new for-sale housing units, Downtown Wichita could absorb up to 285 to 374 new market-rate rental and for sale housing units per year over the next five to seven years.

In 2010, Zimmerman/Volk Associates published their initial study in Project Downtown: The Master Plan for Wichita. The original analysis stated that Downtown Wichita could absorb 1,000 units over a five to seven year time frame, primarily for rental units. Four years after this initial analysis was published, Downtown Wichita has seen approximately 200 residential units completed, and over 690 units are either under construction or in various stages of planning advancing toward construction.

“The strength of the results reflected in the residential update astounded me. Downtown Wichita’s success is due in large part to the strength of the work the city and community have gone through with the master plan process and its implementation,” said Laurie Volk of Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Inc.

The study was funded through the WDDC and the following partners: INTRUST Bank, Fidelity Bank, Emprise Bank, Commerce Bank, Marketplace Properties, BOKEH Development, Slawson Companies, and Security National Life.

The Updated Residential Market Analysis Executive Summary and the recent 2013 State of Downtown Report may be downloaded at www.downtownwichita.org.

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DATE SET FOR FIRST DOUGLAS AVENUE UNDERPASS PUBLIC INPUT MEETING

WICHITA, Kan. - 2/4/2014 - The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation was recently awarded $75,000 from the Knight Foundation Fund of the Wichita Community Foundation in order to derive design concepts that will revitalize the historic Douglas Avenue underpass from its current status into an inviting Downtown gateway. This grant has allowed the WDDC to hire LawKingdon Architecture to lead the design team to help in the first phase of the project.

The overall "vision" is to transform the underpass from the eyesore and barrier that it is in its current state, to an inviting gateway into our Downtown that not only serves as a landmark of distinction but also a public space for the community to engage and interact through technology, social media and the arts. The first input meeting to garner ideas and perspectives from the general public is set for Thursday, February 13, from 5:30 - 7:00pm at the WDDC Design & Innovation Center (505 E. Douglas Ave).

“This initiative will be catalytic in Downtown’s development. The envisioned urban space will provide the opportunity to connect multiple districts in our Downtown and also engage and educate the public in an innovative and meaningful way,” said WDDC President Jeff Fluhr.


About Wichita Downtown Development Corporation
The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) was launched in 2002 to revitalize and enhance the center city. WDDC is a private 501c3, not-for-profit corporation that works closely with the private sector and local government to stimulate new investment and interest in Downtown Wichita. By strengthening Downtown Wichita, we are creating a vibrant economic region. For more information, call 316.264.6005 or visit http://www.downtownwichita.org.

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Knight Foundation Fund pledges nearly $120,000 in grants for Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. - 11/21/2013 - Two new projects will contribute to Wichita’s revitalization and strengthen the city’s economic future with $119,900 from the Wichita Community Foundation. The support is from the Knight Foundation Fund of the community foundation.

The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) will receive $75,000 to begin the planning of the revitalization of the historic Douglas Avenue underpass from its current status into an inviting gateway into downtown. This grant will allow WDDC to obtain a lead architect and design team to help in the first phase of the project.

A $44,900 grant, awarded to the Wichita Educational Foundation, will build on Knight Foundation goals to ensure a productive workforce needed for sustained economic growth in our region. The second goal will formalize and convene the already active technology sector, building on work started through the Tech Alliance, which was formed from Visioneering Wichita work.

“Both of these grants from the Knight Foundation Fund support creation of a more vibrant Wichita,” said WCF President and CEO Shelly Prichard. “As a local partner with Knight Foundation, WCF serves as a community convener, helping ideas from the Leadership Council and the development of Downtown Wichita go from concept, to meaningful research, and eventually, to execution.”

About the Wichita Community Foundation
Founded in 1986, the Wichita Community Foundation’s mission is to be the catalyst that creates lasting legacies by partnering with people, families, and organizations to devote resources to causes that matter. The Foundation is a public nonprofit organization with 300 charitable funds and agency endowments, representing nearly $60 million. For more information, visit wichitacf.org or call 316-264-4880.

About the Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. They believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, visit knightfoundation.org.

RACE FOR THE CURE® SPECIAL 25TH ANNIVERSARY ANNOUNCEMENT!

WICHITA, Kan  - 11/14/2013 - The Kansas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen ® announced today that the 2014 Wichita Race for the Cure will move to downtown Wichita. This is the 25th Anniversary of the Race for the Cure in Wichita and will be a very special event. The Race will be on Saturday, September 27, 2014. The Race will start and end at Waterwalk, 515 S. Main, Wichita KS.

“We are excited to announce that the 2014 Wichita Race for the Cure – our 25th anniversary race will be downtown. We are very grateful to Towne East Square and the City of Eastborough for hosting us for as long as they did. We believe that the new location will offer new opportunities for growth” said Lindsay Smith, Susan G. Komen Kansas Affiliate Executive Director. “ This year we were able to make more than $345,000 in community grants for screening, education and community outreach for people in Kansas who desperately need our help. We want our community grants to continue to grow and the Wichita Race is our largest fundraiser.”

“We are excited as part of their 25th anniversary, the Komen Race for the Cure has made the decision to expand and grow in the heart of our city, and that they are partnering with another great Downtown event such as the Wichita Wagonmaster’s Downtown Chili Cookoff. Downtown is the place we come together as a community, and it’s a great place to come together for this very important cause.”

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the Komen Kansas Affiliate
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever, and in 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The Kansas Affiliate is part of the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network fighting breast cancer. Through events like the Komen Wichita Race for the Cure, the Kansas Affiliate has invested $3.5 million in community breast cancer programs in 95 counties in Kansas. Up to 75 percent of net proceeds generated by the Affiliate stays in Kansas]. The remaining 25 percent funds national breast cancer research. For more information, call 316-683-8510 or visit www.komenmidks.org.

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Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Completed Projects in Downtown Wichita’s Block One

WICHITA, Kan. - 3/28/2013 - City, community and business leaders cut the ribbon today on three completed projects at Block One, a full city block of development in Downtown Wichita.

Completed projects include the Ambassador Hotel at Block One at 104 South Broadway; Urban Plaza at Block One, an urban plaza located directly south of the Ambassador; and the Block One Parking Garage on the southeast corner of Block One. The organizations in the block are using the term Block One for the city block bordered by Topeka Street on the east, Broadway Street on the west, Douglas Avenue on the north and William Street on the south.

“Today, we cut the ribbon for a city block that includes a building that sat empty for approximately twelve years,” said Mayor Carl Brewer. “That building is now a great hotel in downtown Wichita welcoming guests. The City’s commitment to the parking garage meant the hotel could move forward plus the Kansas Leadership Center’s new headquarters.”

More than $40 million is being invested by the private sector and the City of Wichita in Block One. The City spent $6.8 million to build the public parking garage at 360 East William Street. The garage opened this past December and has 270 parking spaces and 8,400 square feet of retail space facing William Street.

The City of Wichita also recently completed the Urban Plaza at Block One for $800 thousand which connects the Block One Parking Garage, the Ambassador Hotel, the Kansas Health Foundation expansion, the new offices for the Kansas Leadership Center and the Henry’s Building. That project also redesigned the block’s alley to make it pedestrian friendly, as well as suitable for vehicles. The Urban Plaza provides a seating area and also features new public art, a series of mosaics titled “Bravely Serene,” by Murano Studios.

At 104 South Broadway, the 14-story Ambassador Hotel Wichita at Block One features 117 guest rooms and 12 suites. The building was originally built in 1926 housing Union National Bank. Paul Coury Properties created a contemporary boutique hotel that opened New Year’s Day. The $23 million project is next to the Kansas Health Foundation’s existing headquarters.

“As we work to recruit meetings, conventions and tourists to the Wichita area, it’s important to have a variety of offerings, including a variety of great hotels offering excellent service,” said Ken Vandruff, Go Wichita Director of Communications. “We welcome the Ambassador Hotel as an excellent addition with its contemporary look.”

Directly east on Douglas Avenue, the Kansas Health Foundation is expanding its current offices to include an additional 36,000 square feet of meeting rooms and space for the Kansas Leadership Center’s new statewide headquarters. Construction on this $9 million project began in 2012 and is expected to be completed this summer. It is the first new construction along Douglas Avenue in about 38 years.

“For months we’ve watched construction and cranes with walls going up and insides of buildings torn out,” said Gary Schmitt, Chairman of Wichita Downtown Development Corporation. “It’s great to see the progress in Downtown Wichita because nationally economically healthy regions have thriving downtowns. Today celebrates the work of many people and organizations working to create that exciting, vibrant development.”

The other building in Block One is the former Henry’s Building owned by Slawson Development. There are a number of development interests in the building.

The organizations represented in Block One decided to name the block and identify their locations through the use of a common name. They worked with branding and advertising agency Sullivan Higdon & Sink to develop the Block One brand.

“It’s exciting being part of Downtown Wichita’s current and future growth,” said Paul Coury, Chairman of Coury Properties for the Ambassador Hotel. “We like being part of the redevelopment of an entire city block and working with others to promote Wichita as the great place it is.”

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WDDC Announces Westar Energy Downtown Development Internship at the Design & Innovation Center

WICHITA, Kan. - 3/7/2012 - Westar Energy has committed $10,000 toward the formation of the Westar Energy Downtown Development Internship program at the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation’s Design & Innovation Center. The Design & Innovation Center provides key resources in the development of Downtown Wichita.

According to Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) President Jeff Fluhr, Westar’s generous contribution matches grant funds recently received from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation allocated to engaging architecture, landscape architecture and community planning students in the downtown planning and implementation process.

“We thank Westar for its commitment to the future of the region, Downtown and the young emerging professionals of Kansas,” Fluhr said. “We are excited about tapping into the talent of college students who will help us creatively shape downtown and our quality of place through design.”

The initial phase will provide for a full-time summer internship for an upper level college student in architecture or landscape architecture for this summer. The application process will be announced soon, and WDDC will work with universities in Kansas to promote the Westar internship. The second phase will feature ongoing connections to architecture, landscape architecture and planning classes in various downtown projects.

“With these resources, we’ll be able to provide tangible design concepts as we explore them with developers and investors in downtown Wichita,” Fluhr said. “We want to continue to enhance the development resources of the Design & Innovation Center. This capability will be a tremendous asset in illustrating the concepts we discuss.”

“Westar is committed to Wichita's downtown and providing bright students an opportunity to bring fresh ideas to make downtown an attractive, vibrant place where people want to live and work,” said Jim Ludwig, Westar’s executive vice president, public affairs and consumer services.

This is the second Knight Foundation grant received by the WDDC. The Knight Foundation provided initial funding for the WDDC in 2011 to implement the Design & Innovation Center, a one-stop resource for Downtown Wichita development.

“As college students graduate and consider the location of their career, we want to be sure they are connected to and know what’s going on in Kansas’ largest city as we move forward,” Fluhr said.

Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) is the largest consolidated electric utility in Kansas, providing electric service to more than 687,000 customers in the state. Westar Energy has about 7,100 megawatts of electric generation resources and operates and coordinates more than 34,000 miles of electric distribution and transmission lines.

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WDDC Board Endorses “Yes” Vote for Ambassador Hotel Guest Tax Referendum 

WICHITA, Kan. - 2/22/2012 - The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation Board of Directors endorsed a “yes” vote on the February 28 referendum vote on use of the hotel guest tax. City of Wichita voters will vote on February 28 whether 75 percent of the hotel guest tax will be rebated to the developers for the first 15 years. Otherwise, the full 100 percent of the guest tax goes to the City of Wichita for convention and tourism related activities.

According to WDDC Board Chairman Tom Docking, there were a number of reasons the Board endorsed a “yes” vote.

− The project meets the criteria of the Project Downtown master plan developed with months of citizen input and extensive economic analysis.

− It was the first project to go through the new downtown development incentives policy process that has a committee of business people, planners and financial experts review all projects and provide a recommendation to the City Council.

− The building sat empty for 12 years generating $22,000 in yearly tax revenue. During the first year the Ambassador Hotel will generate more than $235,000 in additional tax revenue for the city, county and school district with that amount expected to increase.

− Project Downtown included the analysis that Wichita needs more than 400 hotel rooms downtown, and the Ambassador will create 117 rooms in a boutique hotel.

− The project has already been a catalyst for additional downtown projects with the entire city block now under redevelopment plans, including the Kansas Health Foundation’s new facility and the former Henry’s building, all of which will use the new parking garage.

“This is an exciting economic development opportunity,” said WDDC Chairman Tom Docking. “The opportunity to see an entire city block redevelop, jobs created and a beautiful and historic building coming back to life is a great opportunity for any city at any time, but especially during these economic times.”

WDDC President Jeff Fluhr said, “We have a lot of synergy going downtown with multiple projects, developers and opportunities. It’s important that potential local and national investors have predictability when it comes to working in Wichita.”

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Community Engagement Focus of New Knight Foundation Grants

WICHITA, Kan. - 1/24/2012 - Increasing community engagement is the central focus of three new grants announced today by the Wichita Community Foundation. The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC), working with the Young Professionals of Wichita and Visioneering Wichita, will receive $125,000 for leading a community-wide discussion to set regional priorities for developing talent, place and opportunity in Wichita. Senior Services Inc. will receive $17,645 to enlarge their training programs for using iPad technology to Latino seniors. Real Men, Real Heroes will receive $2,783 for its teen mentoring program. The grants are part of the informed, engaged communities initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The WDDC grant, together with $82,000 in private and in-kind donations, will fuel a community wide discussion and resulting definition of the next level of development for Wichita. The goal is to answer the question: What priorities do we set to make Wichita an attractive place to live, work and play for the next generation of citizens. This grant award follows Knight’s recent investment in the WDDC Design and Innovation Center which opened in August of 2011. The new Design and Innovation Center is a venue that fosters community dialogue on various quality of life initiatives.

Senior Services, Inc. will provide free technology classes for Latino seniors at its LaFamilia and Orchard Park sites . The one year project hopes to reduce the isolation of low income senior Latinos by training them on iPads in their native language. Real Men Real Heroes will use their grant dollars to build a diverse, multicultural team of teen mentors who will function as both role models and spokespeople for its ongoing work in the community.

About the Wichita Community Foundation
Since 1986, the Wichita Community Foundation has been serving the philanthropic needs of the Wichita community. The Foundation's goal is to build a stronger city by investing in people, organizations and institutions so they can contribute to their neighborhoods and communities. The Foundation supports programs, projects, and organizations that creatively and successfully bind the community together to enrich the quality of life for all citizens.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.

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Wichita Downtown Development Corporation Recipient of 2011 International Downtown Association Pinnacle Award

WICHITA, Kan. - 9/26/2011 - On Saturday, September 24, during its 57th Annual Conference in the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, the International Downtown Association (IDA) recognized the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation with IDA's highest honor, a Downtown Pinnacle Award for its Leadership and Management in the development of Downtown Wichita.

The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation was a national finalist in the category of Downtown Leadership and Management. This category features comprehensive and unique organizational approaches, projects, or programs that improved the effectiveness of Downtown management organizations.

"The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation received this prestigious award for demonstrating excellence in Downtown management," said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. "Each year the IDA Awards Jury honors the very best programs and projects in each category to recognize great work and most importantly to set the standard for best practice in the industry. The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation provides a great example for other development entities to emulate."

"Project Downtown is providing the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation a tremendous blueprint to develop Downtown" commented Jeff Fluhr, President of the WDDC. "Through dynamic partnerships with the public, philanthropic and private sectors; invaluable resources such as the Downtown Public Investment Policy, the new Design and Innovation Center, and the twelve-member Loan Consortium are now a reality and a model for other communities. We have a clear vision, defined development strategies and a commitment to implement the community's vision through Project Downtown."

The Washington, D.C. based International Downtown Association (IDA) is a champion for vital and livable urban centers and strives to inform, influence, and inspire downtown leaders and advocates. With over 550 national and international members, IDA is a guiding force in creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well-being of towns, cities, and regions.

The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation is the advocacy and management organization representing the interests of property owners in Downtown Wichita and is a member of the International Downtown Association.

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Wichita Downtown Development Corporation names new executive vice president

WICHITA, Kan. - 3/3/2011 - Jason Gregory will join the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) team as its new executive vice president on March 14. A Wichita area native, Gregory brings a diverse background of business, landscape architecture, urban design, project management and construction.

Gregory received a bachelor's in business administration from Friends University in 2000 and a master's in landscape architecture from Kansas State University in 2004. His most recent position was as a project manager and cost analyst for Walz Harman Huffman Construction where he has overseen numerous commercial projects throughout the region.

As a graduate landscape architect he worked with Bowman Bowman Novick, a landscape architect firm in Kansas City, where he was involved in numerous projects, including several in Kansas City's downtown redevelopment.

"Jason has a great blend of experience that will be instrumental in advancing downtown's development," said WDDC President Jeff Fluhr. "He'll be able to work with all our stakeholders from business and developers to the public sector to help us achieve the vision we have set as a community. Jason will be a great addition to our team and efforts."

As the executive vice president, Gregory will play a major role in helping launch and guide various initiatives leading to the implementation of the Downtown Master Plan Project Downtown and WDDC's strategic business plan. He will provide key leadership with projects such as the WDDC Downtown Design Resource Center and the Downtown Visitors' Amenity Plan.

"I feel strongly that the continued growth and development of downtown Wichita is crucial to our community and our region," says Gregory. "To be a part of continuing to revitalize the urban core of Wichita is a tremendous opportunity for me, and I look forward to working with the leaders, volunteers and staff who have made Wichita's downtown an economic priority."

Information about the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation may be viewed at www.downtownwichita.org.

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Public Meeting to Present Draft Downtown Master Plan

WICHITA, Kan. - 6/4/2010 - The community will hear the first presentation on the draft Downtown Master Plan at a public meeting on Monday, June 14th at the Scottish Rite.

The Downtown Master Plan Team has been researching, analyzing the market, listening to the community and incorporating public feedback since November. The draft plan will be presented and initial feedback gathered. Follow-up workshops will go into more detail in different areas on Wednesday, June 16th.

Following the public meetings on June 14th and 16th, the Downtown Wichita Development Corporation, Visioneering Wichita and the City of Wichita will make presentations to groups throughout the regional community for additional public input. The Downtown Master Plan Team will incorporate the feedback gathered at the June and July presentations. The final plan will be presented in September.

Public Presentation – Draft Downtown Wichita Plan

Monday, June 14th

Scottish Rite

332 E. 1st Street

5:30 p.m. – Reception (light refreshments)

6:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Presentation and Input

People may RSVP for the meeting at info@downtownwichita.org or to (316) 264-6005.

During the public meeting, the Downtown Master Plan Team will share strategies for achieving the vision, identifying resources and the type of activity and development for Downtown Wichita.

Following Monday evening’s presentation, there will be three draft Downtown Plan Workshops that will go into more depth and discussion on various aspects of the draft plan.

Downtown Plan Workshops

Wednesday, June 16th

Bank of America Theatre

100 N. Broadway

8:00 – 9:30 a.m. – Enabling Downtown Development

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. – Creating Transportation Choices

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. – Creating Unique Places

 The master plan will provide a blueprint for downtown development. It will utilize economic research to maximize opportunity for private sector investment and return on investment of public dollars. Community input will shape the vision for downtown. Research shows thriving downtowns help regions retain and recruit people and businesses.

 For more information on the Downtown Master Plan process visit www.downtownwichita.org

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Cargill to Build New Innovation Center in Downtown Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. - 5/25/2010 - Cargill announced plans to build a new $14.7 million facility on Wichita Street between 1st and 2nd streets in Downtown Wichita. The facility will house research, development, culinary, laboratory, pilot plant and distribution capabilities.

“Cargill’s commitment to Wichita and especially to Downtown Wichita with this cutting-edge facility is exciting,” said Mayor Carl Brewer. “When a leading, global company like Cargill makes an announcement and investment in Wichita, we know it’s another step toward our goal of becoming a city of distinction. Building upon their downtown campus, they are greatly contributing to making our downtown a regional center.”

The facility will house 65 people in the downtown area close to Cargill’s U.S. meat business, headquartered at 151 North Main Street. The two-story facility is expected to be complete in June of 2011.

“The Cargill team has been great to work with throughout this process. They have, from the beginning, been committed to exploring avenues in design that demonstrate key urban principles from the emerging downtown master plan,” said Jeff Fluhr, president of Wichita Downtown Development Corporation. “They have also been a lead private sector partner in the development of a blueprint for Downtown and have provided important support and input.”

One of the largest employers in downtown Wichita, Cargill donated $25,000 toward the development of the downtown master plan.

“We are excited to move forward and invest in downtown Wichita through this new facility,” said Scott Eilert, Cargill vice president and director of meat technology development. “So many groups and people, including Mayor Brewer, have made this project a reality and we’re glad to be part of the new efforts in downtown.”

The downtown master planning team will incorporate the Cargill Innovation Center into the draft plan. The next step in the downtown planning process will be the presentation of the draft plan at a public meeting scheduled for Monday, June 14th. Following public input to the draft plan, the final plan will be presented in September.

“This project is building upon more than $100 million in ongoing downtown development activities ranging from riverfront improvements to renovating historic buildings to residential and more,” Fluhr said. “Cargill is a very important component of that momentum.”

The downtown master plan will utilize economic research to maximize opportunity for private sector investment and return on investment of public dollars. Community input will shape the vision for downtown. Research shows thriving downtowns help regions retain and recruit people and businesses.

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Downtown Planning Team Outlines Community Input Process

WICHITA, Kan. - 11/05/2009 - A six-month public engagement process seeking broad community input on downtown revitalization will kick off in early December.

The City of Wichita, the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation and Visioneering Wichita, working with various groups and downtown planning consultants Goody Clancy, outlined the public and stakeholder input process. The Goody Clancy team and its economic analysis partners will be in Wichita over the next few months to conduct numerous meetings to gather input.

“One of the reasons we chose Goody Clancy is because of their strength in getting the public involved in the planning process,” said Mayor Carl Brewer. “They have a great combination of holding more traditional public meetings combined with some new interactive technology. This will truly be our community’s plan.”

Public input processes planned include:

~ December 4 and 5 –“Walk-shops” will gather ideas through people taking and sharing digital photos of downtown through a process led by PlaceMatters, part of the Goody Clancy team. Three walk shop sessions are planned to encourage as much participation as possible. All will be held at the Eaton Block at 523 East Douglas (formerly Eaton Steakhouse).
     Friday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
     Saturday, December 5 – 9 a.m. to Noon and again from 12:30 to 3:30.
People interested in participating should sign up at Visioneering Wichita by calling (316) 268-1141 or by e-mail at dlongfellow@wichitachamber.org.

~ January 12 – A public meeting will present the results and themes from the Walk-shop process. Presentations will also cover a preliminary assessment of downtown housing and commercial market opportunities as a foundation for the overall plan. Breakout groups will allow people to discuss assets, challenges and goals for downtown Wichita. The meeting will be held in the evening with exact time and place to be determined.

~ February – On Saturday, February 27 individuals will be able to participate in a full-day, hands-on workshop to discuss visions, utilizing the economic and transportation analysis, and design principles. The event will follow the February 25th WDDC Annual Lecture with a speaker providing national perspectives on downtown revitalization. Place and specific times for the events will be announced.

~ March – A public meeting will present a preliminary vision and action strategies that integrate the community input with technical and economic analysis. Individuals will then provide feedback and discuss the information presented.

~ May – At a public meeting, the team will present the draft vision plan to allow discussion and input to the preliminary plan.

In addition to the monthly public input sessions, the Goody Clancy team is meeting each month with a variety of stakeholder individuals and regional groups, including Wichita City Council, Sedgwick County Commission, neighborhood groups, employers, arts and culture groups, developers, commercial brokers, retail, transportation, property owners, educational entities, churches and social service organizations. The Goody Clancy team began the stakeholder process this week, holding 45 meetings that involved more than 165 people. Input from stakeholder groups and the public will be integrated into the final draft plan.

“This is an exciting time for the future of our community,” said Larry Weber, WDDC Chairman. “In getting to this moment, we have known how much people want to be part of the planning process. We will continue to encourage everyone to be involved in the process and have their voices heard.”

Goody Clancy was selected in October to develop a plan for the core area that focuses on:
· Connecting and maximizing various downtown areas, including Old Town, INTRUST Bank Arena and the River Corridor
· Community input to define the vision for downtown
· Specific implementation strategies and economic analysis to maximize private sector investment and return on investment of public dollars

The City of Wichita has committed $225,000 for a downtown comprehensive strategic plan. The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation provided $175,000 with an additional $100,000 from businesses, organizations and individuals contributing to the plan.

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INTRUST Bank commits $10,000 for comprehensive downtown plan

 

WICHITA, Kan. - 7/28/2009 - The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) announced that INTRUST Bank committed $10,000 to fund the downtown master plan. This brings the private sector total to $86,000.

“INTRUST Bank plays a large role in helping our community and our downtown continue to work toward achieving our vision,” said Mayor Carl Brewer. “It’s commitment to downtown through the INTRUST Bank Arena is just one part of the bank’s leadership in this community.”

In addition to the private sector funding, the WDDC Board of Directors committed $175,000 to a downtown comprehensive strategic plan and the Wichita City Council unanimously voted to put $225,000 to a comprehensive plan.

“The business community keeps responding to this opportunity and we so appreciate their support,” said Larry Weber, WDDC Chairman. “INTRUST Bank has been committed to downtown for years, and their donation to this effort continues that tradition.”

The City of Wichita received 32 proposals in response to its request for qualifications. A selection committee last week narrowed the field to four finalists who will receive a request for proposals. The finalist firms were chosen in part because of their track record in downtown plans that produced high levels of private sector investment. A consultant team is expected to be named in September after public presentations by the finalists the week of September 21.

WDDC’s mission is to drive development in downtown Wichita. According to case studies, downtown revitalization benefits communities through new and retained jobs, increased private investment, increased property tax revenue, increased tourism revenue and improved perceptions. The WDDC has released a new website where the community may obtain the latest information on downtown’s development as well as the new downtown plan. The site is www.downtownwichita.com.

The WDDC is a non-profit organization focused on stimulating interest and investment in Downtown. The organization is governed by its Board of Directors consisting of property and business owners from the Downtown area. The Board represents more than 1,400 businesses in the center city and directs and manages the WDDC’s efforts to revitalize the Downtown area.

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Fidelity Bank commits $15,000 for comprehensive downtown plan.

WICHITA, Kan. - 7/24/2009 - The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) announced that Fidelity Bank committed $15,000 to fund the downtown master plan. This brings the private sector total to $76,000.

“We appreciate the leadership that Fidelity Bank has shown for downtown and their support in our community’s efforts to plan for our economic future,” said Larry Weber, WDDC Chairman. “The private sector has continued to step up and demonstrate how important it is to develop a comprehensive plan.”

In addition to the private sector funding, the WDDC Board of Directors committed $175,000 to a downtown comprehensive strategic plan and the Wichita City Council unanimously voted to put $225,000 to a comprehensive plan.

“Fidelity Bank represents the heart of downtown and the heart of our business community,” said Mayor Carl Brewer. “Through various efforts, including refurbishing the Wichita Carnegie Library Building, Fidelity Bank has committed for years to advancing our city and our downtown.”

The City of Wichita has received 32 proposals in response to its Request for Qualifications. A selection committee will narrow the field of finalists this week. A consultant team is expected to be named in October after public presentations by the finalists.

WDDC’s mission is to drive development in downtown Wichita. According to case studies, downtown revitalization benefits communities through new and retained jobs, increased private investment, increased property tax revenue, increased tourism revenue and improved perceptions. The WDDC has established a website where the community may provide ongoing input on the vision for downtown. The site is www.momentum-ict.com.

The WDDC is a non-profit organization focused on stimulating interest and investment in Downtown. The organization is governed by its Board of Directors consisting of property and business owners from the Downtown area. The Board represents more than 1,400 businesses in the center city and directs and manages the WDDC’s efforts to revitalize the Downtown area.

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