Developers of a proposed downtown boutique hotel turned in 16 signature withdrawal forms Thursday to the Sedgwick County Election Commissioner’s office, wrapping up a three-day counter to petitions filed by a free-market group against funding for the project.
The group Moving Wichita Forward launched a three-day telephone campaign last week to talk to Wichita registered voters who signed petitions circulated over the last 60 days by Americans for Prosperity. AFP, which opposes public incentives for private development, wants voters to decide if the Ambassador Hotel developers can keep 75 percent of the transient guest tax revenues the hotel generates over its first 15 years of operation, an estimated $2.25 million. Since the city council amended a charter ordinance on tourism to allocate the guest tax money to the Ambassador, the action is subject to a protest petition and could be forced to a vote if the petitions generate 2,528 verified Wichita registered voter signatures.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said earlier this week that AFP turned in a little more than 3,600 signatures earlier this week. Lehman said this morning her office won’t complete work on the petitions until Monday.
The developers are proposing to build a $22.5 million, 117-room boutique hotel in the old Union National Bank building at Douglas and Broadway. Developers include Tulsa boutique hotel builder Paul Coury, Old Town developer Dave Burk and Wichita construction executive Dave Wells.