The Wichita City Council will hold a Nov. 20 public hearing on a request for public incentives for the revival of a long-planned, west-side entertainment district.
Developer Jay Maxwell’s Maize 54 LLC is seeking pay-as-you-go tax increment financing for Bowllagio, an 86-acre development on a floodplain just north of Kellogg on the east side of Maize Road. Plans call for a mixed-used development anchored by the Bowllagio Bowling and Family Entertainment Center, along with retail, hotel, restaurants and office space.
One audience member, Ray Baty, general manager of three Wichita bowling centers, criticized the council for another case of “government choosing winners instead of losers.”
Baty called the TIF financing a “payback” to Maxwell for improvements already made to the flood-prone undeveloped corner.
“The request to offset the drainage and land acquisition makes no sense,” Baty said. “The majority of the property has already been acquired and the drainage improvements made.
“What then, is the purpose of the TIF? To encourage development where it is unlikely to occur, and the corner is one of the highest traffic corners in west Wichita. If it wasn’t, QuikTrip wouldn’t have gone there.”
TIF financing – which uses the increased tax revenue from a development to pay for eligible public improvement costs, including land acquisition, site preparation and infrastructure – would cover infrastructure work along Kellogg and Maize Road, land acquisition, utility work and fill dirt to remove the area from the flood plain, according to city documents.
What isn’t included in the latest incarnation of Bowllagio is a renewed request for $13 million in sales tax revenue bonds, a state incentive for developments designated as regional economic development draws.