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Wichita City Council rescinds approval for Bowllagio redevelopment district

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at 9:45 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2013, at 10:12 a.m.

The three-year attempt to kickstart an entertainment district at Maize and Kellogg died Tuesday morning when the Wichita City Council terminated the project’s redevelopment district.

But developer Jay Maxwell’s bowling-themed Bowllagio district didn’t die quietly at City Hall. Council member Jeff Longwell wants to know why the Sedgwick County Commission voted on Dec. 12 to effectively kill the project at Maize and Kellogg.

Longwell was the lone dissenter, and lone commenter, in a 5-1 vote to rescind the district. Only six council members voted Tuesday, with the District 4 seat once held by Michael O’Donnell vacant.

The redevelopment district would have cleared the way for tax increment financing to help pay for about $6 million in flood and drainage improvements on the development property.

Allen Bell, the city’s urban development director, told the council that the city has 30 days from the county’s vote last month to legally rescind the district.

On Dec. 12, the county voted unanimously to find that the district would have an adverse impact on Sedgwick County. That vote clearly roiled Longwell, a project proponent.

“When they held their quasi-public hearing, county staff put forward five points that make this a valid TIF,” Longwell said. “I never heard any arguments on those that would invalidate the TIF. Is there any chance we can get some specific information on what the adverse impact might be?”

Bell said he would seek an explanation.

The $96 million bowling-based entertainment project has been on and off over the past three years at City Hall. Originally presented as a sales tax and revenue bond project, or STAR bond, the city killed the project in 2010 over concerns it would adversely affect the city’s bowling alleys.

It returned last year without the STAR bond request, again with plans to be anchored by a bowling complex, with commercial, retail and hospitality businesses included.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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