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Union Station renting out parking spaces for arena events

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, at 5:35 p.m.

While the new owners of Union Station work to recruit tenants, they have found a more immediate source of generating revenue for the historic property at 701 E. Douglas.

Chad Stafford, president of Occidental Management, said Tuesday the proximity of the station to Intrust Bank Arena prompted his company to sign a management agreement with Parking Company of America to manage Union Station’s more than 500 spaces for event parking.

“We wanted to utilize this lot for (events at) Intrust,” he said. “It’s pretty good proximity and easy to access.”

Stafford said not all of Union Station’s parking spaces will be used for every arena event. Some of the spaces are near the elevated train platform and aren’t used unless all of the ground-level spaces are full, he said.

Stafford declined to say how much revenue Occidental earns from parking for Intrust events. “I’m not going to Hawaii next week on the proceeds,” he said.

Parking spaces at Union Station are offered for about $10 a spot, according to a website, parkwhiz.com, which allows patrons to reserve spots in the lot in advance of some arena events. Stafford said patrons can also pay for spots at the time of the event, with cash or credit and debit cards.

He said Occidental hasn’t determined how the arrangement with Parking Company will work once Union Station adds tenants.

“We haven’t really decided on that one, yet,” he said.

Occidental is finalizing plans with Smoothie King Wichita franchisees Neil and Hamendra Bhakta to put a store in the former Rock Island Depot, which is part of the Union Station complex, Stafford said. Neil Bhakta told The Eagle in August that he plans to put in a restaurant and venue space at the depot.

Besides the Bhakta deals, Stafford said Occidental is at the “one- or two-yard line on another lease.” And the company is working on two more potential leases at Union Station that are “larger in size and scope,” he added.

“We’re working through that process now,” Stafford said.

Occidental acquired the 9.5-acre Union Station complex in February and plans to convert it into a mixed-use complex that will include office, retail, restaurant and possibly residential spaces.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.

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