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Sedgwick County to auction off downtown Wichita parking lot

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, at 6:12 p.m.

Sedgwick County is auctioning off a downtown parking lot on Thursday in the hopes it will be redeveloped.

The 1.37-acre lot sits at the northeast corner of Second and St. Francis, immediately west of the railroad tracks from Old Town Square.

The auction, by McCurdy Auction, will be at noon at the site. The auction will be absolute. The highest responsible bid, no matter how low, will take the land.

The land sits to the north of the former Coleman plant, which was torn down in 2011 because environmental hazards made it a poor candidate for redevelopment. The county spent $2.1 million to buy the Coleman plant and built a 500-space parking lot on it, across the street from the land to be auctioned off Thursday.

Although the downtown master plan envisions the land up for auction as residential development, federal and state environmental rules dictate that it can’t become housing, said Scott Knebel, the city’s downtown revitalization manager.

Jeff Fluhr, president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corp., said the the site could become retail, restaurants or office buildings. It would extend the recent redevelopment of St. Francis from the Intrust Bank Arena north several blocks. It sits across St. Francis from the stylish new Pixius headquarters and a block from Old Town Square, Printers Inc. and the Flats at 324.

“We see that area as a gateway into the core of downtown,” Fluhr said. “By being able to use that as retail or restaurant space, we feel offers a lot of opportunity for infill development.”

Jay Maxwell, owner of Pixius and an experienced developer, said he plans to bid on the lot. His employees now park there, but he said the county has promised that if it is eventually built upon, the employees could park in the county’s 500-space lot across the street.

He said he knows of others who will bid as well but wouldn’t speculate on possible uses.

“Who knows what it will be,” Maxwell said.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

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