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Developer buys parking lot, plans to build at Second and St. Francis

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at 1:02 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at 5:28 p.m.

Old Town developer David Burk said he plans to build on the northeast corner of Second and St. Francis streets after being high bidder for the land at auction.

Burk bid $300,000 for about 60,000 square feet of land, outbidding local developer Johnny Stevens, in an auction held Thursday in the warehouse of the Coleman Factory Outlet.

The land was sold by Sedgwick County, which bought it along with the much larger site of the former Coleman Co. plant across the street at the intersection’s southeast corner. In 2011, the county tore down the Coleman plant because soil contamination made it a poor redevelopment candidate and put in a 550-space parking lot.

Assistant County Manager Ron Holt said he was pleased with the price the county got Thursday.

Burk said he envisions a large multi-story, mixed-use building on the auctioned land. It sits across the railroad tracks from Old Town Square and, on the other side, across St. Francis from the new Pixius building and a block from Burk’s Flats at 324.

“I see it as an extension of Old Town,” he said.

Because of contamination under the former Coleman plant, the state has blocked residential development on the auctioned site. But Burk said it’s possible he’ll look into working with the state to reverse the restriction on residential development.

It’s likely work on a project will start next year, he said.

Burk had started the bidding for the land at $50,000. He and Stevens kept bumping up each other’s bids until Stevens dropped out. No one else bid.

Burk said he’s excited about the project and that the price of the land was OK, although not great.

“I just wish Johnny hadn’t showed up,” he said.

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

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