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Downtown Wichita’s appraised property value up 62 percent

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at 7:16 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at 7:40 a.m.

The appraised value of property in downtown Wichita has risen 62 percent since a revitalization plan was initiated in 2010.

The appraised value was $815.3 million in 2013, reflecting a $310.6 million increase since 2010, according to figures in an annual report provided Tuesday to the City Council by the Wichita Downtown Development Corp.

Property taxes, however, are collected based on assessed values. Those figures also have increased, although not as dramatically.

The assessed value grew to $80.6 million in 2013, up 1.3 percent since 2010.

The significant difference is because such big-ticket items as the new Intrust Bank Arena, downtown YMCA and Kansas Leadership Center – all projects completed since 2010 – don’t pay property taxes, downtown corporation president Jeff Fluhr said.

Both values are on an upward trend even in the last year. Appraised value is up 16.9 percent over 2012; assessed value has increased 2.6 percent.

Council Member Jeff Clendenin liked the sound of those numbers, particularly the assessed value.

“We wouldn’t have seen anything close to that much property value 20 years ago,” he said. “Downtown was rotting.”

The property tax money gained from a revitalized downtown is helping feed core services, Clendenin noted.

“Now the market is taking off,” he said.

Residential living has been a big driver – so much so that the consultant who helped develop the residential plan for downtown is being asked to provide an updated marketing plan, Fluhr said.

An estimated 1,580 people now live downtown. That’s up from 1,393 people in 2012, when WDDC began tracking the figure.

Occupancy rate for the 21 living options is close to 100 percent, Fluhr said. Another eight residential projects are under construction.

River Vista, a 154-unit apartment complex on the west bank of the river, is set to open in 2015.

“We’re seeing remarkable investment in residential,” he said.

Overall, the downtown project is ahead of the 15-year plan mapped out in 2010, Fluhr said.

Thirty-seven projects worth $291 million have been completed since 2010. That figure doesn’t include the $190 million spent by Sedgwick County taxpayers through a one-cent sales tax to buy land and build the Intrust Bank Arena downtown.

Ten more projects are under construction, and another 10 are in planning stages.

That doesn’t include $100 million in projects – commercial, residential, mixed use – that the downtown corporation has begun discussing with developers, Fluhr said.

Private investment downtown continues to outpace public investment by a wide margin.

Through 2013, private investment is more than seven times greater than public investment since 2010, the report said.

The private sector has invested $249.2 million during that time compared to $32.3 million from public money, according to WDDC figures. Again, that doesn’t include the Intrust Bank Arena.

Private money accounted for 96 percent of the $55.3 million invested in downtown in 2013.

Ten years ago, private money picked up 60 percent of the tab, the report showed.

“That’s very significant,” Council Member Janet Miller said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to achieve.

“We began the plan with seeding downtown redevelopment with public money, which over time encouraged private investment. That’s exactly what we’re seeing today.”

The report was compiled from various sources, including Wichita State University, city finance, Sedgwick County appraiser and the U.S. Census. Some other highlights:

• There are 26,212 people working downtown, including 26,137 who commute daily into downtown. Almost 350 leave their residence in downtown to work elsewhere. Thirty-seven percent of those workers come into downtown from outside the city limits.

• Forty-six percent of the workers downtown are earning more than $3,333 per month. Sixty percent of those workers are 30 to 54 years old.

• On consumer potential, 121,374 people live within 10 minutes of downtown, and 448,518 live within 20 minutes.

• Forty-six percent of the downtown population has moved there since 2010.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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