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January 6, 2014

Public meeting to kick off Phase II in Century II needs planning

A public meeting next week will officially start the second phase of planning for Century II’s convention and performing arts needs.

A public meeting next week will officially start the second phase of planning for Century II’s convention and performing arts needs.

The architectural team Populous and GMLV of Wichita will host a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Room 101 of the Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center.

A market assessment for performing arts and entertainment will begin Thursday by AMS Planning and Fisher Dachs Associates. That study is privately funded through a partnership involving the city’s Arts Council, Go Wichita, Music Theatre of Wichita and the Wichita Symphony. It should be completed by early March.

The convention market assessment, completed in late 2013, showed potential for national convention growth if Wichita adds industry-standard convention facilities. It recommended three options:

• Leave the convention center as is, without renovations or new construction.
• Build a new convention center and renovate Century II plus construct new Hyatt hotel rooms.
• Build a new convention center and performing arts center with additional Hyatt hotel rooms, replacing the current Century II facility.

The second phase of the study is expected to be completed by June. It will be followed by a third phase, which will be a cost/benefit analysis.

City Council members have indicated they are not committed to any action at the Century II site, pending that cost/benefit analysis.

However, convention and performing arts improvements have been floated as possible options for a city-wide sales tax increase, which could go to voters as early as this fall.

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