The Wichita City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday morning to sell the former Kansas Sports Hall of Fame building at 238 N. Mead for $1.43 million to Dave Burk's Marketplace Properties.
Council member Paul Gray voted no, asking for more time to study Burk's offer, along with slightly larger offers from Shark Equity and Gary Oborny's Occidental Management.
The sale is contingent on Burk's completion of a lease with Airbus, which wants to create 100 new engineering jobs over three years to study repair and maintenance of its aircraft. The jobs will average $150,000 annually in salary and benefits, city officials said.
"This is a tremendous day for Wichita," Burk said after the council vote. "I'm excited that we're going to be able to get 100 Wichita engineers who may have lost their jobs back to work."
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Burk's offer was the lowest of the three, with Shark Equity offering just over $1.43 million and Occidental offering $1.52 million, after the payment of real estate commissions.
Burk is already Airbus' landlord at its Wichita facility at 213 N. Mead, across the street from the old hall of fame site.
Wichita is vying with Mobile, Ala., to land the engineering expansion.
Several council members said they voted for Burk's offer on the probability that he can close the Airbus lease.
Council member Jeff Longwell said he supported the sale to Burk to send a message to Airbus that Wichita wants the jobs.
"To not position ourselves in the best way we can right now is a mistake," he said.
Council member Janet Miller also supported Burk's offer, saying Airbus' willingness to work with him and the planning already done for the deal swayed her.
Burk said after the meeting that he hopes to have the Airbus lease completed "within a week or two."
There was a brief dustup after Oborny told council members that Airbus officials have indicated a willingness to deal with him if the city chooses his offer.
Mayor Carl Brewer took exception.
After council member Sue Schlapp asked Brewer later to elaborate, the mayor said Airbus officials expressed a preference to work with Burk.
"Very clearly and very adamantly," Brewer said.
After the meeting, Oborny acknowledged Airbus' preference to deal with Burk but maintained that he could have worked a deal with the planebuilder had his bid been accepted.
Tony Utter, a broker representing Shark Equity, said after the meeting that his unidentified client remains interested in the building should the Burk deal fall through.
Shark intended to house a law firm on the second floor, with the first floor open for other potential tenants.
Oborny said his potential tenants will look for other buildings, but he would retain some interest in the building if the Burk lease deal falls through.
The city's asking price for the building was $1.75 million. John Philbrick, the city's real estate administrator, said proceeds from the Burk sale will cover the city's expenses on the building.