Phil Ruffin has submitted a bid to purchase the Hyatt Regency Wichita downtown and is confident he will soon own the property.
Ruffin, the billionaire Wichita and Las Vegas businessman, recently bid $20 million for the city-owned property, nearly twice the amount offered by the only other bidder.
A group called Riverfront Partners submitted a bid of $10.4 million for the hotel. Riverfront Partners consists of George Laham, Jack DeBoer, Tony Isaac and Bruce Christenson, according to city documents.
The two bidders were announced by the city Friday afternoon. The Wichita City Council voted to put the hotel, at 400 W. Waterman, on the market in April.
“We’ll probably be the high bidder, but it’s not ours yet,” said Ruffin by phone while vacationing in Montana on Friday. “We didn’t want to steal it. We wanted to give them a fair price.”
Scot Rigby, assistant manager and development assistance director for the city of Wichita, said interest was shown from regional and national entities alike since the decision to put the property on the market.
“It’s indicative of the continued growth and interest in the Wichita region,” Rigby said. “We need to get into both proposals, vet both proposals and then make a recommendation to the council.”
Rigby said a recommendation could come as early as the scheduled City Council meeting on July 12. The city paid about $18.3 million to buy the Hyatt Regency in 2001.
Bids were due to the city by 2 p.m. Wednesday. Rigby said an agreement the city has with Hyatt to run the property as a Hyatt hotel through 2026 will stand if and when the property is sold.