Wichita developer Jay Maxwell wants tax incentives to turn the flood-prone northeast corner of Maize Road and Kellogg into a nationally recognized bowling mecca and major entertainment district.
The development would be called Bowllagio — a play on the famous Las Vegas casino and hotel, Bellagio.
The project is in its infancy, and is described as four overlapping phases that are "conceptual and preliminary."
The first phase includes building a 91,000-square-foot family entertainment center and the sale of sites for restaurants and retail stores.
Then a hotel and more restaurants are proposed on the west side of Maize Road. Later, a four-story hotel and large retail development are envisioned north of the Bowllagio center.
Finally, a lake would be built and two restaurants and other retail would go on its shoreline.
No price tag is attached in city documents released late this week.
Right now, the developers — Maize 54 LLC — are hoping Wichita City Council members will help them seek sales tax and revenue bonds, which would channel increases in state and local sales tax revenue their project brings to help fund qualified parts of it.
If council members agree Tuesday, their resolution of support and other documents would go to the Kansas Secretary of Commerce, whose office would decide whether the project qualifies for STAR bonds.
The council's move would also set a public hearing for Dec. 1.
State guidelines require STAR bond projects to be a major tourism draw with 20 percent of visitors from out of state and 30 percent from more than 100 miles away.
City documents show one attempt at that may be the Gordon Vadakin School of Bowling, which would incorporate high-tech gaming and professional training aimed at drawing bowlers nationwide.
Vadakin has coached 14 of Wichita State University's national championship bowling teams.
He could not be reached for comment.
Maxwell said that deal has not been negotiated yet and that it is just one of several conceptual projects being discussed.
"I'm confident everything is going to work out," he said.
Wichita City Council member Jeff Longwell, who represents most of northwest Wichita, said Maxwell and his partners have been working on the project for more than a year.
Much of it has focused on preventing flooding for their own property and those surrounding it.
Longwell said he was skeptical, given that the area has a history of flooding that could be worsened by development.
But as with several recent developments, businesspeople have agreed to reduce flooding by digging out more of the nearby Cowskin Creek, and other unspecified projects.
"I'm all for any development in that area if they're willing to play by our rules and help us get on top of these flooding issues," Longwell said Friday.
Tim Austin, a professional engineer with Poe & Associates Inc. who is consulting for Maxwell, said the drainage and flooding issues have already been addressed.
The work went beyond what would otherwise be required, he said.
Crews have dug out parts of the creek, which should lower base flood elevations from an inch or two in some spots and nearly a foot in others, Austin said.
He said the projects were reviewed and approved by Kansas Division of Water Resources, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"It was pretty thoroughly examined," he said.