Downtown renovations continue this year

Wichita City Council members will get a report Tuesday on a busy 2012 for downtown redevelopment efforts.

It’s been a successful year of project development, said Jeff Fluhr, president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corp., with no catch potentially bigger than Friday’s announcement that Union Station has been sold. Wichita-based developers Gary Oborny and Chad Stafford and their company, Occidental Management, plan to convert the historic train station into a multi-million-dollar destination hub for retail, restaurants, clubs, hospitality and office space.

Fluhr said more than $100 million in new projects were completed in 2012, with about the same number in the works this year. He said developers also are doing due diligence on more than $100 million in future projects.

Other projects in Project Downtown’s annual report includes:

• The Block One redevelopment project, including the Ambassador Hotel, Kansas Leadership Center and Kansas Health Foundation conference center, the parking garage, urban plaza and ongoing development of the Henry’s building.

• The Douglas Avenue Corridor Transit Development study, and receipt of a Federal Transit Administration bus livability initiative grant to fund the $1.35 million first phase of improvements.

• St. Francis streetscaping improvements from Douglas to Second Street, connecting Old Town and Intrust Bank Arena, and producing other projects such as the Zelman Building, the Pixius Communications Building and Bite Me BBQ.

• Numerous residential projects, including Player Piano Lofts, The Renfro, Commerce Street Lofts, Zelman Lofts, The Lux, Corner 365, WaterWalk Apartments, the Commodore and Exchange Place.

• Opening of the Robert D. Love YMCA.

• Opening of the Fountains at WaterWalk.

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