City expected to approve River Vista tax increment financing

The Wichita City Council is expected to approve $2.5 million in tax increment financing Tuesday morning for a downtown apartment and entertainment STAR bond complex on the west bank of the Arkansas River.

The TIF money would be used for the River Vista apartment project, a $24.8 million plan to build a 154-unit complex overlooking the west bank of the river, along with parking facilities.

Plans also call for a $2.5 million sales tax and revenue bond, or STAR bond, issue for riverbank improvements. That process requires the approval of the Kansas Department of Commerce, after developers and the city have proven that the improvements will meet state requirements for annual new business and visitor numbers.

Tuesday’s hearing is the first public declaration by the River Vista developer – a Wichita group headed by Bradley Fair developer George Laham – that the project will seek STAR bond funding. Other partners are Old Town developer Dave Burk, Key Construction president Dave Wells and theater chain operator Bill Warren.

Also included will be pedestrian access to the river and to Boats and Bikes, a commercial business that will rent bicycles and boats to the public to use along and on the river.