Van Horn to promote WaterWalk project

Van Horn Promotion and Marketing, Wichita, has been selected to promote Jack DeBoer’s WaterWalk mixed-used development.

Owner Sharon Van Horn and her company will program events for DeBoer’s WaterWalk Village concept, a self-contained community of residences, retail shops, restaurants and offices.

“Sharon shares our vision and is committed to making the WaterWalk neighborhood one of the premiere destinations in Wichita,” Doug Rupe, executive vice president of WaterWalk, said in an e-mail.

“We are excited about the experience, expertise, creativity, and enthusiasm Sharon and her team bring to WaterWalk.”

Van Horn said her company, which specializes in event management, culinary endeavors and social networking, wants to increase traffic at WaterWalk as the project grows.

“I told Doug Rupe when I was talking with him that my goal should be to work myself out of a job,” Van Horn said.

“In three to five years or so, when the economy loosens and banks start lending money, they’ll need a full-time person programming events there.”

Van Horn’s job is an extension of DeBoer’s strategy since his October acquisition of the struggling 7-year-old project: Get people downtown and pitch the vision.

“We’ve got thousands of people downtown every day, and our task is to figure out how to get them over there, during the day or after work,” she said.

“We’re looking toward a combination of acts to draw in the downtown crowd right now, with a full promotions and event calendar for 2011 and 2012.”

DeBoer’s vision for WaterWalk is a freewheeling collection of single-story restaurants, hotels, shops and offices around WaterWalk Place, creating everything condo owners would need within walking distance.

The single-story commercial buildings — “to make sure our residents here can always see the river,” DeBoer said — are still in the formative stage, and tenants are being aggressively recruited.