River Vista developers get amended agreement for west bank project

The developers of River Vista could be adding a hotel to their planned residential and mixed-use development on the west bank of the Arkansas River downtown.

The Wichita City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an amended and restated development agreement with the development group led by George Laham.

The amended agreement calls for a new configuration for the 154-unit apartment building, moving the commercial portion of the project – Phase Two of River Vista – to the northwest corner of First and McLean. The agreement also includes $4.1 million in additional financing, which will be done through community improvement district financing. The CID will be repaid through special assessments, not a sales tax, city officials said.

The developers’ costs are expected to increase from $19.8 million to $24 million because of changes to the River Vista plan.

Laham said after the council meeting that in working through design plans for River Vista, the developers engaged “several groups.”

“Through that we found a hotel group that is very interested. … We are in conversations with them about building a hotel at the site,” he said.

Laham said that adding a hotel is not yet a firm part of the plans for River Vista.

Other changes to the River Vista project include increasing its parking structure capacity from 143 spaces to 251 spaces.

The City Council in October approved a development plan for River Vista and $2.5 million in tax increment financing, which remains in the amended agreement.

Laham’s group bought the land from the city for $100,000, less than the $600,000 appraisal.

River Vista developers also seek riverbank improvements to the north of River Vista and extending to Delano Park. The amended plan said those improvements will be financed through $4.75 million in sales tax and revenue bonds, $1.05 million in general obligation bonds and $2.06 million in special assessments.

Laham said that with the council’s action on Tuesday, “we hope to be under construction this spring.”

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.