Sports Hall may house Airbus

Old Town developer David Burk has submitted a $1.43 million bid to the city of Wichita to buy the former Kansas Sports Hall of Fame building.

If plans work out, the building will house about 100 Airbus aircraft engineers.

The Wichita City Council will consider the bid Tuesday. It is the only bid for the building, said City Manager Robert Layton.

The city bought the 26,000-square-foot building at 238 N. Mead in 2003 for $600,000 and renovated it for the hall of fame. But the hall had trouble paying the rent and the city agreed to move it to the Wichita Boathouse.

The bid, if approved, will cover all of the city's outlays.

"The way this worked out is a win-win-win," Layton said.

Burk even agreed to pay the $49,000 sales commission to J.P. Weigand and Sons.

The deal has a strong economic development component.

Airbus has additional engineering work it might assign to Wichita if adequate space can be found. The building sits across the parking lot from the Airbus design facility.

Bill Greer, head of Airbus' North America Engineering, said earlier this week that he asked Burk to acquire the building and lease it to Airbus.

Burk said it's too early to say whether the deal will go through.

If his bid is approved, he can supply firm cost numbers to Greer, who will then be able to supply firm cost numbers to his superiors.

If Airbus doesn't decide to assign the work to Wichita, Burk said he won't buy the building.

"I feel really pretty good about it," Burk said, "but nothing is certain until the deal is done."