For many decades, Wichita businesses left downtown for the east side.
IMA Financial Group is the latest company to buck that trend.
“IMA has been looking at other Wichita locations for some time, and the possibility of joining Downtown’s momentum is exciting,” said IMA Inc. Wichita president Kyle Orndorff in a statement.
IMA currently is at 8200 E. 32nd St. near K-96.
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“When we think about where we want to be, IMA wants to add to the vibrance of our city’s core,” Orndorff said.
“It’s just another highly, highly positive piece to the overall puzzle of downtown being a great place to be,” says TGC founder Nick Esterline.
In early November, Have You Heard? reported that TGC, a partner in the Spaghetti Works project, has plans for another $22 million building downtown where Mead’s Corner used to be at Douglas and Emporia.
The TGC office is just north of there.
TGC will demolish the former Mead’s space and use its parking lot to the west for the four-story, 74,000-square-foot building. It will be a mixed-use space for office, retail and restaurant use. There won’t be a residential component.
IMA will take the entire third and fourth floors for a total of about 40,000 square feet.
There’s about 20,000 square feet on the second floor available for lease.
“We’re actively talking to and looking at some groups that would be new growth for Wichita (and) new jobs for Wichita,” Esterline says.
On the first floor, there’s about 12,000 square feet that Esterline says will be for retail and restaurants.
“Kind of (an) urban, walkable streetscape,” he says.
There would be frontage on Douglas and Emporia.
Esterline says he has a letter of intent out to a potential restaurant tenant for 3,500 square feet.
He says the restaurant would be new to the market. Representatives of the restaurant came to Wichita recently.
“They loved what was going on in downtown. Loved our vision for that corner.”
Demolition and construction will start in late June. The building will be ready by late 2020.
As previously reported, the city approved a financial package for TGC’s office building that includes an extra sales tax on purchases made in the new development of 2 cents on the dollar for 22 years. The add-on sales tax is projected to generate $2.2 million, most of which would go to the developer to help defray the cost of the project.
The city will keep 10 percent of the increased sales tax to pay for converting Emporia from a one-way street to a two-way street to accommodate the development.
Industrial revenue bonds will provide about $2.7 million in property tax relief for TGC over 10 years. The bond issue will save TGC an estimated $750,000 in sales tax on building materials, equipment and furnishings to complete the project.
Historic preservationists fought to keep the 109-year-old former Mead’s Corner building.
At the time, Wichita City Council member Cindy Claycomb, who represents the area, recommended approving the demolition and new construction.
“I think that our history is very important, but our history is not just buildings,” she said. “A vibrant downtown with office workers and retail is also part of our history.”
Esterline says the new building is yet another major project in the evolving core of Wichita.
“It shows and validates the movement downtown.”