Carrie Rengers

District 96 may have grown ‘slowly and silently’ but offers its own ‘excitement’

For years as more and more businesses came to the 100 acres around K-96 and Oliver, developer Great Plains Ventures “kind of loosely called” the area Ventures Business Park, says Marque Peer, the company’s vice president of development.

“We really didn’t promote it as a park,” he says.

Now, Peer says, “We’re trying to change it to more of a mixed-use development.”

Therefore, the area needed a new name.

“What is catchy and what kind of defines where it’s at?” Peer says.

The answer: District 96.

“Something to serve this area a little bit better,” he says.

There are about 15 businesses there now, such as Great Plains Ventures and its subsidiary, Great Plains Industries, Chisholm Lake Apartments, Aloft Hotel, QuikTrip and Aerospace Systems & Components.

Peer says he’s looking for support businesses for the companies that are already there. That’s why he says he likes that the Bug Lady’s Science Academy is moving there with its child-care center.

“It was a good fit for us.”

Peer would like medical and retail options as well along with a restaurant or two.

“We’re open to just about anything.”

Peer says he sees “all the excitement” when a big business moves to Wichita or relocates within the city and how smaller businesses spring up to offer services to employees.

He thinks if all of District 96’s businesses opened at once, “everybody would be clamoring to get in here and build support for that.”

Instead, Peer says, they “kind of grew over the years slowly and silently.”

“Because it’s grown organically . . . people just don’t realize. . . . People don’t really realize the demand that’s here.”

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Carrie Rengers has been a reporter for almost three decades, including 16 years at The Wichita Eagle. Her Have You Heard? column of business scoops runs five days a week in The Eagle. If you have a tip, please e-mail or tweet her or call 316-268-6340.