Carrie Rengers

Delano catalyst site apartments now have a name, a groundbreaking date

Part of the long-awaited Delano catalyst project now has a name and a groundbreaking date.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Overland Park-based EPC Real Estate Group is going to break ground on 225 Sycamore, a 204-unit apartment complex that is central to the more than $50 million project of apartments, shops and a hotel just south of the Advanced Learning Library.

The development partnership settled on the 225 Sycamore name on Friday. The groundbreaking is behind on what the group originally planned but slightly ahead of latest projections.

“There’s been a lot that we’ve worked through here,” says Austin Bradley, EPC’s vice president of development.

He says initially there were challenges with the development agreement between EPC and the city on how tax increment financing money would be deployed.

The city is subsidizing the project with $12 million that will be diverted from projected property and sales tax increases in the area, including about $3 million from a 2 percent additional sales tax paid on items bought from businesses at the site.

There also was a holdup due to some AT&T data lines that needed to be moved.

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Along the way, that area of Delano also became identified as an Opportunity Zone — an area the government identifies as needing development where investors can get tax benefits — which Bradley says “threw a wrench into it in a positive way.”

“We had some new opportunities in terms of the attention the deal was getting,” he says. “It was really a benefit to the overall project.”

In July, the Wichita City Council extended the deadline for the apartments to be done from October 2020 to June 2021.

Bradley says the lines were moved more quickly than expected, which has moved up the groundbreaking date. He says he expects the completion to still be sometime in spring 2021.

Work, including moving some utilities, actually began a week ago.

The apartments will have a one-level garage with four stories of apartments above.

The apartments will ring a courtyard with a pool, grills and fire pits.

There will be a fitness center and club house as well.

There will be some businesses that will be amenities for tenants — a bike shop, a salon and a co-working space — that also will be open to the general public.

Crossland Construction is the apartment contractor.

Across the street, EPC has selected TGC Group to build a 95-room hotel.

“We elected to bring in a local group,” Bradley says.

The hotel groundbreaking will be in October, and the completion is expected to be in October 2020.

There is one piece of ground remaining in the project that may be an office site.

“It’s not a certainty yet,” Bradley says. “We’re shooting for that and should know in the next 60 days.”

The city initially approved the catalyst site in late 2017. Though delayed, the project has grown in scope, which may mean an extra $1 million annually in taxes in addition to the approximately $1 million the city already expects to receive.

The money will go to public improvements, such as the nearby new baseball stadium.

The city is making street improvements along Sycamore, including adding benches and bike racks, “really trying to energize that space,” Bradley says of pedestrian activity.

During its final phase of construction, EPC will build a bike path along an abandoned railroad corridor.

Bradley says it will start on McLean and go west at least across the catalyst site and then the city will pick up development from there.

“It’s going to be a nice amenity.”