Carrie Rengers

Mayor teases a new high-tech high-rise building, but where?

Today a pop-up park, tomorrow a high-rise?
Today a pop-up park, tomorrow a high-rise? The Wichita Eagle

From the time downtown developers Michael Ramsey and Robert Eyster purchased the property along Douglas between Main and Market that was known for a giant, undeveloped hole in the ground, they’ve planned Class A office space there when the market is ready for it.

They worked with the city to create a pocket park to creatively cover the hole in the meantime.

A new building isn’t exactly imminent, but there’s much discussion about one.

At Rotary Club of Wichita on Monday, Mayor Jeff Longwell mentioned a new 7-story building coming to downtown that will have a technology focus.

He didn’t say where that building will be or who will occupy it, but sources say it’s the property where the park is.

“I did tell Rotary today that we are becoming a high-tech center,” Longwell says.

“That’s one of the clusters that we’re promoting, because we think that will help us in a significant way diversify our job market.”

Longwell won’t discuss any of the building’s particulars, but he says, “It’s all 100 percent filled with high-tech jobs.”

Sources says plans are far from finalized.

There’s a technology company that could be the key tenant that the rest of the building is built around.

There likely would be a parking garage within the building – possibly as many as three floors – that might utilize tax increment financing. That would mean part of the garage would be for public parking at least part of the time.

With a garage, the building could be more like 10 stories.

Industrial revenue bonds are another possibility.

Nothing has been formally presented to the city yet, though city leaders have been in discussions about the project.

Look for more information as it becomes available.

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers