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Wichita City Council approves $10.3 million, Exchange Place project is a go

Exchange Place (conceptual renderings)WICHITA — Real Development’s ambitious Exchange Place condo project in the heart of downtown will go forward now that Wichita City Council members have approved a total of $10.3 million in city financing.

It was a 5-2 vote with council members Paul Gray and Jim Skelton voting against it and warning that the city is taking too much risk on a project that both city staff and a Wichita State University analysis show needs very optimistic factors to align to work out.

But other council members pointed to the guarantees that would let the city recoup any shortfalls in repayment from Exchange Place LLC and development partners Michael Elzufon and David Lundberg.

The vote followed a wild volley of offers that led to Real Development committing $900,000 more than was expected just a day ago. Of that, $700,000 comes from anonymous investors and $200,000 will be cut out of Real Development’s profits.  Another $414,000 was trimmed from the parking garage by taking one level (or 25 spaces) out of it.

Lundberg said he was “extremely grateful” for the council’s willingness to negotiate on the fly.

“We understand the risks too,” he said as reporters swarmed him after the vote. “We don't want to start a project that's going to fail either." (more…)

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