Politics & Government

City poised to approve two new apartment buildings near Wichita State University

Aerial view of WSU’s Innovation Campus

A drone's eye view of Wichita State’s Innovation Campus.
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A drone's eye view of Wichita State’s Innovation Campus.

Two more privately owned apartment buildings are about to spring up across the street from Wichita State University, this time on the south side of 17th Street across from the Innovation Campus.

The three-story apartment buildings will add 84 units with 147 bedrooms, creating a housing complex around an existing building with 35 one-bedroom apartments.

The new buildings will be southwest of Bluff Avenue and 17th, with some parking for the project on the east side of Bluff, according to plans filed with City Hall.

The project will replace older single-family houses, some of which had been used as student rentals.

The project is being developed by Linnear Properties LLC, a network of Kansas and Florida companies owned by Todd, Mark. Maria and Tiffany Farha, according to state business records.

The plan shows the development could be short on parking, which is always a crunch in and around WSU during the school year.

A WSU study said about 170 parking stalls would be needed for the tenants of the apartment complex. The developers are providing 130 parking spaces total.

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A torn sign marks the site of a parking lot for two new apartment buildings. The houses in the background will be torn down. Dion Lefler The Wichita Eagle

Planning staff is recommending reducing the parking requirement because the developers say they are trying to acquire additional land that could be used for more spaces if needed.

Brian Lindebak, an agent representing the developers, told the Planning Commission that the parking will be adequate anyway, because tenants will include international students and others members of the university community who don’t drive.

He said less than 60 percent of the tenants of the existing apartment building have their own cars.

The plan passed the Planning Commission 12-0.

The District 1 Advisory Board voted 4-2 to reject it.

Brandon Johnson, who represents the area on the City Council, said several neighbors came to the district board and complained about problems they had with the existing building.

After the meeting, the residents met with the developers’ agents, who promised they would be better neighbors in the future, Johnson said.

The council is scheduled to vote on the plan at 9 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 455 N. Main, Wichita.

The project is on the consent agenda, so it won’t be discussed at the meeting unless council members raise questions. Johnson said he doesn’t plan to.

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Senior Journalist Dion Lefler has been providing award-winning coverage of local government, politics and business in Wichita for 20 years. Dion hails from Los Angeles, where he worked for the LA Daily News, the Pasadena Star-News and other papers. He’s a father of twins, director of lay servant ministries in the United Methodist Church and plays second base for the Old Cowtown vintage baseball team.

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