Special Reports

Downtown condo project gets final approval

Exchange PlaceDowntown Wichita’s largest residential developments in decades lurched ahead this morning with the city council’s final approval of an extra $1 million in public financing.

Though the condo development’s prospects were in question just a week ago, a $900,000 influx of private money proved enough to convince council members that the deal, though risky, is worth the public taxpayer investment, which is expected to be recouped by increased property tax payments over the next 20 years.

Council members this morning voted 5-2 — the same as last week’s vote — to approve the increase in tax increment financing to $10.3 million. That money is expected to secure a $30 million federally-backed loan.

Council members Jim Skelton and Paul Gray opposed the deal, and they have called it too risky in previous discussions.

Real Development’s project promises 230 apartments with rooftop lounge areas, around 64 nighttime and 100 daytime public parking spaces, and a ground-level retail strip that includes some kind of small grocery store. (more…)

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