Opinion Columns & Blogs

More signs of residential strength downtown

Developing the Arkansas River corridor remains key to downtown’s revitalization, so recent news on two area apartment complexes was welcome. The Wichita City Council signed off Tuesday on some changes to River Vista, the $38.5 million development planned for First and McLean, which now aims for 204 rather than 154 apartments and expects to break ground in the next 30 days. And last week Jack DeBoer’s WaterWalk Hotel Apartments announced the 133-unit hybrid complex at Maple and McLean was 98 percent full in May and June. While the steady increases and high occupancy of residential projects are exciting, and shops and restaurants are being added in other parts of downtown, retail along the river remains elusive. River Vista no longer plans to devote 20,000 square feet to commercial retail, after dropping a planned hotel earlier. Given that River Vista was once anticipated to be “Bradley Fair on the river,” the change should give City Hall pause – and motivation to find other ways to bring businesses and visitors to the river corridor. – Rhonda Holman