It’s a relief to have the fate of the former IRS building finally settled, more than a year after Sedgwick County purchased the vacant six-story property at 271 W. Third St. to consolidate the Metropolitan Area Planning Department and Metropolitan Area Builders and Construction Department as a one-stop downtown center for builders, developers and tradespeople. A request-for-proposals process sought by county commissioners who’d opposed the purchase yielded no better options, and a 3-2 commission vote Wednesday advanced the use of what’s now called the 271 building for the MAPD and MABCD. Some questions, though: Will the piecemeal renovation ($1.2 million instead of $4.6 million) be cost-effective long term? And would the county now please fast-track a new downtown tag office, which was originally planned to move to the 271 building? (A decision on that RFP is expected by the end of the year.) – Rhonda Holman
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