Four acres sold to the Wichita Wind Surge (Double-A; Texas League) for a entertainment/office village has been sold back to the city, as a developer will tackle Wichita ballpark development.
As part of the deal to lure the New Orleans Baby Cakes to Wichita in 2019, the city sold four acres of prime riverfront real estate for $4, with the team owners promising to launch a mixed-use development with a hotel and office space. The city also positioned the deal as a no-risk investment, with Wichita Riverfront LP committing to completing 65,000 square feet of commercial space by 2025, including a first round of retail/entertainment development scheduled for 2021.
Then came COVID-19 and Lou Schwechheimer’s untimely passing, and those plans came were postponed and renegotiated. Time ran out on that original plan.
One key part of the purchase agreement was the city’s ability to buy back the land for $4 in the event the Wichita ballpark development failed, and that’s exactly what happened. Earlier this week Wichita formally repurchased the land and came to an agreement with the remaining developer to basically follow the original game plan. EPC Real Estate Group, which had been working with the prior Wind Surge owners, Wichita Riverfront LP (the team was purchased by Diamond Baseball Holdings in December 2022, but the development rights remained with Wichita Riverfront LP), will now be the sole developer on the project.
What originally was a $65-million development is now a $100 million+ development. An eight-story hotel is still part of the Wichita ballpark development, along with an adjoining parking ramp. The office component has been scrapped in favor of residential. And the goal of integrating the hotel into the ballpark experience will still hold true.
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