The city of Wichita plans to sell the land surrounding the new baseball stadium to the team’s owners for $1 an acre in a deal the mayor said is simply a transfer of title but will help bring in money to the city.
“It’s only about four acres is all they get for a dollar an acre,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “The rest of the land remains in the city’s possession because it’s the baseball stadium.”
The city owns approximately 24 acres at the former Lawrence-Dumont Stadium site and after the final footprint of the stadium and other enhancements, the city estimates 4.25 acres will be available for private development.
In the negotiation with the baseball team’s owners, the city would grant them the right to purchase the development site for hospitality, commercial, retail, office and residential uses for $1 an acre.
“What we’re getting for that transfer of title to the team is land that gets put back on the tax rolls, and it’s going to benefit us just for that 24 acres to the tune of $38.5 million in cash back to the city,” said Longwell.
Some Wichitans are skeptical, though.
“The city should be putting it up for auction, advertising it widely and trying to get numerous bidders,” said Karl Peterjohn, former Sedgwick County commissioner. “We did this several times at the county and got excellent results.”
“I do understand that development is necessary,” said Kendice Talty, president of Delano United. “I think it’s going to be a positive thing for Delano. I don’t think it’s necessary to sell it off quite so cheaply.”
Some boards and committees in the Delano District said they’re concerned.
The mayor said this has all been part of negotiations with the team since the start, but he couldn’t release that information until now.
“The team has to develop, and we need the development to pay for the stadium, so it works out for everyone,” said Longwell.
The Wichita City Council will present this information to the public on Tuesday. Mayor Longwell said the vote could be delayed for several weeks.
To read the city’s full agenda for this item, click here.