Economic growth expected to spark in North Wichita

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — It is an area of North Wichita that was once home to an oil refinery and now empty lots. The hope is a new project will bring new life to the areas along I-135 and 21st street. Construction is already underway where the old oil refinery once stood.

Within the next month, road construction is expected to begin on 21st street expanding to 5 lanes. That is just one part of the development. Some people say this is good news for the Northside especially since it’s been more than 15 years since any business has been here.

“We think that is going to be huge the impact of the 21st street redevelopment once we see that property done,” said Ariel Rodriguez, the executive director of Empower.

From an oil refinery to acres of vacant land, new development is already underway.

“Construction started our first warehouse is 180,000 square feet and it currently is in construction now the slabs are poured and it will look like a building here by April,” said Marty Cornejo, one of the developers.

150 acres of land are set to transform into warehouses, a travel center, manufacturing, and jobs.

“What we see from that are a lot of opportunities for people to come to the north end stopping and supporting these businesses but also an opportunity for employment for many of our residents right here on good jobs that can get them with the skills they have,” said Rodriguez.

With a 100 million dollar investment into the north side of Wichita, the developer said the new roads and some of the warehouses could be completed as early as July of 2022.

“Job creation is huge, and east of the canal, clear to Broadway, clear to Nomar to the Evergreen center this whole area is getting a complete face-lift,” said Cornejo.

“With the refinery being cleaned up and I really think that shows the neighborhood that there is investment and growth and can happen in this part of Wichita,” said Rodriguez.

The project will be helped by 6.8 million dollars worth of tax increment financing. City officials say with the previous pollution on the land the option for development was limited. The incentive is meant to spur this growth.

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