WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council voted 7-0 on a memorandum of understanding that will allow a downtown developer to solidify plans for the Kansas Health Science Center.
Douglas Market Development LLC has plans to turn several large, empty downtown buildings into a $75 million investment featuring a medical education campus, student housing, a culinary school and a hotel. The proposed development is an answer to Wichita’s repeated requests to find ways to retain young talent.
“Having a huge student presence downtown is something we haven’t had,” executive vice president of Downtown Wichita, Jason Gregory said.
The new campus would add 324 jobs with an average wage of $55,000 within five years of opening the project.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, expectations of the city’s participation were laid out and ultimately approved. The city will make financial accomodations for the developer as well as remodel Chester Lewis reflection park, which sits adjacent to where the new campus will be.
“That brings students. that brings life and vibrancy and a remodel to Chester Lewis park so I think the council today is excited about what could come after 120 days,” councilmember Brandon Johnson said.
Due to the accreditation process, the development will move forward very quickly if approved by city council in the next 120 days.
Below are the locations for the planned development:
The Medical Education Campus would sit at 130 S. Market and 230 E. William. Construction would begin by March 1,2020 and the first class of students at KHSC would commence no later than August 1, 2022.
The Student Housing building would be located at 209 E. William, complete with 119 units for student housing. Construction would begin by March 1, 2020.
The Culinary School would sit at 124 S. Broadway, featuring a food hall, commercial kitchen and culinary school. Construction would also begin by March 1, 2020.
Lastly, the 119 room hotel would sit at 105 S. Broadway with the same March 1, 2020 construction goal.
As for the next step, the city and the developer will negotiate the developer agreement and present the final agreement to city council within 120 days for possible approval.
Douglas Market Development LLC will announce which medical school they are working on accreditation with at a later time if council approves of the Kansas Health Science Center development.
KSN reached out to Sudha Tokala, who owns the four buildings and manages Douglas Market Development LLC, declined comment at this time.