Gander Mountain is coming back to Wichita, just not in the same location.
“The good news Gander Outdoor and Camping World will be in south Wichita,” says James Clendenin, Wichita City Council member. “The great thing is Gander is staying in Wichita.”
That’s good news for Wichita.
The bad news is the Gander Mountain building is still empty.
“Obviously, we have the property that’s going to remain vacant,” says Clendenin.
Clendenin says he and other council members believe it’s a matter of time until the building has a new business or businesses on the site.
“That property is going to remain extremely important to the success of everything going on in downtown Wichita,” says Clendenin. “I think the silver lining is that property will become more valuable as we continue to do the development on the river, including the baseball stadium as we drive traffic in that area.”
As Wichita leaders push forward with plans for a new baseball stadium, KSN asked what about the incentive monies the city gave to developers of the Gander Mountain location.
That location was part of a TIF district for the WaterWalk development area that included the Hyatt Hotel.
A TIF district is when a city, like Wichita, borrows money, and gives the money to a developer. The money then comes back in the way of increased taxes coming into the newly developed area.
The city sold the Hyatt recently. But the Gander Mountain building is empty at the moment and not bringing in additional tax revenue from retail sales.
KSN reached out to WaterWalk developers and others who have ownership or development interests in the building.
Amy Liebau is the Chief Operating Officer for Laham Development Company says they are considering options.
“It is available. It’s an 82,000 square foot building that can be divided. It’s in wonderful condition, and they (owners) are talking to people both locally and nationally. With all that is going on with the downtown renaissance now and the location of the building on the river there are a lot of possibilities for the building. And they are considering all options.”
Clendenin says city council members remain positive the Gander Mountain building will be a solid addition to the development around the downtown area.
“Whatever development has happened at WaterWalk, has added to the quality of life in town. The fountains, the apartments that are down there. That property that’s developed with the old Gander Mountain, those are all things that we can built upon, things that we didn’t have before.”