Wichita seeing return on investment from economic development


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) –  You don’t have to look very hard to see new construction projects are popping up here in Wichita and in our neighboring communities.

The Delano District is one of those booming areas, especially after an announcement Tuesday that the city approved a 50-million dollar project.

The project includes 180 apartments and 90 hotel rooms.

Many say this is critical to the city’s future plans to build a new baseball stadium and land a ball club with major league ties.

Projects like this can be seen elsewhere.

Derby is putting in a Dinosaur Park with a price tag of $39 million.

To the west of Wichita, in Goddard, they are expected to break ground in the spring on a $30 million sports and entertainment project.

That kind of growth has also been seen right here in downtown Wichita.

“There are over 60 projects that have been completed or under construction since 2010,” said Jeff Fluhr, President of the Downtown Development Corporation.

Fluhr says with so many projects, a lot of dollars have been invested to make it all happen.

“We’ve seen a half a billion dollars of investment that has been completed or that is under construction, that number is actually starting to increase toward three-quarters of a billion,” said Fluhr.

With so much development here and elsewhere. KSN asked economic expert Jeremy Hill if these are positive investments.

“This just aligns pretty well with the business investment, businesses are now ready and willing and wanting to do it, took a while to get them on the table, and the government is obviously partnered up with them,” said Hill.

However, Hill says.he questions how these projects could impact other areas of the economy.

“If it’s the housing side, if we speak generally, well without a growing economy, you spur more housing or apartments in one location, there is only so much demand, it is going to impact other housing,” said Hill.

So, KSN asked, will all of this growth ultimately pay off?

“We are seeing it exponentially, if you look at what has been happening in this downtown, I think the next two to five years is going to be very dynamic, think about Austin, Nashville, Charlotte, they all had a transformative moment to become the city as we see them as today, we believe Wichita is in that moment,” said Fluhr.

Fluhr also pointed out that from the Delano District, all the way down to Washington Avenue, all along Douglas Avenue there have been 280-million dollars worth of investments.

He says we’ve seen a good return on the investments made in that area.

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