Friday, February 22, 2008

It's time...

... to escalate the discussion about revitalizing downtown Wichita.

Other cities have put forth great efforts and have been quite successful, reaping innumerable benefits from those efforts. Studies show that cities with revitalized downtowns are more successful in attracting new business -- isn't this a goal we all have for Wichita?

And what better way to keep our young talent here than to move forward with invigorating the core with more to do -- mixed use districts with updated office space, more lofts and living options, and more entertainment and retail.

Already property values have risen downtown as Broadway Plaza, the Petroleum Building, Sutton Place and others are reflecting massive improvements both inside and out. And there's more to come.

Urban flight? Why? Downtown Wichita is now offering better value than the 'burbs. It's time for great Wichita companies to take another look at what's happening downtown and make plans to be part of the ongoing transformation.

What do you want to see downtown? Let's talk because yes, it's time to escalate the discussion. And it's time to believe that we can do this.

6 comments:

RLG said...

I love downtown. We must continue to improve the overall atmosphere, by supporting the companies that do business downtown. Bring us more shopping and entertainment.

Leonid said...

Downtown Wichita! HA! That doesn't even sound right. Wichita will be what it always has been and that’s a black hole for dying on the vine aircraft employees. It breaks my heart to know there are so many people who have been deceived into thinking that we will ever be a place where noteworthy stars and entertainment will make its home. Why should we pour our hard earned tax dollars into the armpit of Armpit of America when we are a stones throw away from major cities like Kansas City, and Oklahoma City? The youth in this town only want an expanded selection of breweries and the others could care less because they have Expedia.com saved at a favorite, so when a sweetheart of a plane ticket is available, they can bail out to an actual, real "city". Bottom line is when its all said and done and the arena is just a more conveniently located Coliseum, when the few mid-grade eateries who do come turn over their pots, when the promoters begin to see that their is very little opportunity for who they represent, I will be the first one standing on the pinnacle of the long forgotten dream of a gem we called the Epic center waving a white flag, toting a box of Kleenex while wearing a shirt that will read "I told you so, thanks for the tax"

ICTMom59 said...

Wow, how negative life must be. If Wichita is such a black hole, why are you still here? Surely there are plenty of "real cities" out there that you could take pride in being a citizen of.

Personally, I have lived in "real cities" across this country - places tourists flock to - and I can tell you that Wichita is one of the finest places to call home. I have only one job instead of three, thanks to the great cost of living. I have clean air to breathe, ALL the fine shopping and dining I could ask for and I feel relatively safe in and out of my wonderful home - which cost a mere fraction of what it would anywhere else.

Bringing more shopping and dining downtown - hooray for these guys having the vision and faith in our community to take that chance. Bring it on, I say, let's keep the positive momentum going and turn our backs on the negativity of those who would rather just sit around and complain.

GreenOx said...

Seriously, Leonid, if you hate it so much then leave. Wichita is in the early stages of becoming a KC or an OKC - it just takes time and effort, and projects like the ones Real Development are doing - we need a grocery store, a dry cleaners and affordable lofts and apartments that young professionals can afford. Bringing the arena downtown is a great way to boost up the pace of development, as well - hell, the guys who are managing the arena are known to bring big-name acts to their venues, no matter the size. Downtown just needs to be livable - there needs to be stores and shops that take care of basic necessities. That will complete the rebirth of downtown, I think. Plus, an open-air or organic market (or even a Whole Foods?!) would be a great way to target youth into the area.

RMJH said...

Downtown could work in Wichita. If there is a cultural movement towards it, that is. It's not enough to restore some old buildings, add a few lofts/condos, and tell everyone that downtown is a great place to be.
Money, and more importantly effort, needs to be put into creating an urban culture in Wichita.
Why would i want to pay 200K for a new downtown loft when i will still drive across to the East Side to shop and/or hand out with friends.
Wichita's small geographic size is another huge reason why an active downtown hasn't occurred yet. As everyone knows you can drive anywhere in the city in 20mins or less. There is no real advantage to living downtown to be closer to work because driving 20mins isn't a hassle.
Real Development has done a good job at luring many new businesses downtown. The next step of providing a reason and a desire to live and congregate downtown will be the real challenge.
This will definitely be a youth based movement and before young people want to live downtown we need the standard urban desirables. Better public transport (maybe a light rail), ability to walk anywhere, different neighborhoods that have their own personalities (retail vs. food vs. ethnicities), a deeper focus on the arts, events/conventions that are focused to young people, family style real estate (brownstones, town homes etc)... the list goes on.
I for one hope the downtown area thrives and becomes a great place to live/work/play. I think the eternal "if you build it, they will come" approach applies here.

Saad said...

Currently im living in Florida, but I lived in Wichita for 6 years. I have been to many big cities, and I have to say that Wichita has a lot of potential to become really exciting because of several reasons. The diversity of the people and the location. That diversity is what adds the flavor and the uniqueness to a city. All the ingredients are in place for Wichita to improve its reputation but it takes a lot of work from the people but also from thte city's leadership, which I think have done a very poor job in helping to accomplish this goal.