City Of Wichita To Begin Financial Analysis For Century II Options

May 9, 2017

The City of Wichita is exploring the possibility of creating a public-private partnership to pay for the next phase of its Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center.

At 48 years old, the downtown circular building with the light blue roof is showing its age, and the convention business has changed. Also, the city-owned public library next door will be vacant in a few years.

The Bob Brown Expo Hall under construction in 1985.
Credit Century2.org

City Manager Robert Layton said Tuesday that the city is considering a number of options for remodeling Century II or building new facilities based on results from a 2014 market study.

Layton said studying funding options for Century II’s renovations or reconstruction will help decide what’s next.

"The first step would be to look at various procurement models and to see if conditions are right for us to be able to possibly enter into a public-private partnership as well as to look into more traditional methods," he said.

City Council approved spending about $294,000 to hire a California-based consulting firm, Arup Advisory Inc., to look into funding alternatives and design options.

"The idea here is to try to find alternatives that maybe would bring private dollars in to substitute for some public dollars in the project," Layton said.

The city is using guest taxes to pay for the Century II funding study. The analysis is expected to be completed in about three months.

Century II opened in 1969 with a concert hall, convention hall, exhibition hall and a theater. The facility expanded in 1986.

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

 

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