Wichita Downtown Development Corporation

GDP by metropolitan area and component

GDP by metropolitan area and component

An interactive visualization of gross domestic product by metropolitan area and industry. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, an agency of the United States Department of Commerce, gathers data about economic output, known as gross domestic product. The visualization I have created presents this data in tabular and graphic form. (more…)
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Downtown Wichita population is up

Downtown Wichita population is up

New Census Bureau data shows the downtown Wichita population growing in 2019. Data released today by the United States Census Bureau shows the estimated population for zip code 67202 in 2019 was 1,751, an increase of 80 from the prior year. Zip code 67202 is greater downtown Wichita, from the Arkansas River east to Washington, and Kellogg north to Central, roughly. The source of this data is U.S. Census Bureau, 2015-2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. This is not the Bureau's estimate of the population in 2019. This is because for areas of population less than 65,000, the Bureau does…
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Naftzger Park on the web: Do we care?

Naftzger Park on the web: Do we care?

A badly outdated portion of Wichita's website makes me wonder: Does anyone care? In the Naftzger Park Facebook group that I co-administer, someone recently posted this: Hi! I'm [not] new to Wichita and a friend told me about a quaint and lovely Victorian style park set in the downtown area. I love little parks like these as they're such an endearing surprise in the midst of old industrial buildings and warehouses. After seeing the pictures on your website, I can tell my friend understated the beauty of the park. I can't wait to visit! One problem though, I can't find…
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Business improvement district on tap in Wichita

Business improvement district on tap in Wichita

The Douglas Design District seeks to transform from a voluntary business organization to a tax-funded branch of government. Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider forming a business improvement district (BID) in east-central Wichita. Previously, city documents offered some explanation regarding the district: [1. City of Wichita. Agenda for August 21, 2018, Item IV-1. Available at http://www.wichita.gov/Council/Agendas/08-21-2018%20City%20Council%20Agenda%20Packet.pdf.] First, there already exists a voluntary organization: "The Douglas Design District (DDD) is a voluntary organization of over 300 local businesses located near Douglas Avenue between Washington Avenue and Oliver Avenue. In 2017, the DDD established a five-year strategic plan to become a…
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Downtown Wichita population is up

Downtown Wichita population is up

New Census Bureau data shows the population growing in downtown Wichita. Data released today by the United States Census Bureau shows the estimated population for zip code 67202 in 2018 was 1,671, an increase of 73 from the prior year. Zip code 67202 is greater downtown Wichita, from the Arkansas River east to Washington, and Kellogg north to Central, roughly. The source of this data is U.S. Census Bureau, 2014-2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. This means the data is not the Bureau's estimate of the population in 2018. For areas of population less than 65,000, the Bureau does not…
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What the Block 1 amendment says about downtown Wichita

What the Block 1 amendment says about downtown Wichita

The amending of a retail lease tells us a lot about the economics of downtown Wichita. This week the Wichita City Council amended a lease for some retail space at 360 East William in downtown Wichita. This is the retail space on the ground floor of the Block 1 parking garage at the northwest corner of Topeka and William. Block One retail space sits half empty. Click for larger.The first lease, passed by the council in 2011, refers to "ground level of the Parking Structure retail space containing approximately 8,400 square feet of surface floor area." [1. Wichita City Council…
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Downtown Wichita population

Downtown Wichita population

Wichita economic development officials use a convoluted method of estimating the population of downtown Wichita, producing a number much higher than Census Bureau estimates. How many people live in downtown Wichita? The answer, according to Downtown Wichita, is 2,749. This value comes from the 2019 State of Downtown Report, published by Downtown Wichita. [2. Downtown Wichita. 2019 State of Downtown Report. Available at https://downtownwichita.org/development/state-of-downtown.] It is for zip code 67202, which is commonly recognized as greater downtown Wichita. While this report highlights the number of people living in downtown Wichita, it no longer reports the number of people working in…
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More Wichita planning on tap

More Wichita planning on tap

We should be wary of government planning in general. But when those who have been managing and planning the foundering Wichita-area economy want to step up their management of resources, we risk compounding our problems. As announced by the City of Wichita, "In response to recent recommendations from Project Wichita and the Century II Citizens Advisory Committee, community organizations and their leadership are stepping forward to take the next step to create a comprehensive master plan and vision that connects projects and both banks of the Arkansas River." The city says these organizations will be involved: Downtown Wichita Greater Wichita…
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Wichita considers a new stadium

Wichita considers a new stadium

The City of Wichita plans subsidized development of a sports facility as an economic driver. Originally published in July 2017. This week the Wichita City Council will consider a project plan for a redevelopment district near Downtown Wichita. It is largely financed by Tax Increment Financing and STAR bonds. Both divert future incremental tax revenue to pay for various things within the district.[1. Weeks, Bob. STAR bonds in Kansas. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/star-bonds-kansas/.] [1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita TIF projects: some background. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/wichita-tif-projects-background/.] City documents promise this: "The City plans to substantially rehabilitate or replace Lawrence-Dumont Stadium into a multi-sport…
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In Wichita, respecting the people’s right to know

In Wichita, respecting the people’s right to know

The City of Wichita says it values open and transparent government. But the city's record in providing information and records to citizens is poor, and there hasn't been much improvement. The City of Wichita is proud to be an open and transparent governmental agency, its officials say. Former Mayor Carl Brewer often spoke in favor of government transparency. [1. For example, in his State of the City address for 2011, Brewer listed as an important goal for the city this: "And we must provide transparency in all that we do." See https://drive.google.com/open?id=1xgx96BEXALDEgLBRcQdz2Kg0_W5x3e2J.] When the city received an award for transparency…
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Business improvement district proposed in Wichita

Business improvement district proposed in Wichita

The Douglas Design District proposes to transform from a voluntary business organization to a tax-funded branch of government (but doesn't say so). Update: On August 21, the council approved the formation of the planning committee. This week the Wichita City Council will consider taking the first step in forming a business improvement district (BID) in east-central Wichita. Some explanation from the agenda packet for the meeting: [1. City of Wichita. Agenda for August 21, 2018, Item IV-1. Available at http://www.wichita.gov/Council/Agendas/08-21-2018%20City%20Council%20Agenda%20Packet.pdf.] First, there already exists a voluntary organization: "The Douglas Design District (DDD) is a voluntary organization of over 300 local…
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Downtown Wichita business trends

Downtown Wichita business trends

There has been much public and private investment in Downtown Wichita. What has been the trend in business activity during this time? According to the 2017 report from Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (now known as Downtown Wichita), over the past decade there has been $593,868,858 in private investment, $160,522,002 in public investment, and $171,087,276 investment in Intrust Bank Arena. That's $925 million of investment in downtown over this period, with more before. [1. Downtown Wichita. State of Downtown Report, 2017. https://downtownwichita.org/user/file/2017-state-of-downtown-report-download.pdf.] What has been the result of this investment? If you expected business growth in downtown Wichita, you may be…
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Wichita in ‘Best Cities for Jobs 2018’

Wichita in ‘Best Cities for Jobs 2018’

Wichita continues to decline in economic vitality, compared to other areas. NewGeography.com is a joint venture of Joel Kotkin and Praxis Strategy Group. Its annual "Best Cities for Jobs" project ranks metropolitan areas according to growth in employment. Of 422 metropolitan areas considered, Wichita ranked 383, dropping 28 spots since the previous year. Among 100 medium size metropolitan areas, Wichita ranked 93, dropping 5 spots from the previous year. NewGeography.com uses employment data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics from November 2006 to January 2018. [2. "The methodology for our 2018 ranking largely corresponds to that used in…
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Project Wichita right to look ahead at city’s future

Project Wichita right to look ahead at city’s future

We can understand self-serving politicians and bureaucrats. It's what they do. But a city's newspaper editorial board ought to be concerned with the truth. In February the Wichita Eagle editorialized about Project Wichita, a ramping-up effort to do something about the future of Wichita. [1. Wichita Eagle Editorial Board. Project Wichita right to look ahead at city’s future. Available at http://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article198178899.html.] It's worthwhile to take a look at the op-ed, if only to learn something about the quality of Wichita Eagle editorial writing. I understand civic boosterism; the desire to paint a positive image of the future. But this rosy…
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Naftzger Park private use plans unsettled

Naftzger Park private use plans unsettled

An important detail regarding Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita is unsettled, and Wichitans have reason to be wary. In the developer agreement regarding Naftzger Park passed on December 19, 2017, there was this: “The City and the Board will cooperate with Developers, upon Developers’ request, to create an Annual Master Calendar of private and public events for the Park, with the expectation that the Developers will have the use of the Park for certain private events.” [1. DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT between the CITY OF WICHITA, KANSAS, BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF WICHITA, KANSAS, SENECA PROPERTY, LLC, and SUNFLOWER…
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Living in downtown Wichita

Living in downtown Wichita

Wichita economic development officials use a circuitous method of estimating the population of downtown Wichita, producing a number much higher than Census Bureau estimates. Recently the Wichita Business Journal reported: Getting more people to live in the core was clearly one of the most important tasks for the city. Back in 2010, the report said downtown Wichita was ripe for an additional 1,000 housing units. That goal seems to have been met. According to a recent report from the group Downtown Wichita, 835 residential units have been completed since 2010. An additional 742 units are in development downtown, where about…
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Downtown Wichita report omits formerly prominent data

Downtown Wichita report omits formerly prominent data

The new State of Downtown Wichita report for 2017 is missing something. What is it, and why is it missing? Recently the Wichita Business Journal reported: When you're Jeff Fluhr, you don't spend much time in park -- it's usually full speed ahead. It was no different when a couple of members of the Wichita Business Journal's newsroom visited with the president of Downtown Wichita and the Greater Wichita Partnership in early October. On this day, Fluhr was excited to pass out copies of the 42-page 2017 "State of Downtown" report, which had just been released. [1. Horwath, Brian. Downtown…
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