This story was originally published by the Wichita Business Journal on December 12, 2013

Wellington hopes new apartment complex becomes catalyst

by John Stearns

Jason Van Sickle

An apartment project Wichita developer Jason Van Sickle wants to build in east Wellington could be a catalyst to more growth on the city’s east side, Wellington City Manager Gus Collins says.

“The objective is that this certainly could do that,” Collins told me. “Rooftops bring out opportunities.”

That fits with Van Sickle’s vision for his projects, too, as he told me Tuesday after cohosting a rural housing conference in Wichita.

Van Sickle envisions up to 192 units on an 11.5-acre parcel Wellington has annexed into the city. The property is just east of Walmart on U.S. 160 and has received preliminary approval for rezoning from industrial to multifamily, Collins says.

The project is expected to come back for final city approval sometime after Jan. 1, he says.

Van Sickle says the project will be part of his company’s new design for rural projects, but also hopefully a driver of more business.

“We’re going to try to do two phases, which will be a total of 192 units, and 192 units supplies 300-plus residents and so that will give a really strong demographic for that area to spur maybe additional big-box, a Home Depot or retail development, maybe more restaurants, and that’s key,” Van Sickle told me. “When we go to these communities, we don’t just say, ‘Here’s our prototype, there’s where we want to put it.’ We say, ‘Here’s our prototype, we can change it and adjust it if you need us to ... but most importantly, where do you want it? Where’s it make sense?’”

Wellington has identified its east corridor as its growth area, Collins says.

“This was a perfect fit, we thought, and also opens up some area to the south of this” for potential single-family housing development, he says.