Developers seek city help to renovate ‘eyesore’ in southeast Wichita

A pair of developers are asking the Wichita City Council for nearly $6 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to renovate a southeast Wichita apartment complex.

Brent Hurst and Dave Murfin have formed Sandstone Apartments to purchase Eastwood Apartments, a six-building complex located just south of Kellogg on the east side of Oliver. The request for the industrial revenue bonds goes before the council on Tuesday.

The complex, built in the 1950s, "has come into disrepair and faces extensive deferred maintenance issues," according to a city document.

A plan for the project shared with city officials called the Eastwood Apartments an "increasing eye sore in a very visible and now improving area."

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Industrial revenue bonds are used to finance the acquisition and construction of a broad variety of properties. State law requires the bonds to be issued by a government entity, which technically owns the property until the bonds are paid off.

The request covers an estimated sales tax exemption of nearly $91,000. It does not include a property tax abatement.

Sandstone plans to spend about $2 million to buy the Eastwood property and $3.75 million to renovate it. The 118 units are one- or two-bedroom apartments. The property also has a 7,500-square-foot commercial building.

The developers plan to install new exterior doors and decking, new storm windows, new countertops, new vanities, new bathroom mirrors and fixtures, new cabinets and hardware. They also plan to upgrade plumbing and electrical, install new breaker boxes and add new landscaping, exterior lighting, fencing and signage.

Repainting, brick repair and new central heating and air-conditioning units are part of the renovation as well.

The developers could not be reached for comment. But a letter sent to the city by Hurst said the renovation "will bring a high quality living environment to an older area of town, add jobs, improve the area and our community in general."

Hurst called the renovation "an investment into the heart of the city at a time when investment and jobs are needed."

The renovation is expected to provide 20 to 30 jobs over the next two years, with a handful of permanent jobs.

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