County Bids On Century

The City of Wichita, Kan., is seeking proposals to run its Century II Convention Center, a venue that has lost at least $450,000 annually for the past five years. One of the bids reportedly will come from a higher power – Sedgwick County.

The county owns and operates the Kansas Coliseum and is planning to build a 15,000-seat downtown arena. Officials believe they can make the convention center profitable just like they have done with the Coliseum, according to The Wichita Eagle.

Sedgwick County claims putting the 35-year-old convention center under its umbrella would give promoters a one-stop shopping opportunity because of the lack of competition between the three venues (the center houses several performance and convention spaces including a 2,200-capacity concert hall and 600-capacity theatre). All of the venues would operate under Select-A-Seat for ticketing, too.

The city’s Request for Proposals has three options for bidders, the paper said: total privatization, general management and marketing, or general management only. Privatization seems to have little support with various groups, according to the Eagle.

The county is holding off on deciding whether it will close the 10,000-seat Britt Brown Arena inside the Coliseum complex when the new arena is built, the paper said.