Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe to open in center at Central and Rock in March

WICHITA — Thao Luu couldn’t find the job she was hoping for when she graduated with a hospitality management degree from Butler Community College and was beginning to despair when she passed a sign at Fidelity Bank.

“Wichitans don’t hope for a better future. We build it.”

The sign inspired Luu to start her own business and hire her former professor, Roger Bosserman, to help.

Luu is opening Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe in the former Verde Sustainable Living space in the center at the northeast corner of Central and Rock.

Though Luu is Vietnamese — she moved here three years ago to marry chemical engineer Jimmy Nguyen — she will offer mostly American dishes for breakfast and lunch. That includes paninis, sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers and salad. There will be a French flair with some dishes, such as crepes and savory pastries.

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WaterWalk hotel developers request city assistance

WICHITA — As Have You Heard? reported a month ago, hotelier Jim Korroch is trying to bring a limited-service Marriott flag hotel to WaterWalk.

Korroch isn’t talking, but he and WaterWalk developers have been working with the city and are formally requesting help from the Wichita City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.

In addition to asking for up to $12 million in industrial revenue bonds, they’re also asking for a new kind of financial assistance.

“They’re asking the city to create a community improvement district,” says Allen Bell, the city’s urban development director.

Last year, the Kansas Legislature passed a law to allow the creation of the districts, which are redevelopment tools that provide increased sales tax for businesses.

The districts allow up to 2 percent additional tax that the state would send back to the city.

“We would then use that money to either pay it back to the developer to reimburse the developer for costs they put into the project or use it to pay off city bonds,” Bell says.

Korroch and WaterWalk are requesting the full 2 percent and would use it for project costs — not for city bonds.

“That’s called the pay-as-you-go financing,” Bell says.

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WaterWalk may be home to a Marriott hotel

WICHITA — It looks like a hotel could be coming to WaterWalk, but no one is talking about it yet — at least not publicly.

Hotel developer Jim Korroch may be bringing a Marriott flag hotel to the property.

Korroch also owns the Courtyard by Marriott in Old Town and the SpringHill Suites by Marriott next to his Residence Inn by Marriott in the Plazzio development at 13th and Greenwich.

As early as 2004, WaterWalk developers discussed having a hotel at the downtown development as long as it didn’t hurt the city’s business at the Hyatt Regency Wichita next door.

Now, former minority partner Jack DeBoer is in control of the struggling development, and it looks like he’s trying to secure a deal.

But, as is his new policy, DeBoer won’t confirm or deny anything to do with WaterWalk until it’s a done deal.

Several previous deals have been announced for the project only to not materialize.

The city may be involved in the potential WaterWalk hotel.

“I will confirm that we’re looking . . . at a possible hotel project,” says City Manager Bob Layton.

He won’t say what the potential deal is or that it’s even with Korroch or WaterWalk.

“Our discussions are very preliminary.”

Fairfield Inn and Suites coming to Maize

fairfieldWICHITA — Though there’s been no outward signs of progress, a Marriott-flag hotel is still coming to 37th and Maize.

“It’s definitely coming,” says owner Lindsay Olsen of Prairie Village. “Marriott has approved us for an 84-room Fairfield Inn and Suites.”

In November, Have You Heard? first reported a Marriott-flag hotel would be coming to the Wyn-Wood commercial development where Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, City Hall and the Maize Dialysis Center already are located and where Barn’rds has plans to locate.

But there have been no signs of it since.

“We are working on it,” Olsen says. “It’s just not stuff you see by looking at the lot.”

Olsen won’t share a timetable for development, but he says, “It’s a good brand for the Maize market.”