The Greater Topeka Partnership, which includes Downtown Topeka, Inc. and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, are in support of renovating of the Docking Building, the state said at a committee hearing Wednesday.
DeAngela Burns-Wallace, Secretary of Administration, said she has been in talks with local business leaders, who are now in full support for the renovation.
Curtis Sneden, president of the Chamber of Commerce, confirmed such.
“We are supportive of a plan that will return the Docking State Office Building to its proper place as an important facet of downtown,” he said.
The Docking State Office Building, a 62-year-old 12-story high-rise adjacent to the Capitol, had long been neglected and plagued with issues. Former Gov. Sam Brownback had pushed to tear down the building, which was ultimately rejected.
Now, the next state legislature will be considering four proposed options in renovating the building. The one path the state administration backs is a complete renovation of the entire building in addition to implementing a Kansas Department of Health and Environment lab.
The other options are without the lab, or stripping everything but the first three floors and adding three floors with or without the lab. Renovation could cost up to around $154,556,000, per estimates.
Burns-Wallace told legislators that the administration’s hope is to have the building house one or two of the bigger state agencies, along with KDHE.
She also brought up the possibility of having some conference space, which could be divided into smaller rooms or simply serve as a large hall.
Whatever proposal lawmakers approve, the Partnership will support, said Sneden.
“While we are not wedded to any particular outcome, some of what we’ve seen is exciting, because it would be new types of activities on that corner,” he said. “Maybe it would be a type of outdoor