Wichita State plans to bond, buy back The Flats and Suites


Selena Favela

The Flats is a private apartment complex located on Innovation Campus.

Wichita State President Jay Golden announced on Wednesday that he plans to go before the board of regents in February to bond and buy back The Flats and The Suites on-campus apartments. 

The two private facilities are currently owned by MWCB, LLC. The move is expected to save the university half a million dollars a year over the course of a 25-year-long bond, Golden said.

Vice President for Strategic Communications Lou Heldman said the university didn’t originally elect to buy the facilities for fear of inability to pay back the bonds.

“At that point, there was no market,” Heldman said. “We didn’t know if people would want to live on campus, if they’d want to live on that part of campus, if they would like this mix of amenities. So the developer took the risk. And you know, now, obviously, it’s been so successful that the two buildings have filled up.”

Heldman said the closure of university-owned Fairmount Towers and relocation of 300 students to the new Flats facility is not the only reason private housing has filled up at WSU.

The university has expanded initiatives in recent years to recruit out-of-state students living along the I-35 Corridor. WSU also mandates that first-year students live on campus if they are not from the Wichita area.

Buying back the apartments will give the university control over housing prices.

“Right now, under the current lease, the greatest the prices can increase to the university are 2% a year,” Heldman said. 

“It gives long-term say so over occupancy pricing, renovations, additions and just general flexibility.”

Multiple private apartment complexes are being built just off WSU’s main campus on 17th and 21st Streets. Heldman said he’s not particularly worried that increased competition will decrease demand for on-campus living.

“Everything we know now is this is a good investment for the university and that’s why . . . we’re at least asking permission to go ahead with it.”

There are currently no plans for future developments of student housing, Golden said. At a Student Government meeting in October, Associate Dean of Students Scott Jensen said the university would wait on that decision until they could see how the new student housing developments near campus impact housing demand.

Former Kansas Board of Regent David Murfin has a 25% share in MWCB.