Downtown Redevelopment Timeline

2000 The Downtown Tomorrow initiative identified primary areas of downtown Manhattan that needed to be redeveloped for the health of Manhattan's economy.
2001 The city received unsolicited proposals for development. USD 383 and Riley County found two proposed TIF districts to have an adverse economic impact. The city began emphasizing that developers would need to be at risk.
2002 The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and Brent Bowman gathered input through meetings and focus groups with local community leaders, downtown merchants and other community organizations. Hammer, Siler, George Associates conducted a community market analysis.
2003 The Chamber of Commerce guided an effort to recruit and select a developer, which led to a formal agreement between the city and Dial Realty. Dial Realty agreed to purchase the Steel & Pipe tract as per a pre-development agreement with the city and the willingness of Steel & Pipe to sell.

An agreement was signed authorizing the development of a conceptual master plan. The Manhattan City Commission appointed the Downtown Redevelopment Steering Committee to guide the development of the master plan, and community input was solicited for the plan.
2004 The Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board and Manhattan City Commission unanimously accepted the Downtown Conceptual Master Plan. The master plan for the South District was adopted. An attractions committee formed to study opportunities for the area.

The city and Dial Realty contracted Canyon Research to conduct feasibility and market analysis. Canyon Research's results were favorable and were used for STAR bond applications.

The city hired David L. Edgell Sr., Ph.D., to assess the potential for nature-based tourism and the feasibility of the Flint Hills Discovery Center.
2005 The city created a tax increment financing (TIF) district for the North and South Redevelopment areas with the notion to develop two separate, complementary project areas.
2006 The North Redevelopment Plan was approved, and the North End initial phase was completed with Best Buy opening as the inaugural store. The Department of Commerce awarded STAR bonds to finance the improvements.

Manhattan was granted, through legislation, a one-year extension to acquire South District properties, preserving the ability to use eminent domain, if necessary. This legislation ultimately ended use of eminent domain for economic development purposes.
2007 The city finalized plans for the South District and the Flint Hills Discovery Center. Canyon Research completed a market feasibility study, and the results were favorable for development in the South District. North End initial phase leasing continued.
2008 Citizens filed a lawsuit in February regarding the rezoning of the now Hy-Vee property in the North District. The lawsuit was resolved, and North End Phase II leasing continued. Development refocused on the South District with the Discovery Center as the primary focus.
2009 The city finalized the Flint Hills Discovery Center comprehensive master plan with the hiring of the Boston Architectural firm of Verner Johnson Inc., along with exhibit designers Hilferty and Associates of Athens, Ohio. Construction on the South End hotel and conference center began.
2010 Groundbreaking ceremonies took place for the Discovery Center, the Hilton Garden Inn and the Manhattan Conference Center.
2011 The Hilton Garden Inn and Manhattan Conference Center opened in the South End in November.
2012 Blue Earth Plaza was completed in the South End, and the Flint Hills Discovery Center opened in April. The focus shifted to a process for the remaining 4.5 acres in the South District known as Lot 9.
2013 Candlewood Suites opened in the South End, and the "Peace Offering on the Blue" Kaw Indian sculpture was dedicated at the 4th Street and Bluemont Avenue roundabout.
2014 Holiday Inn Express and a four-story residential building began construction.