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Developer wants to renovate vacant Ramada West Hotel into housing

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 10:59 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A vacant hotel on Topeka’s west side is taking a step toward new life.

The Planning Commission heard the plans Monday night for the former Ramada West Hotel.

The company planning the project specializes in taking old hotels and turning them into housing.

Greg Schwerdt, an architect with the project says it not only provides a housing solution, but improves the area.

“It would do nothing but enhance the value of surrounding property versus the eyesore that will continue to deteriorate,” he said.

City planners voted to change the zoning of the property near 6th and Fairlawn to allow improvements.

Councilman Mike Lesser who represents the district the property is in welcomes the change.

“I’m excited to see some positive investment,” he said. ”It fits into our housing study that was released recently.”

That study shows Topeka needs new housing. Developer Richard Rubin’s plan to renovate the old hotel into new apartments to help address that problem.

The housing will be aimed toward people making a median income in Topeka.

Richard Rubin’s company Repvblik LLC is heading the project. He said, “We like to make our rentals extremely affordable for hard working folks. We’re also very strict in terms of our tenants coming in.”

The apartments will be gated with on-site security, a pickleball court, shared work space for people working from home, even areas for kids taking classes from home.

Rubin hopes to get building by October, and expects the project to take around ten months.

The rezoning request now goes to the Topeka City Council. They need to approve it for the project to move forward any further.

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