As the largest city in the state of Kansas, Wichita is an industrial hub for culture, media, and trade.
It was the home for several notable people, such as Wyatt Earp, Clyde Cessna, Barry Sanders, Don Johnson, and Joe Walsh just to name a few.
But it’s the construction on the corner Central and Volutsia that will draw the eyes of both residents and tourists.
On this corner is Revolutsia, the first mall built entirely out of shipping containers within the city.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at Revolutsia, Wichita’s first container mall.
How Revolutsia Came About
Local developer Michael Ramsey had an idea for young entrepreneurs an affordable way to start a business, but also design something that would get people talking.
Ramsey first heard about shopping malls being made from shipping containers from his nephew. He had thought about the idea for years before seeing the corner of Central and Volutsia.
Shipping container malls had been popping up since during the economic downturn of 2008.
Builders began to use and repurpose containers for apartments, shopping centers, and businesses.
Ramsey is part of the team behind Bokeh Development, who are known for eye-catching projects that help to transform old downtown buildings into hip destination hotspots.
Ramsey didn’t want the run of the mill strip mall, stating “Nobody would come to it. No one would walk to it. We’ve got plenty of those things.”
And the idea for Revolutsia began.
Getting City Permission and Involvement
The neighborhood surrounding the site of Revolutsia was already undergoing a transition when Ramsey proposed the idea of a shipping container mall.
The city of Wichita had to be onboard with the project, but also the District Advisory Board and the city council. The hook for the project wasn’t just the design, but the walkability factor.
Ramsey and his team told the city how the new shopping mall would bring in people by foot, bus, and by bike. This was helped by the recent high-tech crosswalk to deliver pedestrians right to the entrance.
Parking was going to be the big issue, as the city only cleared Revolutsia for only 10 spaces. However Ramsey, despite purchasing a nearby lot for parking, hopes to avoid using it.
“We’re trying to thoughtfully engage, trying to thoughtfully bring about more pedestrian walking into that area,” Ramsey states.
Construction of Revolutsia began with 36 stacked containers, with the majority at the standard width of 40-feet. They would eventually hold 12 to 15 businesses and featured a courtyard in the center.
One of the shipping containers would also house an elevator and the entire center will be ADA compliant.
Where Revolutsia Stands Now
As of 2019, Revolutsia has been adding more shops to their lineup, creating a second phase for the unique creation.
This included adding more containers, bringing the total used to 45 and transforming an old 1900 gas station into another restaurant.
And the area has proven to be very walkable.
The city refocused and pushed a plan for new crosswalks for their nearby bike trails and placed the city’s Bike Share ICT near the development.
Part of the development was to also reduce concrete by using more street parking.
For many residents – in and out of Wichita – Revolutsia is helping to bring about more exposure to the city.
The center itself is creating a new approach and opportunity for both businesses and the neighborhood it’s situated in.
In this article, we looked at Revolutsia, Wichita’s first container mall, how it came to be and the inspiration for it.
We then looked at where the mall stands now. Residents and tenants are enjoying the new structure, while tourists have a new location for their destination list.
If you’d like to visit Revolutsia or see what it’s all about, check out their website.