PITTSBURG, Kan. — Tours and panel discussions of the award-winning Block22 Project are set for Thursday.

Block22 is a mixed-use development involving Pittsburg State University, the city of Pittsburg and the Vecino Group, a Springfield, Missouri-based real estate developer. The parties invested approximately $18 million to restore and renovate four historic downtown buildings — Commerce, Baxter, National Bank and Opera House Hotel.

The buildings were turned into student housing, offices and homes for small businesses, including restaurants and coffee shops. It also included an area known as The Foundry, a downtown business incubator with a conference room, collaborative workspace and professional offices.

In August 2018, nearly 100 students moved into their new housing units located in the National Bank and Commerce buildings.

Block22 was recognized last fall as one of the top university-based projects in the United States during the University Economic Development Association annual summit in Milwaukee.

Thursday's event will include open house and tours as well as a series of short panel discussions with groups involved in the project.

The panels convene at 2 p.m. at the Colonial Fox Theatre, 407 N. Broadway, and include:

• Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott, Vecino Group President Mat Burton, and Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall discussing the partnership that led to Block22.

• Three PSU students living in the downtown buildings who will discuss why they wanted to live there and who will share their experiences living downtown.

• Professional tenants working in the buildings.

• Restaurant owners.

The event runs from 2 to 5:30 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting at 3 p.m. followed by an open house.

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