$8M New Construction in Downtown Topeka Taps Spectra for Venue Management, Partnerships

Monday, Nov 11th 2019

Evergy plaza logo detail

Local Leader John Knight to Lead Evergy Plaza’s Launch as Newly Appointed Director

TOPEKA, Kan. (November 11, 2019)— Downtown Topeka Foundation has selected Spectra—industry leader in venue management, hospitality, and partnerships—as the venue management and partnerships provider for Evergy Plaza, a new construction slated to open in the heart of Topeka at the beginning of 2020.

Built as a gathering place for the entire Topeka community, Evergy Plaza will host more than hundreds of scheduled events and activities free and accessible to all, including concerts, farmers markets, yoga classes, and more. The brand-new plaza will feature the 50-foot Capital Federal performance stage, Topeka Lodging Association’s splash park by day and water show at night, which will turn into an ice rink in the winter months, and the 30-foot BC/BS and Stormont Vail video screen, perfect for watching sporting events or movies outdoors.

“We’re excited for Spectra to fill the plaza with vibrant offerings and create a “Connecting Place” for the entire community in the heart of our city,” Pat Michaelis, Chairman, Downtown Topeka Foundation, said. “In our search, we hoped to find a partner that would be deeply committed to the people of Topeka, but also have the business savvy to lead a project of this magnitude—Spectra fits the bill perfectly on both counts. John Knight is a proven local leader. We couldn’t be more pleased to have John lead the Evergy Plaza team.”

Having served as Topeka and Shawnee County’s Parks and Recreation director for three decades, John Knight joins the project as Evergy Plaza’s new director. During his tenure at Parks and Recreation, John developed Lake Shawnee as a regional attraction, successfully merged the City of Topeka and Shawnee County Parks and Recreation departments into a single county-wide agency, and achieved departmental recognition on a state and national level by obtaining certification as a Nationally Accredited Agency in 2018.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue my service to the great Topeka community as the director of this new and exciting facility,” John Knight, Evergy Plaza Director said. “My mission to make Topeka and Shawnee County a great place to live, work and play continues on at this new venture.”

Keller Taylor, District General Manager for Spectra, added: “John is the perfect fit to lead this project in downtown Topeka. Having spent his entire professional life at the heartbeat of this community, we couldn’t think of a better person to guide the direction of Evergy Plaza.”

Spectra currently manages 185 facilities, including 59 convention centers: Stormont Vail Events Center, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, Santa Clara Convention Center, Miami Beach Convention Center, Atlantic City Convention Center, Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, and Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.