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Multiple new hotels coming to I-29 corridor
Hotel additions keep rolling even as new airport project hits a snag


by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

While negotiations of a new KCI Airport have been halted, at least temporarily, in a political swamp, hotel developers are actively planning and constructing multiple hotels within Platte County.

Along the I-29 corridor, upwards of 500 new hotel rooms will be added over the next several years.

Currently, there are 37 hotels with 4,298 rooms in Platte County, according to a Smith Travel Research Destination Report.

The average daily room (ADR) rate rose from $77.51 in 2012 to $98.29 a night in October 2017.

From 2012 to 2017, the revenue per available room (RevPAR)—revenue minus expenses—increased from $41.08 to $71.56.

From 2016 to 2017, ADR increased 3.6 percent and RevPAR is up .1 percent, said Jennifer Goering, executive director of Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Although hotel occupancy varies greatly month-to-month, it has also increased since 2012. Occupancy rose from 53 percent in 2012 to 72.8 percent in October 2017 and 59 percent in November 2017.

To hoteliers and developers, the current conditions are conducive to renovations and new development.

The Marriott hotel at Kansas City International Airport is currently undergoing a $16 million renovation. Not only are the 384-guest rooms getting an upgrade, but the lobby, ballroom, kitchen and restaurant will also be completely renovated. Their new steakhouse restaurant, KC tap + table, combines locally sourced flavors with house-made ingredients.

Additionally, hotel developers are preparing to construct mid-sized hotels ranging between 74 to 104 rooms.

The earliest set to open is a new Home2 Suites, located at 9500 NW Polo Drive in Kansas City. The all-suite limited hotel is part of the ever-expanding Hilton portfolio of brands. The 74-suite hotel is currently accepting reservations and is set to open May 5, 2018. The suites come equipped with a full kitchen, furniture, and queen or king-sized beds.

The extended stay hotel will also encompass a 1,315-square foot meeting space ideal for small business functions or intimate celebrations. The hotel will also offer a heated indoor saline pool, outdoor lounge area, 24-hour business center and on-site laundry and fitness facility. Unique to the brand, guests will also be offered hot beverages around the clock in the Coffee2 Tea area.

The next airport hotels set to open will be on the site of the existing Ambassador Building on N. Ambassador Drive, just south of the I-29 and 112th Street interchange. The $22 million redevelopment project calls for a 104-room, full service Hilton Garden Inn and possibly a 98-room Tru by Hilton. The first of the two-hotel cluster will be coming in early 2019. Both sites are near shovel-ready and will market themselves to attract transient guests.

“The redevelopment of that site is remarkable,” said Alicia Stephens, executive director of Platte County Economic Development Council.

All totaled, that will bring upwards of 276 new hotel rooms to the Kansas City International Airport corridor.

In southern Platte County, multiple hotel projects are also being planned very close to outdoor shopping areas, including Zona Rosa and Burlington Creek.

Springhill Suites has plans to construct a new hotel across the street from Renner Elementary School, near Barry Road and N. Stoddard Avenue. Springhill Suites by Marriott is a select service hotel with spacious suites and mobile check-in. Guests will also have an in-suite workspace, free wi-fi, 24-hour market, and complimentary breakfast with free croissants, strawberries, and Greek yogurt.

Perhaps an even larger hotel is slated for development near Burlington Creek, just off 64th Street. City officials say the push is for a five-story hotel. But right now, the project appears to remain in an infantile stage and there is no set timetable for construction.

Kansas City International Airport

There is no telling how Thursday’s vote, which shockingly rejected a plan from Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate—the Kansas City City Council’s pick to design, develop and privately finance a new single airport terminal—will impact hoteliers and developers.

The city council’s abrupt rejection to an ordinance that would have authorized the city manager to enter a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Edgemoor could have severe implications, especially on new development.

In a memo released Friday, Mayor Sly James voiced his discontent over the political quagmire in Kansas City.

“Seventy five percent of Kansas City voters told us last month that they want to keep our momentum going by building a better KCI,” wrote Mayor Sly James.

“It’s unfortunate that progress on the project will be slowed by (Thursday’s) vote."

James said if the MOU had been held in the Airport Committee rather than the Committee of the Whole and allowed more time to iron out the details, then the city would have avoided this “precarious position.”

“For six-and-a-half years, I’ve worked to move this city forward by using facts and data, relying on thoughtful deliberation when confronted with complex problems and, of course, prioritizing the best interests of this city above personal political agendas. The behavior I have seen over the past week with regard to the MOU is not reflective of the collaborative spirit and results-oriented style I’ve focused on since taking office. We are better than this, and our residents deserve much more,” he wrote.

James said the city will “face severe consequences” if city officials don’t act now with professionalism.

“Yesterday’s action halted a negotiation midstream and tossed it out the window with little warning. That says to Kansas Citians that their will is less important than political agendas. And it sends a message to those who want to do business with Kansas City that we cannot be relied upon as a transparent partner,” he added.