- Associated Press - Saturday, May 9, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City leaders and development officials plan to build a $300 million, 800-room downtown hotel to address a lodging shortfall that has caused numerous conventions to look elsewhere.

Plans, which will be formally unveiled Monday, call for a Hyatt to open in 2018 near Kansas City Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1KTsOR2 ) reported.

The city is helping to finance the hotel under a deal that caps its obligation at roughly $2 million a year for 25 years, which Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte called a “cash model.” The plan won’t require the city to kick in more money if the hotel doesn’t meet financial projections. The hotel also would get other city and county tax incentives.

Three-quarters of the site is now owned by the city and used for surface parking. Developers are negotiating with the American Hereford Association, which occupies the only office building on the property, to raze it to make way for the hotel.

“We’ve literally bled conventions because of a lack of close-in, top-quality hotels,” said Michael Burke, a former city councilman and lawyer who is leading the hotel development team. “We finally came up with funding solutions that met the city’s and the developers’ needs.”

Ronnie Burt, president and chief executive of Visit KC, the area’s convention and visitors marketing agency, estimated that Kansas City has missed out on $3 billion worth of economic impact over the last 10 years because of insufficient lodging.

“This opens up whole new markets to us,” Burt said. “It’s a game changer for our hospitality industry.”

Burke said the proposal represents a three-year effort. The project team has spent about $1 million in private funds on research and planning.

A website devoted to the project, HereToStayKC.com, is set to go live Monday.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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