Developers need money for downtown convention center hotel

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 19:23:02-04

Kansas City's plan for a downtown convention center hotel has met much scrutiny. But now the project is being stalled due to private financing challenges.

City leaders hope a new $300 million Hyatt Convention Center hotel downtown will attract more conventions to the area. Tax increment financing will help fund the 800-room hotel.  It's a use of tax dollars that is opposed by some who tried to get the proposal on the ballot so voters could decide.  

In February, a judge ruled against petitioners who wanted to force a public vote on the project, giving developers clearance to move forward.

Despite the victory, there has been no movement on the future building site.

City Manager Troy Schulte said development plans are still in the works. The developer is working to raise more money.

"At this point all the agreements with the city have been signed. They are working on their private financing," Schulte said.

The city is investing roughly $100 million in public dollars in the project, including $35 million in cash. The developer has to come up with $200 million in private funds. They're aiming for an October closing.

"The private folks are convinced they can pull the financing together; if they don’t, no deal. The city is not going to step in behind this deal no more than we have," Schulte said.

The greater Kansas City metro area already has 32,000 hotel rooms; nearly 2,000 of those are within three blocks of the convention center.  And later this month, a Courtyard Marriott and Residence Inn will open a block from the convention center.

Even with that project near completion, city leaders say downtown still needs a convention hotel to attract more conventions.  

Developers hope to move forward on the convention hotel project in October.