By Kevin Collison
After a more than two-year effort, work on a new 92-room LaQuinta Del Sol hotel got its formal start Tuesday, the latest addition to the growing Beacon Hill neighborhood in the southeast corner of greater downtown.
“We’re thrilled we finally got here,” developer John Hoffman said during a groundbreaking ceremony. “It took 2 1/2 years to get all this figured out for 24th and Troost, an accomplishment of sticking it out and making it happen.”
The new hotel’s primary market will be serving visitors to the nearby Hospital Hill healthcare campus. The four-story building will include 2,000 square feet of retail space and should be ready for occupancy by June 2019.
It joins a growing amount of development along Troost from the Hospital Hill area to Linwood.
UMKC recently opened a housing development for 243 students a block south of the hotel project, Milhaus is building a 182-unit apartment development at 27th and Troost, and the historic Wonderbread bakery building at 30th and Troost has been renovated as a mixed-use development including apartments.
In his remarks recounting how Troost had become a racial divide during the 20th Century in Kansas City, Hoffman said the developers, which included his firm, UC-B Properties, and Sunflower Development, had encountered many skeptics along the way.
“A lot of people said you can’t be serious about developing on Troost,” he said, adding “This hotel is so significant. It’s the first commercial space to be built on Troost in over 50 years.”
The project was developed with significant public incentives. It was the only applicant to respond to the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority’s (LCRA) request for proposals at the site several years ago.
The project has layered financing, according to a press release from the developers. Enterprise Bank & Trust was the lead lender, the City of Kansas City, LCRA and Alt-Cap which provided $9.5 million in federal New Market Tax Credits to help close the financing gap.
The developers also sought feedback from the residents of Beacon Hill.
“The hotel is not a typical canned design,” according to the release. “It was designed by Generator Studio to fit into the Beacon Hill neighborhood’s modern upscale feel.”
The developers also discussed their plan with the nearby hospitals and Ronald McDonald House.
“Early on in the process we talked to the Ronald McDonald house which had just finished an expansion and learned they had a waiting list every night,” according to the press release.
“There is no limited service hotel within walking distance of two major hospitals and we wanted to build something that could help to support the needs of both Children’s Mercy and Truman Medical Center and support the revitalization on Troost.
“We feel that this project is a bookend on Troost and we are very excited to see all of the development that has started to occur toward the south.”
When completed, the hotel will provide 25- to 35 full and part-time jobs.
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Why do we continue to design, permit, and build developer-driven architecture all around our city? This is horrendously placeless. We talk about having a strong design community in Kansas City yet continue to settle for chintzy garbage in some of our best neighborhoods.
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