By Kevin Collison
A $95 million Kimpton Hotel that would serve as the gateway to a proposed cultural district of Kansas City’s premier art institutions is expected to begin construction early next year after winning city approval for a tax incentive package.
The incentives for the redevelopment project, which would extensively renovate the existing Holiday Inn at 45th and Main and build a five-story addition, were approved by the Kansas City Council earlier this month.
The luxury hotel would feature 275 rooms and amenities that include a 20,000 square-foot pool deck with an indoor/outdoor bar.
“Kimpton believes there’s lots of room for that high-end product in the Plaza area,” said Jim Purinton, managing director of the Chicago-based Janko Group.
Janko is developing the project for Kimpton, a San Francisco-based boutique hotel chain that’s considered one of the best in the world.
In addition to its proximity to the Plaza, the planned Kimpton would be next door to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kansas City Art Institute and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
It also would be located at the proposed 45th and Main streetcar stop.
In a recent guest column for CityScene KC, Tony Jones, The Nerman Family President of the KC Art Institute, said the planned Kimpton would be a “stunning” asset for visitors coming to what he envisions as a cultural district similar to Chicago’s Millennium Park.
“The new Cultural District will be our very own Millennium Park, a gorgeous centerpiece to the Kansas City landscape,” Jones wrote.
Purinton said Jones, along with representatives from the Nelson-Atkins and Kemper, have been working with the developer to include public artwork with the development.
Plans call for two large sculptures, one at the streetcar stop at 45th and Main, the other closer to the Kemper Museum, to reinforce the cultural district concept.
“Tony said 45th Street is important for us,” he said. “He convinced up to install two sculptures on 45th Street to visually create a gateway.”
Streetscape improvements also are planned for the nearby stretch of Main Street.
Those public improvements, in addition to the extensive cost of gutting and rebuilding the existing Holiday Inn property, prompted the developer to seek incentives from the city.
The project is located in a Missouri Enhanced Enterprise Zone and qualifies for a 50 percent, 10-year property tax abatement.
The City Council approved creating community improvement districts that will allow the developer to collect an additional two-cent sales tax, according to David Fenley, the attorney representing Janko.
The Council also approved a sales tax exemption on construction materials, and will allow the developer to keep 50 percent of the city’s share of the hotel tax and 50 percent of the sales taxes generated for 20 years.
As part of the deal, the developer will contribute $250,000 to a city fund used to help correct housing code violations in impoverished areas.
The incentive package, which was sponsored by Councilwoman Kathryn Shields, was approved unanimously at the July 11 Council meeting.
“You don’t run into too many of these projects that make everybody happy,” Fenley said.
The existing Holiday Inn opened in 1967. The project calls for a five-story addition be built on its north side, mirroring an existing five-story tower on its south end. The new tower would expand the number of rooms from the current 240 to 275.
A two-story, 6,000 square-foot ballroom that’s been closed since the 1990s will be reopened and windows will be added to what’s currently a blank wall to offer sweeping views to the southwest of the Country Club Plaza.
A 20,000 square-foot courtyard will be revamped with a new swimming pool and outdoor games area. The courtyard plan includes bringing in an Airstream trailer that will be used as a food truck. A lobby bar also will open to the outdoor space.
Purinton said the project still needs final approval from city planners and is “pressing hard” to complete its private financing arrangements. The project was endorsed by the City Plan Commission in December.
If all goes according to plan, construction would begin in the first quarter of 2020 with completion by the second half of 2021.
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