By Kevin Collison
Troost Avenue has checked in a new $16 million hotel after six years of planning and plenty of persuading to overcome reluctance by lenders to back a project on a street long associated with Kansas City’s racial divide.
The 93-room La Quinta Del Sol is at 2321 Troost next to Hospital Hill. It’s part of a growing wave of investment in the area including new apartments, a UMKC student housing development and the renovation of the historic Wonder Bread bakery building.
Chris Vukas of Sunflower Development said the seed for the project was planted by former Truman Medical Center CEO John Bluford.
“He said we need a hotel near the Truman Medical Center, we don’t have rooms for people driving in to visit patients,” Vukas recalled.
Sunflower and co-developer UC-B Properties were the responder when a city development agency asked for proposals six years ago to redevelop the 1.2-acre site.
Even with city tax incentive help, it was a long slog.
“It was hard to find investors because of the stigma of Troost,” Vukas said.
But last week, the new hotel was welcoming its first customers, who checked in at a lobby desk with a colorful jazz-theme mural behind it. The mural recognizes the new hotel’s proximity to the 18th and Vine Jazz District.
The hotel is one of the first to be developed as part of the La Quinta chain’s Del Sol concept. It features a large fitness center, 600 square-foot meeting room and space for its free breakfast service.
Many of the rooms on the west and south side of the four-story hotel have great views of the downtown skyline.
The hotel also is just a couple blocks from the core of Hospital Hill, home of Truman Medical Center, Children’s Hospital and the UMKC healthcare professional programs.
Vukas said the new Del Sol will offer special rates for healthcare professionals and families of patients being treated there. It’s also in discussions with the Ronald McDonald House to provide reduced rates for families who can’t find room there.
“I think we’ll prove a hotel on Troost will be successful,” he said.
The hotel also has two, 1,300 square-foot retail spaces available on Troost. The developers would like to land a coffee shop.
The hotel was designed by Generator Studio of Kansas City. It’s being managed by TGC Hospitality Management of Wichita.
“It gives us great pleasure to be able to bring quality and affordable lodging accommodations to the Beacon Hill community and we look forward to welcoming travelers,” Jill Taylor, TGC marketing director, said in a statement.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 10.
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