(Editor’s note: The Denver architect of the proposed Bravo! Hotel has merged his firm with CannonDesign. New renderings of the project have been added to the article.)
By Kevin Collison
A high-end $63 million boutique hotel that backers say would be the most luxurious in the metro is being proposed across Wyandotte Street from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Whitney Kerr Sr., a longtime Kansas City real estate magnate with Cushman & Wakefield and veteran Colorado hotel developer Eric Holtze of EJ Holtze Corp. want to build the 13-story project on vacant land controlled by the Performing Arts Center just north of the Webster House garage.
The working title for their 145-room project is “Hotel Bravo!”
“We want a striking look and experience for the guests,” Holtze said.
“It will be positioned to be the top hotel in the city…Most rooms face west toward the Performing Arts Center. When you’re in a room, you’ll know exactly where you are.”
The developers have an agreement with PAC Holding, Inc. to acquire the land and J.E. Dunn Construction would be the contractor.
They’ve hired Denver architect Brian Klipp of CannonDesign, the designer of the Denver Convention Hotel and co-designer with Michael Graves of the acclaimed Denver Library. The exterior would be mostly glass with some precast concrete.
The local architect would be Rich Kuhl of WSKF Architects.
Kerr said the proposed luxury hotel would provide Kansas City with the kind of upscale accommodations expected by sophisticated national and international travelers.
“Staying in this hotel would be a special experience, it sets us off as a unique place and would be the capstone of the Performing Arts Center experience,” he said.
To help finance their venture, the developers are seeking tax-increment financing incentives from the city.
To sweeten their TIF request, they have pledged 25 percent of its proceeds would be distributed to taxing jurisdictions including the Kansas City School District and Kansas City Public Library.
The property currently generates about $1,500 in annual property taxes. Under the proposed TIF agreement, taxing jurisdictions would see that amount increase to $200,000 in the first year and rise gradually to $400,000 in the final year of the 23-year TIF Plan.
After the plan expires, the project would pay the full property tax of $1.3 million. Cross First Bank of Kansas City would be the private lender.
To achieve their goal for luxury, the developers said the average room size would be more than 400 square feet, significantly bigger than other hotels. Many of the rooms would have corner windows, all would have ample natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows.
The top floor would feature a sky bar and a 1,600 square-foot penthouse suite. Each floor would feature a guest lounge offering guests light breakfast and evening buffet fare and beverages. The interior designer is Design Force of Denver.
The first floor would feature a piano bar and lounge off the lobby, and a ‘four-star plus” restaurant along Wyandotte. The developers expect the restaurant will attract not only hotel guests, but area diners simply making it their destination.
Kerr said the upscale nature of the Hotel Bravo! would distinguish it from the host of other hotel projects recently built downtown or being planned.
No parking is planned for the project.
Instead, spaces will be used in the adjoining Webster House garage and the Performing Arts Center garage across Wyandotte. The proposed hotel also is two blocks from the streetcar stop at 16th and Main.
The proposed TIF Plan was introduced to the Kansas City TIF Commission last week. It must be reviewed by city economic development staff and is likely at least two months away from a hearing by the commission.
A tentative timeline calls for the TIF process to last five- to six months, followed by four- to five months refining the design. A groundbreaking could occur next summer with completion in October 2020.
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