Hospitality developer Mike Patel suffered a setback on his plans for a 120-room hotel project at the northwest corner of 39th Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard when the idea met with opposition from several community institutions.
Patel’s hotel project was supposed to come up for a vote before the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., Planning Commission on April 10, but commissioners held off on taking any action until at least June 12.
That’s after the University of Kansas Health System, Hall Family Foundation, the University of Kansas Medical Center, the University of Kansas Endowment and Lane4 Property Group all lodged complaints about Patel’s project. Their criticisms focused on design, parking and traffic issues.
The KU Health System, KU Medical Center and KU Endowment all have extensive property holdings across the street from Patel’s proposed project. Lane4, a real estate firm, developed several properties south of the proposed hotel, which includes a Holiday Inn Express and other buildings for retail and medical office uses.
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And the Hall Family Foundation has supported the KU institutions along Rainbow Boulevard with charitable contributions, including a $19 million pledge for the Hemenway Building and a $25 million gift for the under-construction Health Education Building.
“We’re interested in the corner,” said Bill Hall, president of the Hall Family Foundation, in an interview. “We think the corner is one of the most prominent corners in Kansas City, Kan., and as such, deserves quality development.”
Hall, who spoke against the project at the April 10 Planning Commission meeting, said the proposal would put a large, dense building on less than an acre. As a result, the building would have 10-foot setbacks from public rights of way, he said, while other buildings along that corridor were 25 feet away. He also said the proposed parking allotment for the hotel was insufficient.
“Parking is a huge problem for that neighborhood,” Hall said. “Anybody who is adding to the parking problem is a concern.”
Hall’s comments mirrored in many ways the objections listed in letters written by KU Medical Center executive vice chancellor Doug Girod, KU Endowment president Dale Seuferling and KU Health System CEO Bob Page. Lane4 president Owen Buckley wrote that he expected the Unified Government to hold Patel’s project to the same architectural standards of his neighboring development.
Patel could not be reached for comment.
The Unified Government planning staff recommended approval of Patel’s project, but only if the developer met a long list of conditions.
“Basically, we said this doesn’t currently comply with the code,” said Rob Richardson, the Unified Government planning director. “You need to comply with the code.”
Among those conditions were that Patel use exterior materials similar to what Lane4’s project used.