Crown Center Redevelopment Corp., owner of the Westin and Sheraton hotels at Crown Center, wants public assistance to help pay for hotel renovations as well as to finance improvements, upkeep and public safety costs.
The corporation says the renovations would not be “financially feasible” if it has to pay for all the improvements itself.
The request is outlined in a proposed Kansas City ordinance to authorize a Community Improvement District that would allow collection of a 1-cent sales tax for 30 years.
The first-year budget for the CID revenues estimates sales tax income of $691,000, if the proposed Pershing and Grand Community Improvement District is approved.
The request also seeks redirection of some existing convention and visitors taxes now collected by the two hotels. It seeks a rebate of about $15 million over 15 years to pay for up to half of $30 million in planned hotel room and lobby renovations.
Stacey Paine, president of Crown Center Redevelopment, said the CID taxes would be used to benefit public spaces, not the interior of the hotels. The convention and visitors tax rebate would be allocated for the room renovations.
The proposed CID taxing district generally would be from Main Street to the west, Gillham Road to the east, 22nd Street to the north and 25th street to the south, but the CID tax would apply only to sales within the hotels.
No new blight designation would be required to create the district. The designated area already is part of the Crown Center 353 Development Area that continues to remain in force.
The proposed ordinance states that the “developer has considered a substantial capital investment in the hotels, consisting of a complete renovation of the hotel rooms, other hotel amenities and facilities, and certain public spaces and improvements at the hotels at an estimated cost of approximately $30 million, but has determined that the renovation is not financially feasible if all of the funding must be provided by the developer.”
The CID ordinance would authorize “the City Manager to execute certain agreements with Crown Center Redevelopment Corporation for the purposes of providing financial assistance in the renovation of the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center and The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center Hotel.”
According to the petition, the CID revenue could be used for public safety improvements; maintenance and renovation of public areas within the district, including parking garages, overhead pedestrian links and exterior concrete work; visitor promotion and market research; provision and maintenance of landscaping, streetscape, lighting, signs, banners, holiday decorations; litter and snow control; graffiti removal; and other beautification.
The measure, introduced by Councilwomen Katheryn Shields and Jolie Justus, is set for consideration Wednesday afternoon by the City Council’s Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Committee.
The ordinance references recently completed renovation of the Marriott-Muehlebach hotel downtown and the proposed Hyatt convention hotel as reasons to renovate the Westin and Sheraton.
More updated rooms “would be available for marketing to convention planners and users,” and “the addition of such new or newly renovated rooms is critical to the economic vitality of the City’s convention business,” the proposed ordinance states.