PortKC, a Kansas City agency with the power to grant development incentives, will look into financing up to $15 million in acquisition and construction costs for a hotel planned at 2001 Main.
In a 5-1 vote, PortKC commissioners resolved to research a financing gap reported by Main Lodging Partners, which intends to build a 112-room extended-stay hotel in the Crossroads district.
The lone vote against pursuing the request came from commissioner Dan Fowler, who said he couldn’t in good conscience support PortKC incentives for a project that already has received significant assistance from the city.
Main Lodging is an entity associated with Sunflower Development Group and True North Hotel Group, the developers behind a planned Hilton Home2Suites. The five-story lodging facility is designed for property made developable by city-financed removal of the Walnut Street ramp that connected Main and 20th streets.
The city also negotiated a settlement with the Lamar outdoor advertising company to remove a large billboard from the site. Part of that settlement negated an earlier tax increment financing plan for the hotel.
In August, Jason Swords, a Sunflower Group principal, told the Kansas City Council that its approval of the hotel development plan was “really the last milestone” needed to proceed with the project.
But PortKC executive director Michael Collins said City Hall asked the agency to research what appears to be a continued funding gap in order for construction to begin on the hotel.
“This is not a guarantee of incentives,” Collins emphasized. “There’s lot of due diligence ahead.”
The site also is located on the city-financed streetcar line which, Fowler noted, is expected to be an economic incentive in itself for the downtown and Crossroads area. Furthermore, the Crossroads is undergoing plenty of redevelopment without public assistance, he said.
“Other parts of the city need help besides downtown and the Crossroads,” Fowler said.
A majority of commissioners, though, agreed that it was an appropriate role for PortKC to investigate helping the 20th and Main development.
Collins said PortKC’s authority extends to transit-related development, and he considered the hotel’s relationship to the streetcar line to be appropriate for further research.
“A lot of banks are still waiting to see if all the announced hotels come on line and if the streetcar will incent” the projects, Collins said. “We’re going to take our time…This is one of the last projects we’d assist in the foreseeable future.”
If it goes forward, the project could be considered for a 10-year, 100 percent property tax abatement followed by a 5-year, 50 percent abatement plus payments in lieu of taxes. Collins said the agency is discussing the possible effect with the county, school district and library taxing districts.