Another Kansas City hotel wants city help to pay for renovations

The Marriott (left) and Muehlebach (far right) hotels in downtown Kansas City.
The Marriott (left) and Muehlebach (far right) hotels in downtown Kansas City. File photo

When news broke that the InterContinental, a luxury hotel near the Country Club Plaza, wanted a special sales tax to help finance interior renovations, critics quickly argued that approval would stick the camel’s nose into the tent.

The sniffing has begun.

Kansas City’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday is scheduled to hear a preliminary proposal from owners of the downtown Marriott and Muehlebach hotel complex.

Like the InterContinental plan, the Marriott group’s request would seek authorization of a Community Improvement District sales tax to help pay for renovations. Unlike the InterContinental case, the Marriott deal also would ask the city to pay half of the proposed $32.8 million cost.

The Land Clearance authority is getting the early alert because it owns the land and the parking garage under the Marriott, bounded by 11th and 12th, Central and Wyandotte streets. That ownership arrangement stems from the city’s long-standing participation in a deal that allowed a large hotel to built on the site.

The authority leases the land and underground garage to Kansas City Downtown Hotel Group LLC, the ownership group

Joe Egan, the authority’s executive director, said that commissioners will hear a presentation by the hotel ownership group and that no vote would taken at Wednesday’s meeting.

“It’s still sort of in the working-out stages,” Egan said.

Representatives from Kansas City Downtown Hotel Group did not answer requests seeking comment.

The Marriott proposal basically is for a tax surcharge (up to 1 cent is allowed by law) on sales within a new CID boundary for the Marriott and Muehlebach properties. It also wants Kansas City to channel part of the city’s existing convention and visitor sales tax revenues for the renovations and proposes that the CID revenues would offset part of the city’s cost.

Either the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority or the City Council would need to certify the project costs. Left unstated so far is how the city would tackle project financing if the proposal goes through.

Steve Vockrodt contributed to this story.