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Developer Drake Leddy Wants to Build Two Hotels,
an aloft and an element, in Leawood, Kansas

By Kevin Collison, The Kansas City Star, Mo.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Dec. 19, 2006 - Two mid-rise hotels are being planned for the Park Place development at 119th Street and Nall Avenue, both new, upscale concepts from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

One is a luxury concept being rolled out by the W Hotels subsidiary of Starwood called Aloft. The seven-story, 193-room hotel is geared for business and leisure travelers looking for a more hip lodging experience. The other, an eight-story, 207-room hotel is called Element and is a new concept from the Westin subsidiary of Starwood. The Element is an extended-stay hotel that includes a kitchenette in the room.

The plan for the hotels is scheduled to be introduced to the Leawood Planning Commission today. They would be the first hotels to be built in Leawood, a bedroom community that has experienced significant commercial development in recent years.

The original Park Place development plan, which adjoins the Leawood Town Center, called for one hotel. The mixed-use project now being built on 30 acres includes 100,000 square feet of restaurants and shops, 52 condominiums and 80,000 square feet of office space.

That plan changed as the demand for hotel rooms increased in southern Johnson County, said developer Melanie Mann.

The planned hotels would be developed by Presidian, a San Antonio-based hotel developer run by H. Drake Leddy. Presidian was a partner in the redevelopment of the historic President Hotel in downtown Kansas City, which reopened as the Hilton President Kansas City.

The franchise applications for both hotels are currently being reviewed by Starwood, which is based in White Plains, N.Y. The firm also operates the Sheraton chain, the flag of the Overland Park Convention Center hotel near the Park Place development.

The Aloft hotel is described by the company as being "infused with the DNA" of W Hotels. Each room features modern furnishings, plasma televisions, 9-foot ceilings and large windows. Daily room rates are in the mid-$100 range.

The Aloft, which would cost an estimated $25 million, features a two-level lobby.

The first level of the seven-story Aloft building will be used for 30,000 square feet of retail, with the second level featuring check-in and a large bar.

The eight-story Element hotel, estimated to cost $30 million, also features a contemporary design and is geared for longer-stay guests and families. Its daily rates range from the high $100s to low $200s.

Neither of the hotels will have a full-service restaurant, although both will provide breakfasts for guests.

Plans call for a spring groundbreaking for both hotels, with completion in fall 2008.

The Aloft hotel concept also is being considered for another project being pursued by developers at 45th and Main streets near the Country Club Plaza.

To reach Kevin Collison, call (816) 234-4289 or send e-mail to kcollison@kcstar.com.

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Copyright (c) 2006, The Kansas City Star, Mo.

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