|By Kelli Bamforth, The Olathe News,
Kan.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 5, 2008 - The planned Embassy Suites hotel with adjacent conference center in the Corporate Ridge Office Park at Kansas Highway 10 and Ridgeview Road grew by one story and 15 suites this week.
Dave Mashburn, project manager with John Q. Hammons Hotels and Resorts, presented the Olathe City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday with an update and rendering of the hotel.
The hotel will have 12 stories and 330 rooms, more than the 11 stories and 315 rooms originally announced in June. Some "unique components" had evolved since he last met with the Council, Mashburn said.
"We've been very busy rethinking the project," Mashburn said. "A lot of that is driven by the parking situation."
The Council had discussed the possibility of parking underneath the conference center, with a goal of providing 800-plus spaces.
The most recent plans for the development include 250 spaces dedicated to hotel guests under the center. A surface parking lot adjacent to the center will provide an additional 500 spaces.
Another development to the north of Embassy Suites will share an additional 100 spaces with the hotel, Mashburn said.
"We are happy with that configuration," he said.
Other Hammons hotels average around 783 parking spaces, so Olathe's development will have better-than-average parking.
The hotel will have three different configurations of suites, Mashburn said, including side-by-side, front-to-back and view suites.
In a front-to-back suite, guests walk into a living space with a bedroom in the back. Side-to-side suites bring the bedroom next to the living space, allowing for more natural light, Mashburn said.
View suites will look over the Interstate 435 and I-35 corridor and will have all-glass fronts.
The suite configuration compressed the building's footprint to allow for additional green space, Mashburn said. The basic components of the conference center, however, have not changed.
The center will have 80,000-square-feet of meeting space, including a 3,000-square-foot ballroom, an additional ballroom and 10 smaller meeting spaces.
"This will be larger than anything else in the Kansas City area," Mashburn said.
The hotel will have an atrium-style interior, sports bar, Internet cafe, gift shop, pool and fitness center.
The Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Olathe will be Hammons' fourth development in the metro area. Other hotels are near Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo.
City officials hope the hotel will lead to increased economic development in the area. The hotel will receive a 10-year, 100 percent property tax abatement, along with all revenues it generates from the city's transient-guest tax for 20 years.
Construction is scheduled to begin in April or May. The hotel will most likely open 18 to 20 months after that, Mashburn said, or in late 2010/early 2011.
Mayor Michael Copeland called the hotel "a very exciting project."
"There is a great amount of pent-up demand (for this)," he said. "There's a lot of interest."
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Copyright (c) 2008, The Olathe News, Kan.
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