|By Kevin Collison, The Kansas City Star, Mo.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Apr. 19, 2005 - The Doubletree Hotel at 1301 Wyandotte St. is scheduled to switch chains for the fifth time in its 35-year history and start operating in May under the Radisson flag.
The 28-story hotel opened in 1970 as a Holiday Inn, and then was renamed the Americana, followed by Omni, followed by Doubletree. The latest switch was made with an eye towards regional familiarity, said Richard C. Conti, president of Boykin Lodging Co., the Cleveland real estate investment trust that purchased the hotel in 1997.
"We went with Radisson because of its strong Midwest brand -- the company is out of Minneapolis," he said.
Boykin is planning to upgrade the furnishings and fixtures of the 388-bed hotel as part of the conversion, including replacing its beds with special Sleep Number beds made by Select Comfort for Radisson. No cost estimate was available for what Conti said would be a three-year improvement plan.
Boykin Lodgings is optimistic the hotel will benefit from the investments being made downtown including the Kansas City Live entertainment district being developed by the Cordish Co. of Baltimore, the improvements to the convention center and the new H&R Block corporate headquarters.
"We were there when the Power & Light district was proposed, and we are ecstatic about what's going on there," Conti said. "We're very familiar with Cordish. They've done very successful entertainment districts, and they're a first-class operation."
The franchise change was approved by the City Council of Kansas City. Council action was required because of the city's financing agreement with the hotel owners. In 1996, the city issued $15.1 million in revenue bonds for a hotel renovation project.
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