|By Rick Alm, The Kansas City Star,
Mo.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Oct. 4, 2006 - The Clarion Hotel at Interstate 70 and the Truman Sports Complex is getting a new name and a $40 million makeover that will include a $21 million indoor water park.
New owners acquired the 374-room Clarion last month. The lead partner, Denver-based Sage Hospitality Resources, owns or operates 48 U.S. hotels in 22 states, mostly under the Marriott and Sheraton flags. The hotel's new affiliation has not been announced.
Sage spokeswoman Amy Shimon said seven other company properties were adding similar waterparks through recently formed Sage affiliate CoCo Key Water Resorts LLC.
The first three CoCo parks are set to open this year in two Chicago area locations and near Columbus, Ohio. Others are scheduled for 2007 openings at Sage properties in Omaha, Neb., and near Boston, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
Sage bills itself as a turnaround specialist for "distressed properties" and renovation of historically significant buildings.
In Kansas City, "We're pretty much starting over," said Jamie Wolfe, acting general manager at the Clarion.
In addition to building a 60,000-square-foot structure to house the waterpark, Wolfe said, the hotel's rooms would be gutted, redecorated and equipped with new fixtures and furnishings. The hotel's restaurants and public areas will get similar makeovers. Wolfe said the hotel was to remain open during renovation.
"That hotel has had a rich tradition," said Brad McCreedy, Sage sales vice president. "The hotel improvements combined with the waterpark amenity will take that property to new performance levels."
The waterpark will be an amenity for hotel guests, but McCreedy said it also would be open for public use at selected times when guest demand was light. It will also be available for private parties. It will operate a hot line to alert callers to public hours. No daily admission fees have been set.
Wolfe said the hotel had invited nearby residents to a meeting Tuesday in the hotel ballroom to learn more about the project.
Sage's partners in the CoCo park and hotel ownership groups include Wave Development and Horizon Construction, both of Milwaukee. The hotel ownerships group operates as WPH Kansas City LLC.
Walter L. Isenberg, Sage founder, president and chief executive, was born and raised in Kansas City.
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Copyright (c) 2006, The Kansas City Star, Mo.
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