|By Kevin Collison, The Kansas City Star,
Mo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 11, 2012--Seven months after lowering its flag at Crown Center, Hyatt wants to open a 225-room luxury hotel near the Country Club Plaza that would anchor an $80 million high-rise development.
"We're just really excited to have the opportunity to come back to Kansas City," Mike Daood, vice president of development for Hyatt Hotels Corp. said Tuesday. Hyatt operated a hotel for more than 30 years at Crown Center but it became the Sheraton Crown Center on Jan. 1.
The proposed 12-story development is on property now occupied by the Victory Court Apartments at 4622 Pennsylvania Ave. and would be north of the Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist at 604 W. 47th St.
The project would be jointly developed by Hyatt and Block Real Estate Services of Kansas City, and the hotel would be owned and operated by Hyatt.
The 37-unit apartment complex, which dates to the 1950s, was purchased a year ago by Block Real Estate Services.
The four-level rectangular base would include two floors of office space. The fifth floor would include meeting rooms, a kitchen and bar, and would open to a terrace overlooking the Plaza. The upper half would include the hotel rooms.
The lobby of the building and an 8,000 square-foot restaurant would be located on the second floor as well as some parking. Because of the sloping site, two levels of the 300-space garage would be underground.
Daood described the quality of the proposed hotel as a full-service Hyatt with a fresh, contemporary design and the latest technology. The architects are Hoefer Wysocki of Overland Park and Law Kingdon of Wichita.
The development proposal is scheduled to be introduced today to the Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission, but no discussion is expected. The developers will be seeking tax-increment financing assistance for the project, but the amount is yet to be determined.
"We're still running some numbers," said Doug Stone, the attorney at Polsinelli Shughart representing B.H. Plaza LLC, the development entity.
"While the hotel market is vibrant in the Plaza, that doesn't translate into a high enough daily rate to cover the cost. It will be a pay-as-you-go TIF with no city backing."
Stone and Steve Block, a principal at Block Real Estate Services, said they will ask the city to rezone the property as an urban redevelopment district. They believe the building design will meet the height regulations of the Plaza Urban Design and Development Plan, which generally restricts taller buildings to the perimeter of the hills forming the Plaza "bowl."
The developers added they have a "positive relationship" with organizations and property owners with a stake in the Plaza, including Friends of the Plaza, the Plaza-Westport Neighborhood Association, Highwoods Properties, which owns the shopping and retail district, and the neighboring church.
"We're confident, by working closely with them, we'll have a building at this location that will be welcomed by the community," Stone said.
If the necessary approvals are obtained, Block said construction could begin in spring 2013 with completion in about two years.
The Hyatt announcement is the second related to hotels this week in the Plaza area. On Monday, the developers of the Plaza Vista project, formerly called the West Edge, said they had a contract with Valencia Group of Houston to operate a 132-room hotel in their project. It will be called the Hotel Sorella and is expected to open in fall 2013.
While Hyatt continues to operate hotels under the Hyatt Place flag at Kansas City International Airport and Overland Park, Daood said the firm believes that since its Crown Center operation closed, it's been "underrepresented" in the Kansas City market.
"We miss being in Kansas City, it's a major urban market," he said.
"From my perspective, the Plaza is one of the premier areas of Kansas City and to be in that sub-market has been a priority. ."
To reach Kevin Collison, development reporter, call 816-234-4289 or email email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @kckansascity.
(c)2012 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)
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