Upcoming Events

  1. Get Jazzed! A Benefit Concert for ProDeo, CASA, and Lee’s Summit Social Services

    December 20 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
  2. Brew:30 1Q

    January 23, 2019 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Why KC Needs a New Convention-Class Hotel

Why KC Needs a New Convention-Class Hotel


A new hotel will help the city win back large meetings.

Our city was once in the top tier nationally as a destination for meetings and conventions. While other communities have made improvements to attract conventions, Kansas City has dropped in the convention business rankings.

We lost momentum, but now we have an opportunity to regain our status. With the economy improving, there’s no better time to move Kansas City forward.

Kansas City has a newly renovated convention center, a new downtown arena, new downtown residential and entertainment facilities and the world-class Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, yet we are missing the final piece of the puzzle that will catapult our convention status. A convention headquarters hotel will boost Kansas City’s national convention-city ranking and reputation, grow the economy and maximize the return on past public and private investments.

Our development group, Burke Swerdling & Associates, along with KC Hotel Developers LLC, has put forth a proposal for a convention center hotel. The mayor asked for a proposal heavy on private investment with minimal public participation and no city guarantee of the debt, and our proposal delivers on both points.

The hotel will be built at 16th between Baltimore and Wyandotte streets, directly across from the Kansas City Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom. Hyatt has been selected as the hotel operator. The hotel will feature 800 rooms with 75,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space; 9,000 square feet of garden-terrace space; 15,450 square feet of other retail, restaurant, bar and lounge space; a 9,913-square-foot recreational facility; and a parking facility with 450 to 500 spaces.

An 800-room hotel will catalyze business for current restaurants, hotels, retail stores and entertainment and cultural venues. It is estimated that the project will bring 350 full-time-equivalent jobs, plus additional employment in other Kansas City-area businesses serving the convention business. The project will require 1,500 construction workers, including 600 workers at peak construction and an average of 400 workers during the course of construction.

The hotel will cost approximately $300 million, with a significant investment from the private sector. The city will contribute land and site-generated taxes to the project.  It will also contribute $35 million paid for out of the Convention and Tourism Tax. There will be no city guarantee of the TIF bonds.

The project team has a strong vision for Kansas City and a deep commitment to improving our town by building a convention headquarters hotel Kansas Citians will be proud of. As Mayor Sly James stated, “The proposed agreement is the right development at the right location with the right hotel operator, and now is the right time to do it.”

(Image courtesy of HNTB Corporation)

Mike Burke

Written by

Mike Burke is a Kansas City civic leader and the CEO at Burke Swerdling & Associates.

Categories: Open Mike


  1. (913) 432-6690
  2. PO Box 754
        Shawnee Mission, KS
  3. editor@ithinkbigger.com


  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Linked In
  4. Google Plus