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For Some KC Council Members, Marriott's Request For Help On Renovations Has Merit

Cody Newill
KCUR 89.3

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Plaza’s InterContinental would seek blight status from Kansas City so it could establish a special sales tax to help pay for hotel renovations.

During that city council meeting, Brett Ellison, general manager of the Marriott Country Club Plaza, issued a warning:

"Should the InterContinental be successful in this application, we would also like to apply, and I assure you I've spoken to multiple general managers who will also be submitting application."

It appears Ellison wasn't bluffing — last week, the Marriott and Muehlebach Hotel complex downtown announced they also want the city to help with their renovations. They’ll appear before the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority Wednesday to discuss the request.

The downtown hotel is asking to establish a community improvement district to create a special sales tax. Additionally, they want the city to pay for half of the $32.8 million cost. 

Councilwoman Heather Hall, who's been against the Intercontinental's request from the start, says she wasn't surprised to hear of the new application.

"I have three children and as a mother, you know that if you say yes to one child the other two will be right in line after — and this is the exact same thing. This is why this is a bad precedent for us to start," she said. 

Councilman Quinton Lucas says it may be time to re-evaluate whether to use tools like CIDs for hotels or single-owner properties.

He also considers the Marriott's request different from the InterContinental's. 

"Frankly, I think the Marriott project has more merit ... the Marriott is very close to Bartle Hall and the offer they're making to the city right now, they're going to offer a significant amount of parking spaces  to the city of Kansas City, Missouri, for its own use in connection to conventions and other activities, " he said. 

The InterContinental's renovations are mostly cosmetic and include carpet replacement and structural repairs to the parking garage. 

The city council is set to vote on the InterContinental’s application on Oct. 6. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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