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After COVID-19 Delayed Its Debut, Kansas City Convention Center Hotel Plans To Open On June 1

Julie Denesha
KCUR 89.3
The 24-story Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel at 15th and Wyandotte was set to open April 2.

Loews is set to open its downtown Kansas City hotel despite canceled conventions.

After years of planning and setbacks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Kansas City’s new downtown convention hotel will officially open June 1, according to an announcement Thursday.

The 24-story, 800-room Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, at 1515 Wyandotte St., had been set to open April 2 before the epidemic struck.

“While our opening plans look a bit different than we had originally anticipated, there is no better time to open our doors and introduce Kansas City to Loews than when KC prepares to get back to business,” Loews Hotels and Co. said in a release.

“We want to assure customers, locals and visitors of the continuous efforts we will be making on a daily basis, as well as new measures that have been put in place, in order to provide a welcoming and clean environment at Loews Kansas City Hotel,” the release said.

Kansas City last opened a new convention hotel during the Reagan administration, and leaders had said for years that the city needed a new flagship downtown hotel to maximize activity at Bartle Hall.

The hotel plan was announced in 2015 but was on a roller coaster ride for several years. It faced some opposition about hefty developer incentives for the project. The City Council also dealt with a citizens’ petition attempt to put the plan to a public vote. The vote never happened and the project moved forward.

New York-based Loews Hotels and Co. is a well-respected luxury convention hotel operator. It replaced Hyatt as the planned operator for the hotel and the company oversaw design and construction of the building that eventually cost $325 million.

Construction finally began in 2018.

Construction was on a fast track to accommodate a July 2020 national Shriners convention. But that convention and others have now been canceled and the Loews opens in the teeth of one of the most devastating economic downturns since the Great Depression.

The virus pandemic is taking a particular toll on tourism and entertainment-related industries.

Still, the company said Thursday that “becoming an integral part of the Kansas City community and being a Good Neighbor is part of our company’s DNA.”

It said the safety and well-being of guests, team members and the community will be a top priority.

Lynn Horsley is a freelance writer in Kansas City. Follow her on Twitter @LynnHorsley.
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