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Kansas City Council votes down tax breaks for five-star hotel in the Crossroads Arts District

EJ Holtze Corp.
A rendering of the proposed hotel.

With little in the way of discussion, the often-debated merits of awarding tax incentives for what's been described as an ultra-luxury hotel in the Crossroads was voted down by the Kansas City Council.

A clear majority of the Kansas City Council voted against giving tax incentives to a proposed five-star luxury hotel near the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The 145-room hotel proposal, often referred to as Hotel Bravo, has lingered around City Hall since 2019. But until Thursday it never came up for a vote.

Developers Whitney Kerr Sr. and Eric Holtze sought to build what they said would be Kansas City’s only five-star luxury hotel on undeveloped land at 16th and Wyandotte streets. They said the hotel would be unique in the Kansas City market and provide an experience for guests that other hotels lack.

There wasn’t much discussion at Thursday’s meeting. But the hotel has been the subject of much discussion in the past.

Most council members have expressed skepticism about giving tax breaks for a hotel that’s mostly aimed at a wealthy clientele. Organizations outside of City Hall, including Visit KC, which exists to promote Kansas City’s tourism and convention industry, have also opposed Hotel Bravo.

Hotel Bravo requested a host of subsidies for the hotel, which has been estimated to cost at least $63 million to build. The Tax Increment Financing Commission, which advises the Kansas City Council on a subsidy that lets developers capture future property and economic activity taxes to pay for project costs, recommended against giving Hotel Bravo some of the incentives the project sought.

That meant the project would have faced a daunting task of garnering a supermajority of council votes to get the incentives.

In the end, it didn’t much matter. Of the 12 members of the council present for Thursday’s vote, all except Katheryn Shields voted against it.

Without subsidies in hand from City Hall, financing the hotel will likely be an uphill climb for the developers.

Steve Vockrodt is the former investigative editor for the Midwest Newsroom.
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