Conventions

Chantex/Public Domain

It can be pretty frustrating: you have people in and it rains and the roof leaks. 

That is what has been happening for several years at Bartle Hall according to Kansas City Director of Convention and Entertainment Facilities Oscar McGaskey.

Mc Gaskey told the City Council Finance Committee on Wednesday that the roof at Bartle is beyond patchwork repairs and “in bad shape.”

He says exhibitors keep asking him when it will be repaired.

As expected, the full Kansas City Council approved financing arrangements for a proposed downtown convention hotel on Thursday.

One by one, the council members each spoke in favor or the convention hotel. Then the body voted unanimously to issue $35 million in bonds for construction, provide $4.9 million worth of land between Bartle Hall and the Kauffman Center, and endorse property tax abatement for the hotel.

Proposed Convention Hotel
Hyatt Hotels

The full Kansas City Council is expected to vote Thursday on underwriting and tax abatement for a new downtown Hyatt convention hotel. 

A council committee on Wednesday approved a $35 million cash contribution, to be financed with bonds.  The bonds would be paid off from convention and tourism taxes.

That funding, plus tax breaks and a $4.5 million contribution of city-owned land would add up to more than half of the expected $311 million project cost.

  It's been estimated that Kansas City has lost out on $3 billion worth of business over the last ten years because of convention commerce that’s vanished. The city’s proposed downtown convention hotel is supposed to be the answer, but is the $302 million project going to deliver the economic impact it promises?

Guests:

  • Steve Vockrodt is a reporter for The Pitch.
  • Patrick Tuohey is the Western Missouri Field Manager for the Show-Me Institute.
Elle Moxley / KCUR

The American Nurses Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, SkillsUSA – all groups Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James says would have held conventions in the metro if not for a lack of hotel space.

"They love Kansas City," James says. "They were going to look out at the hotels, and when they came back, they said, 'We can't come.'"

James and other civic leaders hope to remedy the problem with a new, $300 million hotel across the street from the Kansas City Convention Center. 

How is Kansas City doing when it comes to attracting conventions and tourists to town?