Excerpt from Kansas City Star
History is full of examples of lousy timing. There’s the Titanic and that iceberg. There’s the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that sparked World War I.
And now there’s a proposal from two developers to build a $63.5 million luxury hotel with the help of $20 million in tax subsidies.
In a city that’s recently launched a serious discussion about the urgent need for more affordable housing and tax-increment financing while also facing looming questions about a suddenly overbuilt hotel market, our reaction shouldn’t surprise anybody, including the developers:
You’ve got to be kidding.
Not only is the timing killer here, so are the optics. Developers Eric Holtze and Whitney Kerr Sr. can’t possibly expect the Kansas City Council to go along with a plan to subsidize a high-end hotel when the community is just finally coming to grips with its housing crisis.
And they can’t realistically expect there to be political will to allocate more in tax-increment financing when the community just went through an agonizing process over subsidies for the new downtown convention hotel just about a block away. Developers plan to sell $42.2 million in TIF bonds, coupled with $82.3 million in taxable bonds to complete the financing for that long-missing piece of our hotel lineup. Taxes that the hotel generates will repay those loans.
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