Developers of a proposed new hotel in Hutchinson are awaiting market research to determine the number of rooms the property will have.
But they know the new Hilton Garden Inn franchise will span at least six acres in the K-61/17th Avenue corridor, said Aaron Brooks, who is leading the development effort.
A development group is negotiating for two different sites, so Brooks declined to further identify the possible location.
Preliminary estimates put the cost of the hotel at $15 million, with a nearby “entertainment district” proposed at between $3 million and $5 million, depending on what it includes, said Brooks, owner of CMB Construction.
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The plans for the hotel were revealed as part of an agenda item at Tuesday’s Reno County Commission meeting regarding requests for funding from the county’s dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The investment group requested $235,000 in ARPA money for the creation of the entertainment district, which would include an amphitheater, sports bar and other amenities.
The hotel development itself, Brooks said, is not tied to securing county funding, and no ARPA money would go to the hotel.
“Right now it’s really early in the process,” Brooks said Monday. “We are waiting for a market study to be carried out. This is one of the first things to get, to determine the size and needs of the hotel.
Since they plan to continue it as the Hilton Garden Inn, it will need to have at least 82 rooms, Brooks said, but it will likely be larger.
The group is currently seeking proposals from companies identified by Hilton to conduct the market research, he said. They expect the study to last about six months.
Brooks grew up in Hutchinson and moved back here with his family from Kansas City last year. He said he recognized the need for a hotel after hearing concerns about the lack of rooms at the NJCAA basketball tournament and the Kansas State Fair and started finding accommodations. investment partners three or four months ago.
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He declined to identify any of those partners except Howard Partington, the former administrator of Great Bend City, but noted, “The investments are lined up.”
“Most of us are locals,” he said of the band. “Some aren’t, but they have interests in the community…these are people I know or have worked with in the past.”
Brooks partnered with Partington “because he has experience dealing with different cities and government stuff to get that stuff through easier.” He met Partington while building the former administrator’s house in Reno County.
Howard Partington’s son, Randy Partington, is now the Reno County Administrator. However, Randy Partington will not be involved in deciding ARPA allocations, Brooks noted.
“It’s going to happen,” Brooks said of the hotel. “But I want to emphasize that the money (from the county) is not going to help build the hotel in any way.”
“I don’t think that would be the best use of ARPA funds,” he said. “There are other community needs for it. We would like to use it for those public spaces around the hotel, more for entertainment. I think putting things like that would help the community.”
The plan is to develop the entertainment district at the same time as the hotel, so it will be included in the land they buy.
“We have several different plans,” Brooks said, so the final cost is “evolving.”
The hotel will include meeting rooms and an event venue, but no convention center, he said.
However, the entertainment district may include a conference center.
The Entertainment District could also include “outdoor flex space,” meaning space for various uses, including local food trucks and vendors wrapped around the outdoor amphitheater.
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Brooks said he was project manager for the development of a Holiday Inn and Suites in Lenexa, off 95th Street and Interstate 135, in 2019, though his company, which he founded in 2001, being primarily involved in residential and commercial construction.
There are currently Hilton Garden Inn franchises in Salina, Hays, Topeka and Manhattan.
Other than ARPA money, Brooks said they haven’t applied for any other state or local funding, although they may in the future.
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The entertainment district’s request is one of five new requests added to the initial list given to commissioners earlier this year, which the council will consider on Tuesday.
Reno County has planned to spend $10 million of its $12.042 million ARPA allocation on public programs including child care, housing and economic development.
The list of demands now exceeds $20 million.