The proposal to add a new 800-room hotel to Kansas City’s convention-hosting amenities reaches a critical juncture on the afternoon of Thursday, July 23, when the city council is expected to vote on whether to move the $311 million project forward. Would it be good business, boosting the city’s convention prospects? Or is the cost, including tax incentives, too high and the return on investment too iffy?
Hours before the council meets, the Library hosts a public forum on the much-debated issue. Among the participants: Heywood T. Sanders, one of the country’s foremost experts on urban development and author of the cautionary book Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities. He maintains that heavy investment in convention facilities across the country—including the expansion of Kansas City’s Bartle Hall—mostly has failed to deliver promised new jobs, private development, or tax revenues.
Current and newly elected council members have been invited to attend.