Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hollywood Casino hotel gets OK from commissioners


KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Western Wyandotte County's newest significant economic development project got the final go-ahead Thursday night from the Unified Government's Board of Commissioners.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve of the resolution for the Hollywood Casino's hotel. Construction is expected to begin in April, with the hotel being wrapped up by the end of 2016.

The 143,180 square-foot hotel will include 248 rooms, along with a 18,179 square-foot ballroom located at the casino.

While the plan was approved and will happen, representatives from Penn National and the Kansas Speedway contested a portion of the plan that includes a sidewalk.

The planned 4,500-foot sidewalk would connect to Village West Parkway.

The sidewalk and lighting would cost the casino between $500,000 and $1 million to build, according to UG agenda minutes.

Casino officials pointed out the sidewalk was not a part of the original development agreement between the company and the Unified Government.

"We believe it's not the appropriate thing for our guest experience," said B.J. Fair, vice president of Penn National. "We will create something for our guests. It's not the right time to have this at this time. We would like to reconsider (the sidewalk)."

Jeff Boerger, president of the Kansas Speedway Development Corporation, echoed Fair's comments.

"As we continue to develop the Speedway property, we will go back in and develop pedestrian infrastructure," Boerger said. "Let the market come to us."

However, commissioners and the mayor disagreed and the deal - including the sidewalk - was approved.