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Old 10-29-2011, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409

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Disclaimer. PLEASE READ:
This thread may contain "downer" material not suitable for fragile readers looking for glossed over happy news about how everything in kc is great. If your feelings are easily hurt when seeing any aspect of metropolitan Kansas City discussed in an honest and but sometimes negative vibe, I highly suggest you leave now. For those people, I recommend you turn off the computer and think about children flying kites in Shawnee Mission Park.
End Disclaimer.


KC convention business is falling way off - KansasCity.com (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/28/3235950/kc-convention-business-falling.html - broken link)

Kansas City, you are dropping the ball. After spending six billion on downtown including creating a modern convention center/ballroom connected to an entertainment district, you are about to drop to a nobody when it comes to conventions. Decades ago you used to compete with the biggest and largest convention cities except Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando etc. Then you let downtown go to hell and were no longer able to compete with even smaller places like Louisville and Indianapolis, now it’s going to be OKC and Omaha and Des Moines that you won’t be able to compete with even though you have tried to get things back on track with a new downtown.

Why?

Hotels and Transit.

Why would you spend six billion on downtown and not do the final piece of the puzzle and bring in a much needed convention hotel which would be a drop in the bucket compared to what the city has spent already? KC needs 2000-3000 more hotel rooms downtown to even begin to compete with its peer cities, but the city should at the very least have at least ONE modern large hotel. KC’s hotels are EXTREMELY dated and just tired so not only does KC not have enough, but the ones it does have are just not desirable and need major improvements. Crown Center closing most of upscale hotel restaurants and downgrading the Hyatt to a Sheraton is just a sign that KC is failing in the convention business. I posted a thread about KC closing its rooftop restaurants because I don’t believe these are closing all over the country like Crown Center says.
What cities still have rooftop hotel restaurants?

Sure people want to explore restaurants outside of hotels, but a place like Skies is a situation where people from outside the hotel seek out a hotel. You just don’t close places like that unless your convention industry is just in the tank or no longer exist and that is what is happening in KC.

Most cities still have upscale hotel restaurants that co-exist with the non hotel restaurants and probably will continue to have them into the future.

KC needs to invest in a new 1000-1400 room downtown convention hotel if for any reason at all to justify the other several million it has invested in downtown. A hotel like that will help the P&L District, Crossroads etc and actually put to use what is a great convention center.

The other thing is transit and I know KC is working very hard to try to get the streetcar done. But if KC really wants to step up and become a convention destination (small and larger meetings), that transit HAS TO GO TO THE PLAZA. Not only would you pull the two primary entertainment district bookends of the urban core together, but you would add thousands of hotel rooms to a possible convention package for larger conventions. The Plaza is the number one destination for out of towners and I find it mind boggling that kcmo can’t figure out a way to build 3 and half miles of decent transit to connect them together.

That’s my thoughts for the day!
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,346,783 times
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The Max does still connect downtown and the Plaza, does it not? I used to use it to commute. Can't speak to its hours of service, though.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
The Max does still connect downtown and the Plaza, does it not? I used to use it to commute. Can't speak to its hours of service, though.
Max is fine for locals that are used to using local transit. Max is nothing more than a local city bus line though. It needs a pretty big upgrade for it to be suitable for the vast majority of tourists and conventioneers (and even most downtown workers and suburban visitors) to use it as casual transit between downtown and the plaza.

While I have no problem with MAX, you have to be honest and understand that max is a service that few out of towners would choose to use. A fixed rail (streetcar or LRT) or a real BRT system with real BRT buses and real BRT infrastructure would work too. But the current system and layout is fail for most people visiting for KC or just totally ignored. Max (and probably even full blown BRT) will never create TOD (transit oriented development), so spending 200 million on rail vs 50 million on max may make more sense financially (although indirectly).

Remember, all I'm talking about is a very short (under four mile) line to connect downtown to the plaza. If KC had built this line for about 200 million ten years agao, there would probably be many times that in development along the route in midtown by now. Instead, the only change I saw in midtown the last time I was there was a freaking suburban car washing running lengthwise along Main! I couldn't believe it.

Last edited by kcmo; 10-29-2011 at 02:33 PM..
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:50 PM
 
3,008 posts, read 4,164,683 times
Reputation: 1524
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
Disclaimer. PLEASE READ:
This thread may contain "downer" material not suitable for fragile readers looking for glossed over happy news about how everything in kc is great. If your feelings are easily hurt when seeing any aspect of metropolitan Kansas City discussed in an honest and but sometimes negative vibe, I highly suggest you leave now. For those people, I recommend you turn off the computer and think about children flying kites in Shawnee Mission Park.
End Disclaimer.


KC convention business is falling way off - KansasCity.com (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/28/3235950/kc-convention-business-falling.html - broken link)

Kansas City, you are dropping the ball. After spending six billion on downtown including creating a modern convention center/ballroom connected to an entertainment district, you are about to drop to a nobody when it comes to conventions. Decades ago you used to compete with the biggest and largest convention cities except Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando etc. Then you let downtown go to hell and were no longer able to compete with even smaller places like Louisville and Indianapolis, now itís going to be OKC and Omaha and Des Moines that you wonít be able to compete with even though you have tried to get things back on track with a new downtown.

Why?

Hotels and Transit.

Why would you spend six billion on downtown and not do the final piece of the puzzle and bring in a much needed convention hotel which would be a drop in the bucket compared to what the city has spent already? KC needs 2000-3000 more hotel rooms downtown to even begin to compete with its peer cities, but the city should at the very least have at least ONE modern large hotel. KCís hotels are EXTREMELY dated and just tired so not only does KC not have enough, but the ones it does have are just not desirable and need major improvements. Crown Center closing most of upscale hotel restaurants and downgrading the Hyatt to a Sheraton is just a sign that KC is failing in the convention business. I posted a thread about KC closing its rooftop restaurants because I donít believe these are closing all over the country like Crown Center says.
What cities still have rooftop hotel restaurants?

Sure people want to explore restaurants outside of hotels, but a place like Skies is a situation where people from outside the hotel seek out a hotel. You just donít close places like that unless your convention industry is just in the tank or no longer exist and that is what is happening in KC.

Most cities still have upscale hotel restaurants that co-exist with the non hotel restaurants and probably will continue to have them into the future.

KC needs to invest in a new 1000-1400 room downtown convention hotel if for any reason at all to justify the other several million it has invested in downtown. A hotel like that will help the P&L District, Crossroads etc and actually put to use what is a great convention center.

The other thing is transit and I know KC is working very hard to try to get the streetcar done. But if KC really wants to step up and become a convention destination (small and larger meetings), that transit HAS TO GO TO THE PLAZA. Not only would you pull the two primary entertainment district bookends of the urban core together, but you would add thousands of hotel rooms to a possible convention package for larger conventions. The Plaza is the number one destination for out of towners and I find it mind boggling that kcmo canít figure out a way to build 3 and half miles of decent transit to connect them together.

Thatís my thoughts for the day!
When was KC a better convention city than Indy? 70's maybe?
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
Quote:
Originally Posted by msamhunter View Post
When was KC a better convention city than Indy? 70's maybe?
I would say it's been the 70's since KC was a 2nd tier convention city, maybe into the early 80's. KC held the rep national conv in 1976, the Hyatt opened in the early to mid 80's at the tail end of the boom of that era (sports complex, kemper arena, KCI, crown center etc), but all that investment outside of the downtown core quickly led to the city losing its pulse at the same time and the 80ís was also the beginning of the massive migration of kcmoís corporations to kansas and the plaza which also really hurt downtown, so from that point on, things just continued to get worse till the early 2000's when the city finally woke up and realized it had one of the worst downtown cores in the nation.

Dating way back to the early 1900's and into the 50's, KC was a huge top convention city. It took a while for the city to let its downtown deteriorate to the point that it was in 2000 (total embarrassment) and it's going to take a while to build it back up.

But with a terribly dated airport terminal and tired and dated hotels (the ones it has), KC is just not going to be able to compete with places like Indy that have put a lot more effort into attracting out of towners.

So you have to ask why spend any more money, why not just get out of the convention business all together? My answer to that is, KC has gone this far, why not finish the job and do the things it needs to do to offer a complete package. For a city to function at the highest level possible, it needs to operate on all cylinders. Tourists, attractions, residents, office workers, sports facilities, theater, conventions, and transportation/hospitality. Hospitality and transportation are the only areas that KC is lacking now, but those are pretty important.

KC has already spent hundreds of millions on upgrading its convention center and hundreds of millions on building an entertainment district that primarily caters to conventioneers and suburbanites/tourists. So why not spend another 100 million to build a 300 million dollar hotel and justify what it has already invested? One reason the city is subsidizing the P&L district by so much is the lack of convention traffic.

And why is the city fastracking only 2 miles of streetcar? All that means is that it will be another 15-25 years before the crazy thing ever reaches the plaza.

For a city the size of KC, I really donít see why it wouldnít be able to do these last two major projects. Build the streetcars to the plaza now and get at the very least a 1000 room hotel down, but hopefully another 1000 rooms in other hotels (like the proposed embassy suites at the fed reserve or a W at the P&L). We are not talking about billion dollar transit projects here.

And for the love of god, fast track doing something with the kci airport terminal, a project that would not require much, if any city tax money. (could be funded entirely via aviation fees and federal govt).

Or KC can jack around with 5000 seat horse barns that wonít really do much of anything other than remove a 20,000 seat arena that probably could be the top agricultural complex in the world (to compete with Houston and Vegas) if they wanted it to be.

If KC did these last few projects, Indy wouldnít be able to compete with KC, not the other way around.

Last edited by kcmo; 10-29-2011 at 05:54 PM..
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:53 PM
 
3,008 posts, read 4,164,683 times
Reputation: 1524
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
I would say it's been the 70's since KC was a 2nd tier convention city, maybe into the early 80's. KC held the rep national conv in 1976, the Hyatt opened in the early to mid 80's at the tail end of the boom of that era (sports complex, kemper arena, KCI, crown center etc), but all that investment outside of the downtown core quickly led to the city losing its pulse at the same time and the 80ís was also the beginning of the massive migration of kcmoís corporations to kansas and the plaza which also really hurt downtown, so from that point on, things just continued to get worse till the early 2000's when the city finally woke up and realized it had one of the worst downtown cores in the nation.

Dating way back to the early 1900's and into the 50's, KC was a huge top convention city. It took a while for the city to let its downtown deteriorate to the point that it was in 2000 (total embarrassment) and it's going to take a while to build it back up.

But with a terribly dated airport terminal and tired and dated hotels (the ones it has), KC is just not going to be able to compete with places like Indy that have put a lot more effort into attracting out of towners.

So you have to ask why spend any more money, why not just get out of the convention business all together? My answer to that is, KC has gone this far, why not finish the job and do the things it needs to do to offer a complete package. For a city to function at the highest level possible, it needs to operate on all cylinders. Tourists, attractions, residents, office workers, sports facilities, theater, conventions, and transportation/hospitality. Hospitality and transportation are the only areas that KC is lacking now, but those are pretty important.

KC has already spent hundreds of millions on upgrading its convention center and hundreds of millions on building an entertainment district that primarily caters to conventioneers and suburbanites/tourists. So why not spend another 100 million to build a 300 million dollar hotel and justify what it has already invested? One reason the city is subsidizing the P&L district by so much is the lack of convention traffic.

And why is the city fastracking only 2 miles of streetcar? All that means is that it will be another 15-25 years before the crazy thing ever reaches the plaza.

For a city the size of KC, I really donít see why it wouldnít be able to do these last two major projects. Build the streetcars to the plaza now and get at the very least a 1000 room hotel down, but hopefully another 1000 room in other hotels (like the proposed embassy suites at the fed reserve or a W at the P&L). We are not talking about billion dollar transit projects here.

And for the love of god, fast track doing something with the kci airport terminal, a project that would not require much, if any city tax money. (could be funded entirely via aviation fees and federal govt).

Or KC can jack around with 5000 seat horse barns that wonít really do much of anything other than remove a 20,000 seat arena that probably could be the top agricultural complex in the world (to compete with Houston and Vegas) if they wanted it to be.

If KC did these last few projects, Indy wouldnít be able to compete with KC, not the other way around.
Well, I won't worry about how KC was in the 50's, way before my time. Even if you built it, there's a couple of things KC is at a disadvantage on, one downtown configuration. For Indy, unless you are on the IUPUI campus, everything is in the wholesale district (Shopping, Lucas Oil, Indiana Convention Center, Conseco, restaurants, ice skating, movies, theatres, etc.) and it's within mere blocks of one another, definitely no problem in the warm months and in the winter, well skyway (thx to MSP for that idea). KC doesn't have that luxury.

2nd, you are assuming if KC did that, Indy wouldn't already have other things planned. Downtown has been nothing but continuous development since the 80's, Georgia St will be finished more than likely by the first in part for the SB but also creating yet more pedestrian friendly areas. Georgia St links the ICC with Conseco along with Circle Center (You all know it in KC as the Power and Light District ). Add the rest of the Wholesale District and your're still trying to catch up.

Third, KC convention track record and Indy convention track record (late 80's to current) are completely different. Indianapolis is a convention city, KC is not. I about laughed when I saw the number of conventions you held in that article on kansascity.com. I even took the time to go to the convention center web site and, honestly, you all have so far to go just looking at the convention calendar. I honestly thought KC would be doing better than that especially for a metro its size.

Fourth, KC needs to grow its book of business and Indy wants to keep growing (back to what it was until the big boy cities figured out conventions) but smaller cities are upping the ante quite a bit these days as they've figured out conventions are big business. For instance, after the 2012 FFA convention (55,000 pimply farmer teenage kids), Indy has to split the next 6 years of hosting with Louisville, 3 years straight each. That's a lot of cheddar (40 mil) walking out the door per year and FFA headquarters is actually headquartered in Indy. Lesser known destinations are putting together killer packages, luckily, Indy hosts a super bowl and big 10 championship in football so it can showcase itself and draw business in (if not screwed up royally) to offset that. KC doesn't have that option and really don't host those types of events that Indy does every year with the 500 and brickyard, Black Expo, Circle City Classic and NCAA every 4 years.

Fifth, Indy is a state capital so any statewide, midwest states meetings etc. held within Indiana borders will be in Indy.

Sixth, there are 5600 hotel rooms in downtown KC (wikipedia), slightly fewer than Indianapolis until the Marriott as there are now over 7200 hotel rooms in downtown Indy with more on the way, almost half of those are connected to the ICC. You lack hotel space, but still have enough to host sizable conventions, just lack that big one to goto the next level.

Last, and we've had this debate before, location, location, location! It's been stated on here many a times, KC is in the middle of nowhere while Indy isn't, it's in the middle of everything so while KC may be a great city, it's location tends to be problematic.
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
^ Can't disagree with most of that msamhunter. KC may be a lost cause when it comes to being a 2nd tier convention city again. But I hope they don't throw in the towel completely. That would be such a waste. Right now, I'm not sure KC is even competing with Omaha or Peoria.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:49 AM
 
30 posts, read 59,733 times
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Default From a convention planner

Having just talked with a convention planner, the impression she got was that the KC convention center was very well equipped and maintained, the major concern she brought up was the number of things to do and offer as a city for side trips. I did point out the new performing arts center and the nelson atkins museum fwiw.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredbobjoe View Post
Having just talked with a convention planner, the impression she got was that the KC convention center was very well equipped and maintained, the major concern she brought up was the number of things to do and offer as a city for side trips. I did point out the new performing arts center and the nelson atkins museum fwiw.
I think there is plenty to do in KC, just as much any most other mid sized 2nd or 3rd tier cities and KC has some of the most up to date and nicest convention facilities around.

It's the:

lack of quality hotels (KC has very dated and tired hotels)

lack of hotels within walking distance (KC has WAY less hotel rooms within walking distance than peer cities)

lack of "quality" transit to connect hotels to the convention center (because there are so few within walking distance)

lack of transit to connect conventioneers to other areas of the city and area attractions, (for example many cities have ballparks away from downtown areas but KC is about the only city where there is zero transit service to the ballpark from downtown or any other area like crown center or the plaza)

lack of non stop flights to most large cities. (most of KCI's traffic is southwest, an airline many people avoid and most of the rest go to hubs (dallas, chicago etc), so flying nonstop to KC is often a challenge for frequent flyers of the major airlines.

But the number one issue is the hotel situation, which has been an issue for 20 years. In that time KC has added at least 10,000 hotel rooms to the metro and yet has not been able to add hardly any downtown while most of kc's peer cities that already had 2-3 times as many hotel rooms downtown as KC does have built major, modern convention hotels.

Last edited by kcmo; 10-31-2011 at 11:22 AM..
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:34 PM
 
3,008 posts, read 4,164,683 times
Reputation: 1524
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
I think there is plenty to do in KC, just as much any most other mid sized 2nd or 3rd tier cities and KC has some of the most up to date and nicest convention facilities around.

It's the:

lack of quality hotels (KC has very dated and tired hotels)

lack of hotels within walking distance (KC has WAY less hotel rooms within walking distance than peer cities)

lack of "quality" transit to connect hotels to the convention center (because there are so few within walking distance)

lack of transit to connect conventioneers to other areas of the city and area attractions, (for example many cities have ballparks away from downtown areas but KC is about the only city where there is zero transit service to the ballpark from downtown or any other area like crown center or the plaza)

lack of non stop flights to most large cities. (most of KCI's traffic is southwest, an airline many people avoid and most of the rest go to hubs (dallas, chicago etc), so flying nonstop to KC is often a challenge for frequent flyers of the major airlines.

But the number one issue is the hotel situation, which has been an issue for 20 years. In that time KC has added at least 10,000 hotel rooms to the metro and yet has not been able to add hardly any downtown while most of kc's peer cities that already had 2-3 times as many hotel rooms downtown as KC does have built major, modern convention hotels.
Having older hotels can be a factor if they are not renovated every so often. The number of hotels KC has, I don't feel is that much of a factor. Yes you are missing that "signature" hotel, but once you are hosting events that cater to 15k and up; people are going to be spread out across the metro irregardless of that signature hotel. I would imagine KC has somewhere between 28-34k hotels metro wide. Indy has 33k hotels metro wide and more including areas that should be in the metro like West Lafayette, Muncie and Bloomington. Take Cincy, KC has more hotel rooms downtown than Cincy but cincy does more convention business. Cincy does have a 828 room signature hotel but KC overall has more rooms. The convention centers are roughly the same size but Cincy's is better positioned with it's hotels with relation to the convention center.
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