HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Debra Teufel with the Hutchinson-Reno County Chamber of Commerce is pleased with the movement on getting more hotel rooms in the Salt City.
"I feel like I have been having meetings, maybe daily about the hotel room situation in Hutchinson and really some positive movement. Now, I've mentioned that there have been three hotel developers looking at this market, I would say two more seriously at this point. Both are intent on the model that works best for them to be profitable, but also the mix of other things that will make it all make sense."
Convention space, a restaurant, an entertainment venue, all are possibilities with one or both of the projects.
"The mayor has been involved in those talks," Teufel said. "The City Manager has been in almost every one of them. We're really blessed to have a great interim City Manager in Gary Meagher, because he's keeping the city side of this moving, as well. Just yesterday afternoon, the last meeting in my office was with one of those hotel developers. I think I started the day talking about a STAR Bond district. There are good things on the horizon for hotels. I feel it for Hutchinson. It's been painful. We need those 200 hotel rooms back."
Given the need for that many rooms, Teufel believes there is space and demand for more than one project.
"I think it's plausible that we have both happen," Teufel said. "Both of these developers are looking at about a 100-room hotel. We can defend the numbers that we need 200 rooms. I don't think they are, either one, scared off by the other. I think it's a both."
Even if all the I's are dotted and T's are crossed this summer, we're still talking about almost a two-year process.
"I am so glad that we have two committed hotel developers working with great brands, working on a model," Teufel said. "I know the city council wants to see this happen. Now, it's just all in the details of what is the right mix of whether it's a CID, what's the percentage with transient guest tax that would help with the convention center aspect. Working out all those details is where we're at right now."
The most ambitious of the developers told Teufel that the goal is to get open by the 2024 Kansas State Fair. The specific locations have not been finalized yet, either.