You don’t say

“No, I did not rob the cradle.”

– Hotelier Jim Korroch explaining that his young “date” was his teenage daughter as he gave the keynote speech Wednesday for the Chamber’s Small Business Awards

Courtyard by Marriott renovates in Old Town

WICHITA — What’s the fun in traveling only to be stuck in a hotel room?

That’s what Marriott International thinks, and that’s why the Courtyard by Marriott at 820 E. Second St. in Old Town has had a major renovation of its lobby and other public areas.

Jim Korroch, developer of the 128-room hotel that opened in 2006, says the buzz word for the renovation was to “activate” the lobby.

He says the idea was “to really make it an area where guests feel like they can get out of their rooms and … socialize with other guests.”

There’s a new bistro called Table 820. It’s mainly for guests, although Korroch says, “Anybody is welcome to use it.”

It’s in the same area as a bar and a Starbucks service station.

Without these kinds of amenities, Korroch says, “Frankly, it causes us to hang out more in our rooms.”

The hotel’s traditional front desk has been replaced with welcome pedestals of sorts, which are more private and personal, according to the hotel.

There’s free WiFi, computer terminals, a printer and the thing that often proves the most elusive for business and other travelers: plenty of electrical outlets.

Read More »

WaterWalk hotel developers request city assistance

WICHITA — As Have You Heard? reported a month ago, hotelier Jim Korroch is trying to bring a limited-service Marriott flag hotel to WaterWalk.

Korroch isn’t talking, but he and WaterWalk developers have been working with the city and are formally requesting help from the Wichita City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.

In addition to asking for up to $12 million in industrial revenue bonds, they’re also asking for a new kind of financial assistance.

“They’re asking the city to create a community improvement district,” says Allen Bell, the city’s urban development director.

Last year, the Kansas Legislature passed a law to allow the creation of the districts, which are redevelopment tools that provide increased sales tax for businesses.

The districts allow up to 2 percent additional tax that the state would send back to the city.

“We would then use that money to either pay it back to the developer to reimburse the developer for costs they put into the project or use it to pay off city bonds,” Bell says.

Korroch and WaterWalk are requesting the full 2 percent and would use it for project costs — not for city bonds.

“That’s called the pay-as-you-go financing,” Bell says.

Read More »

SpringHill Suites by Marriott set to open

The first of three new east-side hotels will open later this month.

Jim Korroch’s SpringHill Suites by Marriott will open April 17 next to his Residence Inn by Marriott at the Plazzio development at 13th and Greenwich.

In addition to more hotels in the area, Korroch says, “Certainly, there’s been a downturn in demand as well.”

He’s not worried, though.

“I just believe that over time it’s going to be a really good investment,” he says.

The project has gone especially smoothly, too.

Read More »