Extended-stay pioneer plans $20M hotel-apartment hybrid in OP

Author: Rob Roberts

A new hybrid hotel-apartment concept is checking into the Kansas City area.

An affiliate of Wichita-based WaterWalk Hotel Apartments is scheduled to request Overland Park City Council approval of a special-use permit on Jan. 23 to allow construction of a $20 million, 153-unit hotel/apartment project at the southwest corner of 112th and Glenwood streets.

Sherrill Carper, director of marketing for WaterWalk Hotel Apartments, said plans call for construction to start as early as June on two four-story buildings, to be completed within a year of groundbreaking. One will have 78 furnished hotel rooms, and another will house 75 semi-furnished corporate apartments.

The hotel rooms, which like the apartments will range in size from one to three bedrooms, will offer single-night to extended-stay visitors the ample space of apartment living with the services and amenities of an upscale hotel.

The WaterWalk Hotel Apartments concept is the fifth national brand launched by Jack DeBoer, who is recognized as a pioneer of extended-stay and all-suite hotel concepts.

DeBoer, CEO of WaterWalk Hotel Apartments, designed and built the first Residence Inn, an all-suite hotel, in downtown Wichita in 1975, then built or franchised 103 more properties before selling The Residence Inn Co. to Marriott Corp. in 1987.

In 1988, he co-founded Summerfield Hotel Corp., a second-generation upscale all-suite hotel chain, which was sold to Hyatt. In 1995, he founded the Candlewood Hotel Co. After developing 130 Candlewood Suites extended-stay hotels, DeBoer sold that chain to InterContinental Hotels Group in 2003. In June 2002, DeBoer used his extended-stay hotel model to create Value Place, which continues to expand with more than 195 locations.

WaterWalk Hotel Apartments, which represents an evolution of DeBoer’s vision for extended-stay lodging, opened its first location in 2014 in Wichita and is constructing new projects in Denver and San Antonio, with others proceeding through the development pipeline.

During the Dec. 12 Overland Park Planning Commission meeting, Bill Chaffee, WaterWalk’s vice president of real estate and development, said the Overland Park location is expected to be firm’s eighth. The goal is to open 40 nationwide, he said.

So far, Chaffee said, the concept is proving successful. The Wichita facility boasts 90 percent occupancy for both the apartment units and hotel rooms.

“WaterWalk offers a great alternative for short- to long-term corporate travelers looking for a place to stay for business travel for projects, training and relocation,” David Redfern, president of WaterWalk Hotel Apartments, said in a written statement.

No rate information has been provided for the new Overland Park location. But during a 2015 interview with the Triangle Business Journal, an affiliated publication, Redfern provided pricing information for a WaterWalk project planned for Cary, N.C.

In Cary, he said, a typical semi-furnished, one-bedroom apartment unit would rent for $1,134 a month with six-month lease. The rent includes costs for all utilities, trash pickup and other traditional apartment community services.

Each WaterWalk unit is equipped with a full-size washer and dryer, and WaterWalk doesn’t charge a security deposit or application fee.

Or, Redfern said, a guest can choose the hotel-service model that will cost about $150 a night for a short-term stay in a one-bedroom, fully furnished unit with a washer and dryer. On a monthly basis, the same unit would rent for $3,527 — or $117.56 a night. Either way, he said, the rent would cover all the services of an extended-stay hotel, including breakfast and daily housekeeping services.

Carper said WaterWalk hotel amenities also include 24/7 staff and concierge service; DirecTV with 300 channels, including premium channels and NFL Sunday ticket; an on-site fitness center; high-speed internet; outdoor living spaces with gas grills and seating; controlled-access buildings; and much more.

“Additional sites within the Kansas City marketplace are certainly likely in the future,” Carper said. “However, WaterWalk does not currently have other sites under consideration at this time.”

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