Downtown Excelsior Springs may soon have another major component underway, with a developer now having the Royal Hotel and the building immediately to its west under contract.
City Manager David Haugland said Sunflower Development, LLC, out of Kansas City has an eye on the building—and some plans that should please both newcomers and old-timers.
“For the Royal, what they’d like to do is put 18 two-bedroom apartments and 13 one-bedroom apartments in,” Haugland explained. “They’d also like to re-open the restaurant, and they’ll be looking for someone local to manage and run that. They say they would also like to get the rooftop open again for events.”
The Royal, once a hotel that was
converted into apartments before it closed several years ago, has been sitting empty and derelict for some time. Past owners have done some work on the building but ran out of money and/or energy before making any major improvements.
The structure is unusual due to the rooftop terrace, which has a central covered area surrounded by open rooftop. At one time, there were rooftop dances and other events there, and potentially the same thing could happen in the future.
In recent years it has been under scrutiny due to its proximity to the Oaks, another former hotel-turned-apartment-building that was completely rehabilitated a few years ago.
The building just to the Royal’s west, most recently owned by artist Richard Sassone, is also under contract with Sunflower Development, according to Haugland.
“Potentially they’re looking at putting businesses downstairs and some market-rate apartments upstairs,” Haugland explained.
The Royal Hotel project hinges on a grant for which Sunflower is applying.
“They’ll be applying for the grant in September, and they’re supposed to hear back in January whether they got approval. If they’re approved, they’ll start construction next spring.”
Haugland said the developer is trying for four percent affordable housing tax credits from the state of Missouri. The grant and tax credits would only apply to the Royal itself, and not to the Sassone buildng to the west.
During an annual presentation at Monday night’s meeting of the Excelsior Springs City Council, Downtown Excelsior Partnership Executive Director Keith Winge said the Royal would be a huge coup for revitalization efforts downtown. The block of South Street where the hotel is located has some longtime businesses operating on the eastern half of the north side of the street, but the south side of the street—along with the western half of the north side—has not so far been boosted by improvements happening elsewhere.
A redevelopment project at the Royal would completely change that streetscape, Winge said. He also indicated that there was interest in the bank building on the northeast corner of South Street and Thompson Avenue, but declined to provide any details.
By Eric Copeland • email@example.com