With the recent success of the KC Streetcar — and its planned expansion — and the forthcoming terminal at Kansas City International Airport, it’s obvious this Midwestern meetings destination’s transportation infrastructure is growing rapidly.
When attending an event in Kansas City, delegates can now explore via a modern electric trolley (with AC and Wi-Fi) that runs 2.2 miles through the heart of downtown. The streetcar, which is free to use, is just one of many factors contributing to the city’s recent revitalization.
“It’s been a tremendous catalytic thing,” Kansas City Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James told the New York Times of the KC Streetcar, which made its first run in May 2016. “It’s created much more flow — more profits for businesses downtown, more foot traffic.”
The KC Streetcar will soon make it even easier for attendees to navigate the city, with an expansion that is to be open for commuters in 2023. Officials recently announced the 3.5-mile extension, running along Main Street, that will bring the trolley’s route to 5.7 miles, from the River Market to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. They’ve been asking the community for input on where the new stops should be located along the route.
In addition to making it easier to get around downtown, Kansas City is making itself more accessible to delegates from around the world, with a new $1.9 billion single terminal at Kansas City International Airport, set to be complete by 2022. The one-million-square-foot terminal will include 39 gates, a parking garage, and an area dubbed the “town hall,” featuring retail, dining, and a performance space. There will also be a 4,500-square-foot business lounge for frequent flyers.
“We want it to be a light, open, airy space, and to feel inviting,” said Jordan Pierce, an architect with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, according to the Kansas City Business Journal. “We also want it to feel like it’s a piece of Kansas City.”
While the city’s transportation options are expanding, so are its hotel offerings. In March, a new convention hotel broke ground. Once completed in 2020, the 800-room Loews Kansas City Hotel will offer 60,000 square feet of meeting and event space directly connected to the 800,000-square-foot Kansas City Convention Center via bridge. In addition, the property will be within walking distance of local landmarks, like the Kansas City Power & Light District, Sprint Center, and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
“When paired with forthcoming upgrades, such as our new single-terminal airport, a new Loews Kansas City Hotel, and the expansion of our streetcar line, it’s clear Kansas City is a premier convention destination,” Cori Day, vice president of sales and services at Visit KC, tells Convene.