Progress is underway on a new hotel at Midland and Renner in Shawnee, but some concerns were raised by the city and residents on site upkeep on the project.
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott is a new hotel nearing completion at 16550 Midland Drive. Before the city council considered issuing a second round of industrial revenue bonds to developer Shree Ram Jay Ram Property LP for the project, Councilmember Lindsey Constance expressed concerns that the construction site is not being maintained.
Constance said she recently toured the project and saw progress, but she’s still receiving multiple complaints from residents about trash from construction workers, such as plastic bottles and trash littering the area.
“So much so that the daycare that is directly to the east of it, the students talk about the fact that there are ghosts in the trees, and those ghosts are the big pieces of plastic that have flown from the construction site,” Constance said.
She added her own concerns that the developer wasn’t being responsive to her and residents’ complaints about trash littering the site.
“It’s got to be cleaned up. When we have rains like we did last weekend, that trash ends up in my neighborhood, it ends up in people’s backyards, and we just had volunteers here who work hard cleaning up our city,” she said. “I’m just really frustrated because it’s something that I’ve brought forth in speaking with the hotel and I haven’t seen much improvement, so I want to know how we’re going to solve that.”
Dilip Patel with Shree Ram Jay Ram Property, said he’s working with the subcontractors to work on cleanup of the site in the next few days.
“It’s been pouring rain, mud, that’s the reason we did little, but we’ve been working nonstop,” Patel said. “I’ll make sure I’ll put somebody right away to pick up all of that tomorrow.”
Don Lysaught, a Shawnee resident who lives near the hotel project, echoed some of Constance’s concerns, especially related to site cleanup and maintenance. He was also concerned about project delays, and what he sees as a lack of retail and restaurant components, part of the original agreement.
“I think if you do this, and I’m quite sure you’re going to do this, it needs to be contingent upon the rest of the project being completed, and there’s not a word about that in the report that you all received,” Lysaught told the council. “I think someone really needs to keep an eye on this thing.”
Patel noted that he’s been spending money on site improvement first before focusing on the retail and restaurant components.
“They’re not considering, I did as the owner improve those areas with dollars that I spent out of my pocket,” he said. “As far as retail goes, it’s not like we are saying we’re not going to do it. It’s not like the lot’s going to sit forever; it’s a premier lot.
“It’s going to get cleaned out, and it’s going to stay cleaned, because the hotel has to be run, and a hotel has a lot more value than the retail strip center or keeping a dirty lot.”
The developer must have a certificate of occupancy for the hotel by Aug. 30 for the bond agreement with the city to remain in effect.
The city council 7-0 to approve a second issuance of industrial revenue bonds of up to $6 million for the hotel project. Councilmember Mickey Sandifer was absent.
The council previously approved issuance of industrial revenue bonds in the same amount in June 2018 for the project, bringing the total value of bond issuance to $12 million. The second round of bonds are intended to finance the acquisition, construction, furnishing and equipping of the 40,000 square foot hotel.