KC business owners excited for surge in traffic from new convention center hotel opening in 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The skyline of Kansas City is changing again as construction of the new Loews Convention Hotel began Monday.

The long-promised project at 16th Street and Wyandotte is designed to attract more convention business and major events to the city.

The $320-million, 800-room convention hotel is set to open in 2020. With it comes an expected surge in traffic, and that's something that has local businesses buzzing.

Anton's Restaurant is just a block away.

"I think it's good," owner Anton Kovar said. "The city needs it if it helps us get more and more and more conventions. We've got a big, beautiful convention center over there, and I'd like to see it used more often. We get a lot of business."

In the Power & Light District, Drunken Fish Sushi is looking forward to the foot traffic.

"I believe it's going to bring a lot," district manager Charles Schneider said. "I think a lot of the things we missed out recently was the Republican Party (convention). I think we were in the top three or five, and I think that could possibly help push us over on Democrat, Republican parties coming in -- to just bigger conventions, probably bigger companies and things like that, coming in and using the rooms."

It's the first new convention hotel in the metro in the last 30 years.

"I want to get Kansas City back on the map as the state capitol of the country, and you can't do that with just local advertisement," Kovar said. "I need the people in New York and Dallas and California saying, 'Yes, go there.'"

"I'm hoping to see the benefits from it once it's all built and see what it's going to bring to Kansas City," Schneider said.

According to Visit KC, the 2020 International Shriners Convention is already booked, and others will be announced soon.

It also appears Loews is sold on Missouri because a location in St. Louis is expected to open near Bush Stadium next year.