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City delays incentives for WaterWalk hotel

Wichita City Council members this morning delayed a letter of intent that would have paved the way for a 130-room, limited-service Marriott hotel at the slowly developing WaterWalk along the Arkansas River.

The three-week delay followed a two-hour discussion that questioned several aspects of the complicated incentive package. Roughly a dozen members of the public spoke, two-thirds questioning the proposal and seeking a delay.

The letter of intent says the city would plan to give Four-G LLC up to $2.5 million in the guest tax the hotel generates, let the developers add a 2-cent sales tax to all hotel sales, make up to $12 million in building materials exempt from sales taxes and let the hotel use public parking at WaterWalk Place.

Each incentive would be voted on independently in coming months. And all incentives hinge on a future study that will see whether the hotel would compete with the nearby city-owned Hyatt Regency Wichita, which is a full-service hotel.

If the proposed hotel is found to hurt the Hyatt, the deal will be called off, city officials have said.

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