Boutique hotel plans to join Bowllagio

Nylo Hotels, an Atlanta, Ga.-based boutique hotel builder, has announced plans to build a hotel in Jay Maxwell's planned mixed-use commercial development at Kellogg and Maize.

The 125-bed hotel, to be formally named when Maxwell and his Maize 54 LLC select a name for the 33-acre development, will be tailored to corporate clients and entertainment consumers, said Chris Jones, vice president of the 6-year-old hotel firm.

"When we founded the company, this is the type of opportunity we had in mind," Jones said. "We're going in as part of a mixed-use lifestyle entertainment project that offers folks the ability not just to stay in the hotel, but enjoy some of the wider things in these kinds of markets."

Jones said the hotel will feature rooms that resemble loft apartments. It joins Maxwell's Bowllagio, a mixed-use entertainment facility, as commitments pending state approval of a $13 million STAR bond issue.

If the Kansas Department of Commerce signs off on the STAR bonds, which target entertainment complexes and tourism development, the hotel should open in summer 2011, Jones said. No local tax incentives are included in the project proposal.

Jones said room rates should be 10 to 15 percent above conventional Wichita hotels.

"Wichita is a bustling business market with lots of people coming in and out, so we want to offer the local and the visitor something extra," Jones said.

"So many hotels just plop themselves on the side of the highway and your only experience of the city is literally the taxi ride there and back to the airport."

The hotel will feature a restaurant and bar that is a big revenue producer in other cities, Jones said.

"It's a unique product," he said, "a spacious area, somewhat stripped down in terms of aesthetics.

"We add to that fabulous beds, amazing showers and unique architectural decor. What we've done as a business is adjust where the money is spent to create luxury in some areas folded into a very basic, bold architecture with exposed concrete, ductwork and bricks."

Maxwell said the hotel is a perfect fit for the development's theme: unique destination businesses targeting corporate sales.

"What convinced me is the business model they have that makes Nylo very unique," he said. "It's one thing to try to capture and bring a little bit of New York to Wichita, and quite another to have a business model that's this efficient through the cost of construction and operations."

The hotel will focus on business travelers, Jones said.

"We're for folks going in to visit the aircraft industry, for meetings, for someone 25 to 55 who's looking for something different," he said.

"We're about functionality. There's no nickel-and-diming. We don't charge for water or Internet connections. We're about customer service and the ability to have a good shower and a good night's sleep."

Maxwell's STAR bond proposal goes before the Wichita City Council on Tuesday for endorsement, then to the KDOC for action.

Nylo loft boutique hotels are open in Texas and Rhode Island, and there are plans to build in Overland Park and 44 other locations, Jones said.

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