Airport hotel rejected, city cites developer track record



The owners of the DoubleTree by Hilton at Eisenhower Domestic Airport objected to another hotel there.

Photo file

After four years of successive negotiations, the Wichita city council rejected an airport hotel developer’s plan after opposition from two competitors.

City staff initially recommended going ahead, but changed this after further verification by hotelier Mitesh Patel, who built seven hotels in the Wichita area, several with help from the city.

“During this, we learned that there were additional entities that were not disclosed in the verification process,” Deputy Managing Director Scot Rigby said. “Since that time we have completed this verification process and through this verification process we have found additional companies that were not listed and additional privileges on those companies.”

Patel, who built the Hampton Inn at the airport and sold it to its current owner, Sudha Tokala, denied having had any issues that could affect the completion of another hotel.

He said the company Rigby was referring to closed in 2015 and he is challenging the privileges against it. He said he had offered to put the amount in question, $ 71,000, in receivership in case he lost.

Patel’s plan has been consistently opposed by the two hotels already on the airport property, the Hampton Inn and the DoubleTree by Hilton.

Working in partnership, they had delayed the plan since 2017 citing DoubleTree’s first right of refusal, which gives this hotel, owned by a Colorado-based investment group, the right to match or improve on any project. hotel development at the airport, according to city archives. .

Patel said the two existing hotels only opposed his plan because they didn’t want more competition.

Tokala is partnering with the city in one of its largest downtown businesses, converting the former Finney State office building into a medical school for osteopathic physicians.

Council member Brandon Johnson thanked city staff for the additional oversight of Patel’s businesses.

Council member Bryan Frye echoed this and added: “I would also like to let our development community know that, don’t take this as a sign that we are not open for business. We still need to develop our airport to its full capacity and not let that be an obstacle in the way. We are always open for business; we want to hear ideas and proposals. So. . . “

This story was originally published May 11, 2021 3:01 pm.

Senior reporter Dion Lefler has provided award-winning coverage of local government, politics and business in Wichita for 20 years. Dion is originally from Los Angeles, where he worked for the LA Daily News, the Pasadena Star-News and other newspapers. He is a father of twins, director of lay servant ministries for The United Methodist Church, and plays second base for the Old Cowtown baseball team.


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