Developer plans hotel on site of Westport’s notorious XO Club

The XO Club at 39th and Central, empty and covered with graffiti, could be torn down to make way for a new Mariott extended stay hotel.

The XO Club at 40th and Central, empty and covered with graffiti, could be torn down to make way for a new Mariott extended stay hotel.

Westport neighbors have been meeting with a developer who hopes to make improvements to a site that has a long history of neighborhood complaints – the XO Club at 40th and Central.

The club was the subject of numerous complaints about noise levels, trash and security issues, and a lawsuit filed in 2000.

Last Saturday at the Heart of Westport Neighborhood Association meeting, Kabir Bhakta, president of KB Construction in Wichita, shared the latest details of his plans to tear down the club. He hopes to replace it with a four-story Town Place Suites by Marriott extended stay hotel. If all goes as planned, he said, ground breaking could take place in late fall or winter and the hotel could be open 12-14 months later.

KB Construction also has built a Hampton Inn in McPherson, Kansas and a Holiday Inn Express in Perryton, Texas.

Bhakta told the group his company is working to clean up the site and working with architects and engineers on details.

“We don’t have any rendering yet, but on the exterior, our goal is to make sure it ties into the historic neighborhood,” he said.

Neighbors shared concerns about potential stormwater problems caused by the aged sewer system, the desire for historical accuracy and “a lobby that feels like Westport,” and ongoing parking problems in the neighborhood.

But neighbors agreed, in general, they would be glad to see the last of the XO Club.


  1. Brad says:

    I am so happy to hear this site will become something of merit for the community, and it sounds as if Bhaka understands something that I wish MAC properties would absorb, the desire for the building to fit into the historical context of the neighborhood. I have seen the full rendering of the building that is currently under construction by MAC on the lot just north of the Burger King on Main St and Armour. This is the reason we the neighborhoods are making our voices heard, because MAC is doing nothing more there than 1960’s Urban Renewal 2.0. And the discordant construction designs from that era drug this area into visual ghetto from once what had been beauty. I am so happy that there is a company and an entity that understands the needs of the community as well as the company’s bottom line profit margin.

  2. Maureen says:

    This is a response to Brad’s comment on June 15. You apparently are unaware of MAC Properties and their rehabilitation of the iconic old apartment/hotels on E. Armour. I live in the Brownhardt, and MAC rescued it to a beautiful condition. Perhaps the putting a beautiful expensive to build apt next to the “lovely” Burger King would be your wish? At a great expense, they could have knocked down the existing building and cleared it, and then built a luxury apt. that fit the historical nature of the area? Unrealistic. You apparently are not aware of the lengths that MAC has done to avoid total destruction of existing buildings to make them into apartments. The construction they are doing is working with what is already there rather than the total demolishment, Still, I can only imagine what you think would fit with Burger King style. Would you want to live next to it i a fabulous-new-to-look-old building? As for the historic context of Westport, that is a mixed bag given how all the buildings look currently. I would call the style a mish-mash, but perhaps I misunderstand the locale.

  3. Brad says:

    Response to Maureen, I am more than aware of the work that Peter Cassel and MAC have done along Armour as I have met personally with the man. I agree with your comment on the Burger King, but I am also aware of the half-timber style building just south of this location that IS original to Main street and is also built on the land in conformance with good urbanism principles; built up to the sidewalk with windows to peer within, unlike the Burger King which with it’s huge parking lot just south of it on the intersection corner, is not. Burger King will be the structure living on borrowed time; not the former. The half timber style building is very reminiscent of the commercial buildings in Brookside, and this albatross that MAC will be building is utterly discordant with any of the surrounding architecture. As for being realistic? This is Main street, which we all know will have trolley track coming along the corridor within a few years, that is baked in the cake, so this corridor has extreme viability to place luxury apartments along, but if not now, mothball their project for a couple more years. Bob Fry is building lovely high end apartments done in transitional style along the Gilham corridor less than a half mile away, clearly new buildings, but play well with the century old structures around them; window porportions, building materials, height conformity. This type of style would look great next to all the historic fabric along Main, and I would contend that the Gilham corridor is much closer to residential blight just east of it than Main currently is… I get around this town alot.
    MAC was going to level an entire block of historic structures along West Armour because, until the city reached into it’s coffers to give them 800 thousand to assist; MAC claimed unviability of the structures. Many smaller apartment buildings have been saved by mom and pops like myself, as I own one just down the block from these, and MAC clearly had no business buying buildings it hadn’t secured credit for restoration before buying. I DID WITH MINE. Many people showed interest in those buildings for restoration when MAC said they didn’t have the money. They wouldn’t let the properties go, even when individuals stepped up that showed interest and HAD the financing to bring them back. MAC wanted to level the West Armour buildings and put in another hideous modern structure that had no cohesion to the surrounding neighborhood. I met with Hufft Architects( who was hired by MAC for design of the new buildings) to adjust the design to something more “palatable” when our neighborhood pitched a fit. This isn’t about budget; its about their personal taste. They don’t want to build historic looking buildings, as I have heard Peter Cassel say himself in neighborhood meetings:” We don’t want to create artificial history.” I’d say he needs a history lesson, Notre Dame in Paris was rebuilt in the 18th century to look like 12 century Gothic. My colonnaded building was built a century ago, it’s called GREEK REVIVAL. Nothing artificial about it. Bob Fry has done this all throughout Union Hill and that one-time slum is now quite beautiful and pricey because he thought about reintegration of the entire neighborhood. There are studies that show historic architectural cohesion does influence property values to the plus side. The Centropolis, which is a brand new building along Grand in the Rivermarket, is another example of great transitional architecture. Built right next to the “Helping Hand Institute”, it blends beautifully with its surrounding neighborhood: look it up on line or drive down there. The “Eldorado” as MAC is apparently calling their new “creation”, is a matter of their personal taste and nothing more.

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