Cover story: Building Up Downtown
||Subcontractors & Partner
|General Contractor: JE Dunn
|Citadel Electric Group Inc
Dayco Painting Co
Adam Cox, President Executive
|Architect: Cooper Carry Inc.
Interior Designer: Looney &
|Flynn Midwest LP
|Jason Parker, Senior Project
|660,000 square feet
Primary Engineer: TLC
|PCI (Performance Contracting
|Will Thielen, Senior Project
480-spot parking garage
Structural Engineer: WSP and
|Regents Flooring (a Division of
|Kyler Cowsert, Project
|60,000 square feet feet of meeting
|KH Engineering Group
|U.S. Engineering Construction
|Kevin Owsley, Project
Brett Farquhar, Project
Alec Arand, Project Engineer
Jamison Clark, M|E Engineer
Pat Lichte, General
Rick Hoover, Senior
After years of research and planning, the Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel completed construction in March 2020 and
opened to the public in June. It is the first new full-service convention hotel to open in downtown since 1985. The 800-room hotel is
in the heart of downtown and connects to the existing convention halls with a pedestrian walkway, improving the viability of Kansas
City as a potential convention site to organizations across the country.
When the project broke ground in January 2018, the JE Dunn team was working toward an aggressive finish date—in time for the
2020 Big 12 men’s college basketball tournament and ready for the already-booked, first major convention for the new hotel: the
national Shriners convention.
“We focused a lot of effort on doing work early on that would help streamline the process down the road,” Adam Cox, project
executive at JE Dunn, said. “One of the most significant schedule impacts was the development of room mock-ups in nearby Bartle
Hall. These mock-ups gave the owner the opportunity to make decisions and changes to finishes early on, which was a big reason
we kept on schedule as the project progressed.”
The mock-ups also gave the construction team the chance to test and plan for sequencing to fine-tune their own schedule.
“Building the mock-ups gave us a chance to create a better plan on how to approach the project on a large scale,” Pat Lichte,
general superintendent at JE Dunn, said. “We were able to identify solutions early and work out any kinks before detailing final
systems. It had a significant impact on the success of this project.”
“One of the most significant schedule impacts was the development of room mock-ups
in nearby Bartle Hall. These mock-ups gave the owner the opportunity to make decisions and changes to finishes early on, which was a big reason we kept on schedule as the project progressed.”
| Above: Loews Hotel's spacious bar lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the city.
Photo by Alistair Tutton.
Staying on track
For such a complex project with lots of moving parts and pieces, the JE Dunn team simplified their construction approach into 11
modules. With an aggressive end date and labor concerns, the entire construction team had to buy into the plan and commit to
adhering to deadlines. This included right-sizing teams to maintain a steady pace and creating consistent hand-off metrics. As the
groups moved up the building, finishing a floor at a time, they created and maintained a steady rhythm of work.
Early design-assist coordination also helped remove redundancies and kept the entire construction team on the same page. “With
key players at the table early in the preconstruction phase, we were able to help the owner limit risks,” Cox said. “Not only that,
but with so many big projects going on across the Kansas City metro, we were able to secure partnerships early on to help avoid
potential labor force pitfalls further into the project.”
“I had never used FaceTime in my life. Suddenly we were doing inspections with city officials through video conferencing.”
|| Above: The Loews Hotel uses its space to display artwork to create a modern ambiance
throughout the building.
Photo by Alistair Tutton.
As the March 2020 deadline approached, the team found themselves
facing an unexpected challenge: a pandemic. With many of the core
team, as well as the owner, based outside Kansas City, in-person
meetings halted and everything moved digital.
“I had never used FaceTime in my life,” Lichte said. “Suddenly we
were doing inspections with city officials through video conferencing.”
However, close communication and frequent meetings throughout the
project made the digital transition easier. While the original schedule
drivers, the Big 12 tournament and the national Shriners convention,
were canceled due to the pandemic, the hotel reached substantial
completion on time and opened to guests on June 1.
Shaping the skyline
Kansas City has spent the last two decades making significant
investments in its infrastructure, and the Loews Hotel and Convention
Center is a testament to that.
Both Lichte and Cox are proud to be a part of this project and its impact on the city.
“This is my hometown, and to be given the chance to have a hand in such an impactful project is incredibly fulfilling for me,” Cox