Grazing the sky and generating a buzz in the city, Loews Kansas City Hotel is the first major hotel built in downtown Kansas City since 1985. The 23-story, 800-room convention hotel is part of a multi-year effort to revitalize the area and is expected to draw conventions and tourists alike to experience Kansas City. With hotel events and conventions already on the schedule prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel had to achieve substantial completion by March 16th—and needed to be ready for occupancy as well. “There was a big push to have the hotel ready for visitors by mid-March,” said Project Executive Adam Cox. “This compressed the occupancy schedule by two to three months, so when the virus hit in early March, we were down to relatively minimal punchlist items and Owner FF&E.”
Though past the point of having significant labor on site—which would have required a new safety plan and screenings—the team faced a challenge of a different kind. “The client was using their Owner’s Representative based in Ohio for punchlist and FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) management, and when non-essential travel was grounded, it impacted completion,” said Cox.
With halted deliveries and cancelled travel, the JE Dunn team found creative ways to keep final inspections as well as the client’s punchlist moving, relying on technology to work remotely. “Fortunately, we completed initial inspections prior to the shutdown,” said Cox. “However, a few items still required re-inspection, so we worked closely with the city and used video and photos of the corrected items to get final sign off.” To complete the client’s FF&E, the team not only helped to manage the third-party furniture installation, but they also relied on virtual collaboration and communication to tackle the last items on the punchlist. “The most atypical thing we did was probably the landscape punchlist. None of the architecture or Owner’s rep team could travel, so it was done via a Teams meeting with an iPhone app,” said Cox.
As many companies and employees were pushed to remote work as a result of COVID-19, construction and the Loews hotel were no exception. Committed to the client and partnerships, the team employed creative solutions to complete the stunning project, finally opening its doors following COVID-19 shutdowns on June 1.