City Commission moves forward with downtown Airbnb grant


Tiger Media Network

Jarrod Kuckelman Management Analyst presented at Thursday’s Hays City Commission meeting about an application request for a Commercial Development Block Grant (CDBG).

The CDBG program is funded by the federal government and is administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce for cities with a population of less than 50,000. 

Chestnut Suites, LLC, is seeking to apply for CDBG through the Commercial Rehabilitation program. A maximum of $300,000 can be requested with a minimum of 25 percent match of total project costs by the developer. The City must submit the application on behalf of the developer to apply.

“While Commercial Rehab Grants go towards private projects, cities and counties are still required to be the official applicant for the grant,” Kuckelman said. 

For this particular project, Adam Pray with Platinum Group is looking to renovate the building at 1108 North Main. The building was formerly the Hays State Bank building and Sunflower Electric, but has been vacant since the 80s. 

1108 Main Street

The building would be renovated into a “luxury short-term rental” Airbnb called Chestnut Suites. The location would feature 24-26 rentable rooms, designed similarly to traditional hotel rooms. Three units would be reserved for long-term stays of 30 days or longer.

“There are many guidelines for the application and post-award process,” Kuckelman. 

A public hearing is required as well as two resolutions from the commission. One resolution certifies legal authority and another declares the building “blighted”. An Interlocal Agreement and Personal Guarantee must be authorized to ensure the developer complies with the CDBG guidelines. 

No City costs are anticipated with this project as the developer will cover all costs besides the grant. If the grant is awarded, the City will simply receive the money first and be responsible for distributing those funds to the developer. 

Mayor Shaun Musil opened the public hearing. No members of the public spoke. Vice Mayor Sandy Jacobs motioned to close the public hearing and passed 5-0.

The Interlocal Agreement and two other resolutions passed 5-0. 

“I just want to say, to Adam Pray, ‘thank you’,” Musil said. “You kind of revitalized a whole block of downtown and I think this will do even more for downtown.”

Jacobs echoed that sentiment. 

“We are very impressed with everything you’re doing downtown and the investment you’re making in our community,” Jacobs said. 

Other action items from the meeting included:

  • Approval of Resolution 2024-009 setting a public hearing date on the creation of a Community Improvement District
  • Approval of Resolution 2024-010 evidencing an intent to issue Industrial Revenue Bonds
  • Approval of the City Attorney contract

The next City Commission meeting will be at 4:00 p.m. on June 6 at City Hall.