TOPEKA (KSNT) – City of Topeka Mayor Mike Padilla is apologizing following comments he made during a KSNT 27 News broadcast Tuesday.
The comments came immediately after city officials announced they’re looking to buy Hotel Topeka, which is connected to the Stormont Vail Event Center, formerly the Expocentre, at 17th Street and Topeka Boulevard.
“The largest convention center that we had … was the Ramada Inn and that’s going away so what do we do?” Padilla said. “Do we build brand new? Or do you take care of something that is in good shape, bring it up to today’s standards and remodel it and really put some effort into taking care of what we have.”
Padilla was referring to the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Topeka.
Padilla later issued a follow-up statement saying he “misspoke.” Gretchen Spiker, city spokeswoman, emailed the statement to 27 News:
“I offer my sincere apologies for causing confusion. As a community, we owe a great deal of appreciation for the Ramada and all Jim Parrish and the Parrish Hotel Corporation have done for Topeka. Parrish has plans to renovate the Ramada, which will only help our community further. We look forward to supporting Parrish’s efforts in the years to come.”Topeka Mayor Michael Padilla
Padilla was unavailable for an interview Wednesday, Spiker said.
Spiker also provided a statement she said was from Jim Parrish with the Parrish Hotel Corporation and the owner of the Ramada Hotel. 27 News confirmed the statement with Parrish’s wife, former Shawnee County Judge Nancy Parrish.
“Downtown Ramada is alive and well! This weekend, we are hosting an American Legion convention and the hotel will be full. The pandemic devastated hotels nationwide. Hundreds of hotels closed, never to re-open. The Ramada never closed. We are building our business back, emphasizing room sales to conventions which need our tremendous conference space for meetings and banquets. The Ramada also includes 86 apartments which are 90% full, and office space with long-term commercial tenants.
The city made a bold and positive decision to acquire the former Capital Plaza, now Hotel Topeka. As a hotel owner for decades, I support this decision fully. The city will provide resources required for a first-class operation critical to the success of the event center. This helps all hotels by drawing people to Topeka. If the Hotel Topeka were sold at auction as planned, its future and the quality of operation would remain unknown.”Jim Parrish, Parrish Hotel Corporation
Hotel Topeka is located in Central Topeka at 1717 SW Topeka Blvd. It has an appraised value of $3 million for 2023, a drop from $7.2 million in 2022, according to the Shawnee County Appraiser’s website.
The Ramada is located at 420 SE 6th St. and has an appraised value of $4 million.