Royals Pick spot for new ballpark



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KC Royals confirm location for new stadium Image: KC Royals and Populous

The Kansas City Royals have revealed the location of where they want to build their long-awaited new home.

MLB.com said the Royals presented their plans to build a new ballpark and surrounding entertainment district in the Crossroads District in downtown Kansas City.

The proposed new ballpark location is a 17.3-acre site bounded by Grand Boulevard to the west, Locust Street to the east, Truman Road to the north and 17th Street to the south.

It would incorporate the former Kansas City Star printing press building at 1601 McGee St. along downtown’s south loop, just a few blocks away from the Power & Light District.

Bizjournals.com said ideas to tear down or repurpose the glass printing press pavilion for a ballpark first were floated by the building’s owner, the Privitera family, in November 2020, after the Star announced its plans to leave.

KC Royals confirm location for new stadiumImage: KC Royals and Populous

The 34,000-capacity ballpark would be facing northeast, with home plate off Grand Boulevard. Off Locust Street will be corporate offices, a new hotel and residential and entertainment venues.

Royals CEO/Chairman John Sherman said, “Kansas City is a special place. We have outperformed many of our peers for our care for the heart of our city. Look at the residential growth downtown and the dynamism of the development and redevelopment of the Crossroads. The arts, the music, the food and drink.

“I believe in my gut that the timing is right for the Royals to become residents of the Crossroads and neighbors to Power & Light, 18th & Vine and Hospital Hill, helping to further connect the cultural center for our great city.

“We’re thrilled to announce our plans to contribute community dynamics, an incredible fan and stadium experience, and long-term growth to the Crossroads — a neighborhood ballpark home to the Royals that will stand strong for the next 50 years here in Jackson County.”

The two teams recently announced their commitment to remain in Jackson County, Kansas, where their stadiums are located, if voters approve an extension of the sales tax that pays for their upkeep.

KC Royals confirm location for new stadiumImage: KC Royals and Populous

The Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums, which opened in the early 1970s and are located at the Truman Sports Complex, have been tied to each other through lease agreements with the county for 50 years.

The Coliseum Summit US 2024 will be held at Arrowhead Stadium June 5+6. A tour of Kauffman Stadium is also planned.

A key factor in the Royals’ location decision was the South Loop Park Project, which would build a park over four blocks of Interstate 670 as it passes through downtown.

MLB.com further stated that the city is in the process of raising money for the $217 million project, and the current plan to cap the four blocks west of Grand Boulevard would be extended three blocks further to the east. How that extension is paid for is still to be determined.

The Royals landed on this site because it connects the team to the neighborhood, the ease of access and the abundance of parking available already.

According to Earl Santee, CEO and founder of the ballpark architectural design firm Populous, the new stadium would be within a 10-minute walk of 40,000 parking spaces, compared to the 26,000 spaces at the Truman Sports Complex now.

It was also the only site the Royals looked at that didn’t require major highway improvements.

Santee said, “This will be the epicenter of the sports and entertainment district for Kansas City. Along with T-Mobile [Center] right across 670, the relationship to all the cultural aspects of Kansas City is within a 10-minute walk. It’s very easy for you to do multiple things in a given day, between the Kauffman Arts Center, T-Mobile, Municipal Auditorium, Power & Light District, all the other functional events and entertainment and sports activities that happen.

“I would say this is the most unique site, one of the most dense sports and entertainment sites we have in America today.”

One of the next steps now is to acquire the land where they want the new ballpark to be.

It’s an area that currently houses local businesses and restaurants, and the Royals will be buying from the individual landowners and then conveying the land to Jackson County, which would own the stadium. Negotiations with those property owners are ongoing.

The Royals hope to have their new stadium ready by Opening Day 2028. Their current home, Kauffman Stadium, opened in 1973.

Jackson County voters will decide whether to fund the project in a special election on April 2. The question posed is whether the current 3/8-cent sales tax — which goes to the Truman Sports Complex, where the Royals and Kansas City Chiefs currently play — should be extended to the next 40 years (the length of the new lease).

That tax would send equal dollars to the Chiefs to renovate Arrowhead Stadium in its current location.

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