- Kansas City Royals reveal renderings for two potential stadium sites.
- The project will cost $2 billion, with a mixed-use ballpark district around the stadium.
- Royals ownership and commercial investors will foot the bill for the ballpark district, but taxpayer dollars will be needed.
The Kansas City Royals showed off official renderings for two potential sites for a new downtown or near downtown stadium and entertainment district.
The Royals want to move from Kauffman Stadium, but the exact location has yet to be decided. The team has presented renderings from two final options while they iron out the many details of a complicated move. The two location options are downtown in Kansas City’s East Village and just over the river from downtown in North Kansas City.
The project carries a hefty price tag of $2 billion because the Royals want to not just have a baseball stadium but an entire mixed-use ballpark district around the stadium. The ballpark district is estimated to cost $1 billion, and the stadium itself is estimated to cost another $1 billion.
Royals ownership and commercial investors will foot the bill for the ballpark district, but ownership has only said they’d contribute to the new stadium without stating how much. The city, state, and county of whichever chosen site will likely have to subsidize the stadium. Royals ownership has said the new stadium project wouldn’t be possible without taxpayer dollars.
While many questions remain unanswered, the Royals did share images of what the new stadium and ballpark district would look like. Here’s a breakdown of the two sites.
Downtown KC East Village Site
This location is just east of city hall in downtown Kansas City. When the Royals owner John Sherman first mentioned an interest in a downtown baseball stadium, this was considered the favorite site due to ample public transit, easy highway access, and a general lack of development on the plot.
The renderings show a pedestrian bridge to bring people from Paseo safely over the highway to the stadium. The stadium seats 35,000 people with a maximum capacity of 38,000. Renderings also show a new hotel, a row of restaurants, and retail space.
Populous, the architecture firm that designed the renderings released by the Royals, says they were going for something that complimented what was already in the area with the downtown ballpark district.
North Kansas City
In a dark-horse bid, Clay County officials have aggressively bid to get the stadium in North Kansas City, which is a city of its own just across the Missouri River from downtown KC.
The North Kansas City stadium and ballpark district is much larger, covering 90 acres. The sprawling plan stretches from Armour Road to 16th Street and I-29 east to Erie Street. This expansive project emphasizes housing and features amenities such as a hotel, performance venue, retail establishments, and a North Kansas City Central Park with a small lake.
The Royals also gave out some economic data, showing the scale of the construction project and the projected economic impact on the area. The teams showed data that a new stadium would inject vitality into the region’s economy, with predictions of creating 20,000 jobs and generating $185 million in fresh economic output.
It is worth noting that economists often refute the long-term financial benefits of public funding for building a new stadium. The Kansas City Federal Reserve has said that “independent economic studies universally find financial benefits much smaller than claimed.” They say that using public funds to lure or retain a sports team doesn’t make sense if only measuring economic impact and only makes sense when factoring in quality of life considerations.
More to Come
The Royals left many questions still unanswered. The team says that they will choose a site for a new stadium by the end of September, but that will be just the beginning.
The team would need to land on a dollar figure they’d ask from the site’s city, state, and county. Then, a tax levy would need to be voted on in either Jackson or Clay County, and it would need to pass for the new stadium to be built. With the team losing on the diamond and a public not-to-keen on financing a stadium—a survey of Clay County residents said 70% oppose paying for a stadium—the headwinds may be stiff.
Once the team has finalized the site selection and has more financial particulars, a ballot measure to raise funds for a new stadium could be before voters as early as April or November of 2024.
The Royals want to debut the new stadium in time for Major League Baseball’s Opening Day in 2028. For more information, visit kcballparkdistrict.com.