Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals confirmed Tuesday that they plan to build a new baseball stadium.
Royals Chairman and CEO John Sherman wrote a letter to Kansas City and fans saying the team is building a new ballpark and looking at options in downtown Kansas City or nearby.
Sherman said it has become difficult to maintain Kauffman Stadium, which opened in 1973. When the team’s lease with Jackson County expires in 2030, the stadium will be more than 60 years old.
“The renovations required at The K to meet our goals would cost as much as or more than the price tag to develop a new ballpark,” Sherman wrote. “A new home would be a much better investment, both for the local taxpayer who already supports our facility, and for the Kansas City community.”
A year ago, Sherman and the Royals said they were planning to check out a downtown baseball stadium. Since then, there has been speculation about where the team would land, and Royals fans have weighed in on both sides.
Sherman said Tuesday that the team is now “looking into several leading locations, both in downtown Kansas City and nearby.”
The team has released new renderings of what they envision the new stadium could look like one day. The Royals too different criteria released about what they’re looking for in a new stadium district.
Sherman said the team has two guiding principles in stadium planning:
“First of all, we wouldn’t be asking the residents of Jackson County to contribute more tax money than you already do. Second, we want to take these steps together, with your input and involvement, as a community.”
The Royals CEO said the move to a new ballpark “will be contingent on continuing our public-private partnership and investments with multiple local jurisdictions and the state of Missouri.”
Sherman said building a new stadium would be the largest public-private development project in Kansas City history, estimated at $2 billion. The Royals expect the construction of the ballpark to create 20,000 jobs, $1.4 billion in labor income and $2.8 billion in total economic output.
In addition, the team expects the new ballpark’s first year to generate $185 million more in regional economic output than Kauffman Stadium does today. Sherman said the margin could create more than 600 new jobs and the spending will bring in more than $60 million in tax revenue in the first decade.
The Royals also project that the new ballpark could spur new development downtown, creating thousands of new jobs and millions of economic output.
Sherman said the Royals will conduct a listening tour in the coming months and begin a discussion with local, state and federal officials about funding.
The Royals CEO said transparency will be a “signpost” in the planning process.
“From the 1985 and 2015 Royals World Series Championship teams to the Monarchs and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and thanks to your support and dedication over the decades, our city has a rich baseball history,” Sherman wrote. “If this proposal goes through, we see this development as another storied chapter for Kansas City.”
Here is Sherman’s letter, reading in part:
To our dedicated Royals fans and the Kansas City community:
I will contact you on two fronts. First of all I want to thank you for your support over the past season. Although we were not satisfied with our results on the field, the future of our baseball club under the leadership of JJ Picollo and new manager Matt Quatro looks promising. Our goal is to get back in shape and fight for a championship on behalf of Kansas City’s big fans.
Second, as we look to the future, I want to share with you our perspective on Kauffman Stadium, our cherished home for the last half century. We have had many exciting moments over the years at the Truman Sports Complex. In the spirit of Ewing Kauffman, I look forward to seeing Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Royals thrive in this region for decades to come.
Following Mr. K’s original vision for the franchise, we also want to ensure that we have a world-class ballpark that remains competitive with our peers across the country and fully serves our community. Kansas City is evolving into a leading sports destination – as evidenced by the NFL Draft, the KC Current’s new stadium, the World Cup – and much more to come. These developments, along with a new KCI airport terminal, are transforming our region.
As you may already know, maintaining The K has become a challenge. When the current Jackson County lease expires at the end of this decade, it will be 60 years old. The renovations required at The K to meet our goals would cost as much as or more than the price tag to develop a new ballpark. A new home would be a much better investment, both for the local taxpayer money that supports all of our facility, and for the Kansas City community.
A year ago, we announced that we were undertaking a diligent, deliberate, and transparent process to explore the possibility of a new ballpark. We said we would look at different locations around the city that would allow for residential, commercial and community components. We’re excited to now share that we’re taking a closer look at several leading locations, both in downtown Kansas City and nearby.
Each site offers unique opportunities. We look forward to seeking input from the public over the coming months on our vision to best serve our residents and build on the momentum our city is experiencing. To achieve this move, our plans will depend on continuing our public-private partnerships and investments with multiple local jurisdictions and the state of Missouri.
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