Kansas City Royals move to downtown pending voter approval

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals are proposing a move to the Crossroads District downtown, subject to a taxpayer vote on April 2.

Should the measure pass, the Crossroads District would be home to a new $2 billion ballpark district, resulting in the demolition of various businesses to accommodate the stadium. The development would involve the destruction of the Kansas City Star property at 16th and McGee and the relocations of a number of nearby businesses. Team leaders have rolled out renderings for the space.

The stadium would be built by Populous, a Kansas City-based architecture company. The firm expects the project to take up 17.3 acres in the Crossroads, Earl Santee, CEO and founder of Populous, said.

The ballpark would border Grand Boulevard to the west, Locust Street to the east, Truman Road to the north and 17th Street to the south. It would be opposite the T-Mobile Center and adjacent to South Loop Link park.

The Royals are advocating for the eastward extension of the South Loop Link to create additional space. Plans include a pedestrian bridge that would connect T-Mobile Center and the new stadium.

“The other key thing about this site versus the other sites is that this is the only site we’ve looked at, I don’t know, (out of the) 14 or 15 sites (where) we didn’t need major highway improvements to make this site work,” Santee told Fox4 News. “There’s more parking in downtown. There’s 40,000 spaces downtown versus the 26,000 we have at the Truman Sports Complex.”

The new stadium would seat roughly 34,000 fans, which is nearly 3,000 fewer than Kauffman Stadium. The Royals are hopeful for a 2028 grand opening.

The design of the park’s new logo is not official, but current renderings show a mega-sized jumbotron within the vicinity of water fountains. 

Brooks Sherman, president of business operations for the Royals, says the club is not seeking a new tax, but rather hoping to extend the current ⅜-cent sales tax for both the Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs with the April 2 vote.

“We’ve agreed to eliminate the county’s obligation to pay stadium insurance premiums and parks levy to the teams, creating more than $200 billion of new economic benefit,” Sherman said in a statement to KCTV5. “We know we have to earn and win every single vote. I am not a politician, but I’m going to be in the community talking about our project. I want to hear from you, and I believe it’s important that you hear from me during this campaign and that you know how committed I am to making sure the Chiefs and Royals remain at home, here in Jackson County.”

The Royals plan to invest $1 billion privately to support the development of the district around the stadium. The Chiefs plan to renovate Arrowhead Stadium, and will not be relocating it. Both the Chiefs and Royals upgraded their stadiums in 2006 after the tax increase was approved by Jackson County voters for a 25-year period. 

The tax is set to expire in 2031. A yes vote on April 2 would extend it to 2070. Should the vote not pass, voters would have to wait another year before another vote would be possible.

“As this issue heads to the ballot, it is crucial for all parties involved to commit to a dialogue that leaves no question unanswered, and no detail obscured,” County Executive Frank White told Fox4. “This is a monumental decision for Jackson County, involving an investment of over $2 billion by our taxpayers. They deserve to understand every aspect of what this entails.”

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