Change is coming to Kansas City.
After 50 years of playing at the famed Kauffman Stadium, the Kansas City Royals announced their intentions to move to a new stadium.
In an open letter, principal owner John Sherman updated the fanbase about the team’s ongoing search for venues across Kansas City.
“We are excited to now share that we have several leading locations under close consideration, both in downtown Kansas City and close to it,” Sherman said.
Sherman addressed the idea of renovating Kauffman Stadium, but the ballpark would need an extensive face-lift which would cost much more than building a new ballpark.
Kauffman Stadium is the sixth oldest in the MLB and last underwent renovations in 2009.
The new project is estimated to cost $2 billion, which would be the most expensive private-public development project in the city’s history. Sherman added the new venture would not increase taxes to the Jackson County taxpayers and would bring in $60 million in new tax revenue.
Along with the stadium itself, Sherman said a “ballpark district” would be created that would give fans a “revitalized” surrounding area.
“We envision local restaurants and shops, office spaces, hotels, and a variety of housing opportunities accessible for Kansas Citizens from all walks of life,” Sherman said, adding new public transportation options would be created for the area.
The idea of surrounding a new stadium with a modern community is not new but has become increasingly popular in recent years with the Atlanta Braves’ Truit Park, Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field, and the proposed new NYCFC stadium in Willets Point, Queens.
Artist renderings show the ballpark, fit with features taken from Kauffman Stadium including an overhang over the top of the grandstand, the popular outfield water fountain, and a crown on top of the scoreboard that has been moved to left field. High rises can be seen in the outfield with plenty of grassy seating areas.
According to the open letter, the construction of the new stadium would create 200,000 new jobs, $1.4 billion in labor income, and $2.8 billion in total economic output.
Kauffman Stadium along with GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium form the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex. The complex is approximately 8 miles southeast of downtown Kansas City, and public transit could take up to an hour to get to the stadium.
The Royals become the third major league team to be actively searching for a new stadium after the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics both expressed interest in leaving their current aging ballparks.
The new ballpark and development district around the stadium still has a long way to go before the Royals’ lease at Kauffman stadium ends in 2030, including finalizing the site, design, and approval from Jackson County and the state of Missouri.