Kansas City Royals confirm plans for new stadium

Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals confirmed Tuesday they plan to build a new baseball stadium.

Royals chairman and CEO John Sherman wrote a letter to Kansas City and fans says the team is building a new ballpark district and is looking for options in downtown Kansas City or close to it.

Sherman said it has become difficult to maintain Kauffman Stadium, which was opened in 1973. When the team’s lease with Jackson County ends in 2030, the stadium will be over 60 years old.

“The renovations needed at The K to achieve our goals will cost as much or more than the price tag to develop a new ballpark,” Sherman wrote. “A new home will be a better investment, both for the local taxpayer dollars that already support our facilities and for the Kansas City community.”

A year ago, Sherman and the Royals said they were looking at a downtown baseball stadium. Speculation has been ongoing ever since about where the team will land, and Royals fans have weighed in on both sides of the issue.

Sherman said Tuesday the team now has “several major locations under consideration, both in downtown Kansas City and close to it.”

The team released new renderings of what they envision the new stadium could look like one day. The Royals too issue some criteria on what they are looking for in the new ballpark district.

Sherman said the team had two guiding principles in its stadium planning:

“First we will not ask the citizens of Jackson County to contribute more tax dollars than you are doing now. Second, we want to take these steps together, with your input and engagement, as a community.

The Royals CEO said the move to the new ballpark “will be contingent on continuing our public-private partnerships and investments with various local jurisdictions and the State of Missouri.”

Sherman said building the new stadium would be the largest public-private development project in Kansas City history, estimated at $2 billion. The Royals expect the ballpark construction will create 20,000 jobs, $1.4 billion in labor income and $2.8 billion in total economic output.

Additionally, the team expects the new ballpark’s first year to drive $185 million more in regional economic output than the current Kauffman Stadium. Sherman said the ballpark could create more than 600 new jobs and spending will drive more than $60 million in tax revenue over the first decade.

Royals also project a new ballpark can spur new development of the city, bringing thousands of new jobs and millions of economic output.

Sherman said the Royals will hold a listening tour over the next few months and begin a discussion with local, state and federal officials on funding.

The Royals CEO said transparency will be a “guidepost” in the planning process.

“From the 1985 and 2015 Royals World Series Championship teams, to the Monarchs and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and your support and dedication over the decades, our city has a rich baseball history,” Sherman wrote. “If this proposal moves forward, we see this development as another chapter for Kansas City.”

Here is a letter from Sherman, read in part:

To our dedicated Royals Fans and the Kansas City community:

I am reaching out to you on two fronts. First, I want to thank you for your support this past season. While we are not satisfied with the results on the field, the future of our baseball club under the leadership of JJ Picollo and new manager Matt Quatro holds great promise. Our goal is to return to form and compete for a championship on behalf of the great fans of Kansas City.

Second, as we look to the future, I’d like to share our view of Kauffman Stadium, a treasured home for the past half century. We have enjoyed many exciting moments together at the Truman Sports Complex over the years. In the spirit of Ewing Kauffman, our current mission is to look ahead to ensure that Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Royals will thrive in this area for decades to come.

After the original vision of Mr. K for the franchise, we also want to ensure that we have a world-class ballpark that remains competitive with our peers around the country and serves our community to the fullest. Kansas City is evolving into a leading sports destination – demonstrated by the NFL Draft, KC Current’s new stadium, the World Cup – and more. These developments, along with the new KCI airport terminal, are transforming our region.

As you already know, it’s been a challenge to keep The K. When the current lease with Jackson County ends at the end of this decade, it will be 60 years old. The renovations needed at The K to achieve our goals will cost as much or more than the price tag to develop a new ballpark. A new home will be a better investment, both for the local taxpayer dollars that already support our facility and 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 district. We said we will look at various locations throughout the city that will allow for residential, commercial and community components. We are excited to share today that we have several prime locations under consideration, both in downtown Kansas City and nearby.

Each site offers unique opportunities. We look forward to seeking input from the community in the coming months on our vision to best serve our residents and build on the momentum our city is experiencing. To complete this movement, our plan will depend on continuing our public-private partnership and investment with several local jurisdictions and the State of Missouri.

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