KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is forced to play a waiting game for new development, including the future of a possible downtown stadium for the Kansas City Royals.
That’s what Kansas City Manager Brian Platt said Thursday. He told FOX4 he’s not hearing directly from Royals ownership about the proposed ballpark development.
“A development deal like this, it could be a billion dollars,” Platt said.
Platt said he and his staff are doing everything they can to keep the process going, as interest grows in the potential of moving the Royals downtown and away from Kauffman Stadium.
On Thursday, Platt said he’s disappointed that the Royals haven’t communicated their vision or needs, or even which of many proposed locations they’d prefer.
“The biggest frustration that we’re feeling is that we haven’t been given a lot of information from the Royals directly. No one really knows what the plan is. No one knows what their intentions are,” Platt said.
To speed the effort, Platt hopes to hire Doug Bach, former Wyandotte County administrator, to work as a consultant or liaison between the baseball club and the city. Platt believes Bach’s experience in helping build Children’s Mercy Park, home of Sporting Kansas City, makes him a valuable ally.
City councilmembers complained they learned of the intent to hire Bach via a late night email. Platt explained there was no intent to deceive, and he tends to work late hours. Hence, the overnight email.
However, while the city waits, according to Platt, other projects are on hold.
“We have large areas that have not been developed while we’re waiting to hear about a stadium,” Platt added.
FOX4 contacted the Royals about Platt’s disappointments, and Royals Chief Operating Officer Brooks Sherman released the following statement:
“We indicated early on that we would be undertaking a diligent, deliberate and transparent process, and we are doing so. We have had multiple updates with Mayor Lucas and Jackson County Executive Frank White and will continue to do so going forward. As promised, transparency will continue to be our guidepost.”
Tony Tocco, longtime Rockhurst University business professor at the Helzberg School of Management, points to St. Louis’ downtown Ballpark Village, which has been a successful moneymaker for that city, as the potential Kansas City could see by moving the Royals downtown.
“Think about what that will do. Hotels will open up. Restaurants will open up and all the byproducts will benefit from it. Everything will benefit from that situation,” Tocco said.
Tocco also pointed out the reciprocal effect that moving the Royals downtown might have, and that the city’s east end would likely suffer from losing the team.
As for the Royals ownership group, Platt said there’s no deadline for their input yet, but he hopes to keep this ball moving soon.
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