At a community meeting Tuesday, the Kansas City Royals inevitably will field questions from Jackson County residents about the team’s desired future home: “If not at Kauffman Stadium, where?”
The team has stayed mum on prospective sites since confirming plans to pursue a new ballpark and baseball district, to the tune of $2 billion in private and public dollars.
However, Chairman John Sherman did note last month that the Royals have “several leading locations under close consideration, both in downtown Kansas City and close to it,” each offering unique opportunities.
Here’s a rundown of known downtown Royals stadium site ideas that have surfaced over the years, ranging from presently active contenders to more historic locations floated over the 20 years some urban advocates have pushed for such a venue.
A prime candidate downtown stakeholders have explored is just east of The Kansas City Star’s former offices and printing press at 1601 McGee St. It would cover almost 11.9 acres between Truman Road and 17th Street from north to south, and Oak Street to slightly past Cherry Street from west to east.
The Star building’s owners have met with Royals executives to pitch the site, and a group of city and economic development officials, including Mayor Quinton Lucas, were presented the idea during a building tour in late May, the Kansas City Business Journal first reported in July.
A stadium there could connect to, and spur redevelopment of, the old glass printing press building, while complementing other downtown investments such as the Kansas City Power & Light District and future South Loop Link park.
However, it would present inherent costs from land assembly, with parcels owned by at least 24 people or entities, and demolition of numerous viable commercial buildings.
Former Star building
An earlier, distinct variant of the East Crossroads site involves demolition of The Kansas City Star’s former printing press for a new baseball stadium.
Building co-owner Rosana Privitera Biondo raised the possibility in a November 2020 interview with KCUR. However, several days later, she told KCBJ that the glass building was 80% to 90% likely to remain intact in its potential future lives.
However, that probability didn’t preclude Burns & McDonnell from including a ballpark as one option in a July 2021 reuse study commissioned by Biondo and her fellow co-owners. That stadium concept would cover about 8.8 acres bounded by Grand Boulevard and Oak Street west to east, and 17th Street to the south; it would stretch onto park space capping Interstate 670 to the north.