KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals say they have narrowed 14 potential downtown stadium sites to four or five.
Brooks Sherman, the team’s chief operating officer, made the announcement during the Royals’ second listening session Tuesday on the proposed $2 billion project that would also include a surrounding ballpark district featuring shops, dining, hotels and apartments.
The Royals declined to comment further Tuesday on which sites were no longer being considered.
The team said surveys show 85% of fans want a more social and diverse baseball experience, and renovating Kauffman Stadium would cost more than replacing it.
“I think its a good idea. I’ve been saying for several years now that I think we need to move downtown get a more casual baseball fans into the stadium,” Royals fan Daniel Meyers said.
“We want to create an environment that has safe, walkable neighborhoods. We want to live work and play there,” Royals Chairman and CEO John Sherman said.
The Royals said they’ll pay for all of a $1 billion ballpark district surrounding a new downtown stadium.
Pressed by fans Tuesday for how much they’ll pitch in on the $1 billion stadium, they’d only say it would be hundreds of millions of dollars, making it the largest public private partnership in Kansas City history.
But it would also require the extension of the 3/8-cent sales tax now used to fund renovations at the Truman Sports Complex.
“I think John Sherman explained it really clearly. It’s got to be everyone is in this together, which I agree with,” Carla Duryee said.
HR&A projections say a new stadium will produce $185 million more annually in economic impact more than “The K” currently. A new ballpark district would pump in an extra $500 million a year.
Stand Up KC, which was well represented at the meeting in red t-shirts, said there’s more than just dollars and cents to consider.
“All businesses in Kansas City and throughout the United States should have a moral responsibility to impact communities. Just to go into a community and put up new housing and not be concerned with those that barely have housing is a mistake,” Rev. Rodney Williams said.
The Royals have promised a community benefits agreement to help ease those concerns.
Other questions centered around conversations with the Kansas City Chiefs and the City of Kansas City and why they aren’t just building a district around the existing Truman Sports Complex. Sherman said in more than 50 years, developers have just never been interested in it.
The Royals have a final listening session before the team leaves for Spring Training. It’s planned for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. It will take place at Midwest Genealogy Center Community Hall, located at 3440 S. Lee’s Summit Road in Independence.