KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Down to the fireworks shooting into the sky, renderings of the Royals $2 billion proposed ballpark district in downtown Kansas City are like the stadium proposals for Jacksonville, Florida.
That $450 million project, also a public/private partnership, failed.
Working for you, FOX4 wanted to explore why that happened and how the team can avoid the same fate.
Award-winning Florida Times-Union columnist, Nate Monroe, covered the proposed development in the Lot J parking lot of TIAA Bank Field, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Reports indicate about half the funding would have come from taxpayers. In the end, the city council voted it down.
“Lot J failed because it was it was just too much money,” Monroe said. “The financing was too opaque. A lot of the money that [The Cordish Companies] and the Jaguars were looking for was going to take the form of like, upfront, actual sort of cash.”
Monroe said more common incentives for these projects would be tax breaks.
The Royals, meantime, call their district the largest public-private partnership in KC history. While financing has not been detailed, the team has referenced local, state and federal funding sources.
“The thing with these deals is that the devil is in the details,” Monroe said. “The way these things get financed can often be really complicated.”
“I think it’s an exciting project,” said Nathan Mauck, an associate professor of finance at the Bloch School of Management at UMKC.
But Mauck has concerns.
“Economists have looked at the payoff, especially to taxpayers of are you getting bang for your buck when you put tax dollars into stadium remodels or new stadiums, and they find that, typically, these stadiums do not create a lot of value for taxpayers,” Mauck said.
Mauck says there are intangible benefits, however, like entertainment, community pride and quality of life.
Both agree, transparency at all levels will be key for this to succeed.
That is a promise the Royals have already made to play ball downtown.
The Cordish Companies was also behind KC Live and baseball projects like Ballpark Village in St. Louis and The Battery in Atlanta.
The Royals have not said if Cordish is in the running for this project.
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