What should be done with Kemper Arena and the West Bottoms?
Kemper Arena has been vastly underused since the opening of the Sprint Center in 2007.
- Kemper Arena is 40-year-old and running a $500,000 annual operating deficit
- Facility has physical issues needing attention, due to age and lack of finances for current repairs needed
The American Royal has veto power over the Kemper Arena until 2045, due to its lease with the City.
- The American Royal is requesting to demolished and replaced Kemper Arena with a new agricultural and multipurpose center
- The estimated cost of the American Royal plan is $60 million
- Private donors have pledged already $10 million
- Additional funds would come from the City and other public funding sources
Kansas City development firm Foutch Bros. is requesting to save Kemper Arena and convert it into an amateur sports complex.
- The estimated the cost of the Foutch Bros. plan is about $21 million
- The Foutch Bros. believe they can fund the project privately
- Foutch Bros. applied to have Kemper Arena listed on the National Register of Historic Places (designation would help apply for federal and state tax credits, but not protect it from being demolished.)
The Planning Zoning and Economic Development Committee plans to review previous ideas for the West Bottoms, including recommendations by a panel of national experts sponsored by the Urban Land Institute. Mayor Sly James invited this group of experts to Kansas City in 2012.
- The Urban Land Institute panel decided, the West Bottoms, should be considered three distinct areas: the north would be the industrial district, the central would be the historic district and the south district would be the stockyard, where Kemper Arena is located.
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