KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KWCH) — In an open letter sent Tuesday by team president and CEO John Sherman, the Kansas City Royals detailed their plans, going forward, to leave Kauffman Stadium and build a new baseball stadium.
In a statement last year, Sherman said the team planned to consider building a new stadium in downtown Kansas City. Today’s message stated that the team intends to build a new stadium either in or near downtown, along with a football field area.
Kaufman Stadium opened in 1973, and the team’s lease in Jackson County, Mo. expires in 2030.
This is the full message Sherman sent:
To the dedicated Royals fans and the Kansas City community:
I am reaching out to you on two fronts. First, I want to thank you for your support this past season. Although we were not satisfied with our results on the field, the future of our baseball club under JJ Picollo and new manager Matt Quatraro holds great promise. Our goal is to get back in shape and compete for the championship on behalf of the big Kansas City fans.
Second, as we look to the future, I’d like to share with you our view of Kaufman Stadium, our cherished home for the past half century. We’ve enjoyed many exciting moments together at the Truman Sports Complex over the years. In the spirit of Ewing Kaufman, our current mission is to look forward to ensuring that Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Royals thrive in this region for decades to come.
True to Mr. K’s original vision for the franchise, we also want to ensure that we have a world-class football stadium that remains competitive with our peers nationwide and best serves our community to the fullest. Kansas City is evolving into a leading sports destination – proven by the NFL Draft, the new KC Current Stadium, the World Cup – and much more to come. These developments, along with the new KCI Airport Terminal, are transforming our region.
As you already know, “K” is becoming more and more difficult to maintain. When its current lease with Jackson County expires at the end of this decade, it will be 60 years old. The renovations required at The K to achieve our goals would cost as much or more than it would cost to develop a new football stadium. A new home would be a much better investment, both for the local taxpayer dollars that already support our facility, and for the Kansas City community.
A year ago, we announced that we were conducting a serious, thoughtful and transparent process to explore the possibility of creating a new globe. We said we would look at various locations around the city that would allow for residential, commercial and community components. We are now pleased to share that we have several premier locations under close consideration, both in and near downtown Kansas City.
Each site presents unique opportunities. We look forward to getting input from the public over the coming months on our vision to best serve our residents and build on the momentum our city is experiencing. To accomplish this step, our plans will hinge on our continued public-private partnership and investment with several local jurisdictions and the state of Missouri.
I’d like to share with you our latest thoughts and benchmarks as we continue our exploration with you:
- Wherever we play baseball, we will pursue efforts that create real and measurable 1) societal impact, 2) economic growth, and 3) an improvement in the quality of life for the citizens of our region, with an emphasis on the historically underrepresented members of our community.
- Our vision is not just to build a facility that does justice to the spirit of The K. We want to build a world-class experience – a new football field area and everything that comes with it – an experience woven into the fabric of our city, that can host events and concerts, and boost our local economy. We also envision integrating our Kansas City fountains, Royals crown, and our team’s rich traditions and history into a new ballpark area.
- The proposed stadium area will become a new home for the Royals fans far and wide – both inside a modern football stadium and in the revitalized surrounding area. We will marry the traditions of The K with an even better experience for our fans.
- Through a mixture of public and private investment, including our own intention to invest hundreds of millions of dollars directly in the football field and stadium district, the long-term vision remains in motion. We envision local restaurants and shops, office space, hotels, and a variety of housing opportunities that will be accessible to Kansas residents from all walks of life. Affordable housing options will be important to our efforts. We will also work closely with our local transportation leaders to ensure public transportation options are accommodated for a new football stadium area.
- Moving forward with this process will result in the largest public-private development project in Kansas City history, expected to take place 2 billion as currently envisioned. The creation of this new playground area can 20,000 jobs, $1.4 billion in business income, And the An estimated $2.8 billion in total economic outputas well as stimulating additional investment in the vicinity.
- We expect the opening year of the new stadium to be approx $185 million more in regional economic output than what K is doing today. The larger regional visit will continue More than 600 new jobsSpending in the new stadium area and across the region will pay more than $60 million new tax he won during the first decade.
- A new stadium can also spur meaningful new investments around it. New development around the stadium could attract 2,200 jobs on site, with the function of representing $200 million in annual business income and more 500 million dollars of annual economic output.
The basis of all our plans are two directives principles. First, we will not require the citizens of Jackson County to contribute any more tax money than you do today. Second, we want to take these steps together, with your input and participation, as a community.
Please know that any final decisions will be made with broad input from the community, and in the best interests of our fans, the long-term future of the Royals, and our community in Greater Kansas City.
In the next few months, in order to “keep the streak going,” we will 1) begin a listening tour throughout our region to discuss our plan, vision, and economic benefits with our community, partners, and political leaders, and 2) begin a serious discussion with local, state, and federal officials regarding additional funding sources. Potential to help make this project a reality.
Above all, any decision we reach will have Kansas City in mind first. Transparency will continue to be our guide.
Finally, a personal note. This is my hometown. This community means a lot to me. That’s also why I bought the team — along with a group of Kansas City residents who are passionately committed to our community, who believe in all it can become in the next 50 years and beyond.
Ewing Kaufman once said, “Basically, the reason I got into the baseball business is because I think the people of Kansas City and this great metropolitan area should have a Major League Baseball team.” There are 25 markets in America that have a team like our boys in blue, and we are grateful to be a major league city. We want to make sure that we not only put a good product out in the field, but that we have a uniquely positive impact outside the field – in the community we love.
From the 1985 and 2015 Royals World Series championship teams, to the Monarchs and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, to your support and dedication over the decades, our city has a rich baseball history. If this proposal goes ahead, we see this development as another storied Kansas City chapter.
We are very much looking forward to writing it together.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company
Kansas City Royals
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