Wizards break ground, economic impact study rejoices

In case you’ve been holding your breath waiting to see if the Kansas City, Kansas council would approve the Wizardsalready-in-the-works stadium plan, it did so on Tuesday. The team, wasting no time, immediately broke ground yesterday on the project, which is to include an 18,000-seat soccer-only stadium to be ready for the 2012 season.

MLSnet, the soccer league’s web arm, reports:

The economic impact of the development was the most talked-about issue during the course of the board’s meeting. Every speaking member praised the impact the project would have on Wyandotte County, in terms of both money and job creation.

Between the stadium, offices, and field complex, OnGoal, LLC’s development is expected to create over 8,000 new jobs in the Wyandotte County area, with a total economic impact of over $500 million annually.

Ignore the “economic impact” numbers, which are meaningless, and focus on the job figures: With the public set to provide $147 million in sales tax rebates for the overall project, that’d come to under $20,000 per new job created, which is actually pretty reasonable as economic development projects go. The big question, of course, is whether all 8,000 jobs (most of which presumably wouldn’t be Wizards-related) would really be “new,” or if some of them would have located elsewhere in Wyandotte County without the subsidy. And there’s also the question of whether the county could do just as well by spending its sales tax money on something else — especially given the recent findings that the most effective job creation measure may be giving money to the unemployed.

4 comments on “Wizards break ground, economic impact study rejoices

  1. Ech. Could they have built it further into the bowels of suburbistan? It’s not all the way to Nebraska, but Nebraska Furniture Mart is visible in the construction photos.

  2. Actually about 4,000 of the jobs will be permanent jobs for Cerner, who as part of the deal to build the Wizards stadium, have agreed to move much of their corporate offices to the site. The two principles in Cerner are two of the six partners of OnGoal, LLC – which owns the Wizards.

    While I usually agree wholeheartedly with you, this actually is a very good deal for Wyandotte. While it doesn’t really really create jobs in the KC metro area, it makes sense for KCK and Wyandotte county as 1) these 4,000 jobs (high paying, white collar jobs) wouldn’t have been located elsewhere in Wyandotte and 2) other jobs that would’ve been in place had something other been built on the site likely would’ve mimicked the service industry jobs (Nebraska Furniture Mart, etc…) found else where in the area surrounding the Kansas Speedway.

    I’ll agree that it’s basically a zero sum game for the metro area, but as far as Wyandotte County is concerned, this is a big win.

  3. “Big win” is an overstatement — between $20k and $40k per new job is a tolerable cost, but hardly a bargain. I’ll grant you that it’s far better than most stadium development deals, though.

  4. Anderson:

    The stadium is being built in the Village West shopping district, by the Kansas Speedway and CommunityAmerica Ballpark (which the Wizards have shared with the T-Bones the past three seasons). The KCATA plans to create a BRT line leading from downtown KCMO to Village West within the next two years.