KC Star building floated as Royals stadium site despite being way too small and there being no money and and and

The Kansas City Star, which is owned by the McClatchy Company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February and was subsequently sold to a hedge fund, announced this week that it would be taking advantage of the bankruptcy filing to break its lease on its downtown headquarters and find a new home, while also moving its printing plant to Des Moines, which will make its reporting less timely because it will need to be printed in time to drive the actual papers down from friggin’ Iowa.

You may have a lot of questions about this, but if you are Kansas City radio station KCUR, the biggest one is: Is there a way that this news can be turned into a new stadium for the Kansas City Royals?

Rosana Privitera Biondo, a principal of Ambassador Hospitality [which has been the Star’s landlord since buying the building from the paper in 2017] … threw out one other intriguing use for the building, or rather for the land on which the building sits, although she refused to elaborate.

“It could be the possible new Royals stadium – tear down the building, buy our property, build across the highway,” she said. “Then we have the location for the Crossroads downtown, the walking paths that everybody in Kansas City says they want, and it would connect the Crossroads and the Power & Light [District] with the Sprint Center.”

Okay, sure, if I’m the owner of a giant commercial property — especially at a time when commercial properties are plummeting in value now that companies are realizing they can just make their employees work from their kitchen tables — I would take the opportunity to float the idea that someone could buy my land for a princely sum in order to build a baseball stadium on it, why not? Calling this idea “intriguing,” though, was KCUR’s decision, especially when it’s then followed by the statement that a new Royals stadium “seems to have picked up momentum” since the sale of the Royals to fossil fuel baron John Sherman last year, and the observation that “Kansas City is one of the few major league cities without a downtown baseball stadium.”

To briefly recap the story so far: The Royals already have a perfectly good stadium, one that was recently renovated at public expense and which is typically ranked in the top half of MLB ballparks in MLB ballpark ranking lists. The former Royals owner, David Glass, didn’t show much enthusiasm for a new downtown stadium, which didn’t stop news outlets like the Star from saying it was a good idea anyway; this just may have been influenced by the downtown business interests who were clamoring for baseball downtown, no doubt in hopes they could sell some of their property for a baseball development. When Sherman bought the team, the media drumbeat only increased (though the Star did editorialize against “any plan that significantly increases public spending for the Royals”), and Sherman said he’d consider it, and apparently this is what qualifies as momentum these days.

So, setting aside whether the Royals need a new stadium or who would pay for it, does the Star building site make any sense as a location?

That’s not at all big enough to fit even the existing Kauffman Stadium into, and keep in mind that Kauffman Stadium was built in 1973, before stadiums had to be five-star hotels as well as stadiums. Building a baseball stadium on the site would absolutely require tearing down at least a couple of blocks of additional buildings, but would afford the advantage, as KCUR writes, of being across the highway from K.C.’s indoor arena, which, I dunno, synergy or something somehow? KCUR can’t explain everything for you, it’s just an NPR station that fills half its schedule with BBC broadcasts, go figure it out yourself!

Anyway, now that I’ve both reported on this “news” and amplified it, I need to go shower off the stench of complicity. Is it too late for me to tell you not to read this post at all? You probably just read the headline and clicked Wow or Angry on Facebook anyway, so I guess no harm done, except that even the headline will probably be taken as a further sign of “momentum,” when really it’s just downtown real estate interests trying to gin up a clamor out of thin air so they can unload their crappy properties. Do not listen to them, people! IT’S A COOKBOOK!!!

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5 comments on “KC Star building floated as Royals stadium site despite being way too small and there being no money and and and

  1. A stadium on the site of the KC Star would only add to the confusion that is the Downtown Loop (aka Exit 2), especially since the Star’s building runs right up against the road.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Loop_(Kansas_City)

  2. Word on the street is that this location is the preferred site for Sporting KC to relocate from their new stadium in Kansas. The Royals already have 2 larger sites nearby that are larger but still close to the power and light district. McClatchy renewed their tax abatements recently which will make this property attractive to whomever redevelops it.

  3. What is wrong with Ksuffman Stadium? KCStar location is TERRIBLE! NO PARKING. KC non-Safety will not bring sports fans to downtown.
    HORRIBLE IDEA!!!

  4. As a Jackson County taxpayer there is no reason to build a sports complex downtown just to paid some land developers wallet. Imagine clearing several blocks of downtown for one stadium let alone two or a larger single stadium for both sports. Now that this picture is in your mind envision a new layout for road infrastructure from freeway and replacement of water and sewer systems in and around the area and eventually the taxpayer would be asked to pay the bill.

    We have two easily accessed stadiums with AMPLE parking. Of you want to build a hotel there is plenty of facilities and land in the area around the exiting stadium complex. Minimal parking downtown now and increased traffic patterns would make downtown traffic flow IMPOSSIBLE without a massive redo of all the entire freeway system and involve federal/state/local funding and guess who will eventually pick up the tab and developers will increase parking fees to cover cost of land purchase. I do not believe this would improve the quality of life for downtown dwellers.

    Having worked at the A/E firm that originally designed the sports complex
    that area was well scouted and was chosen for cost to develop and ability to expand. There are little physical structures in the area that would limit future expansion, IMO.

    The taxpayers and not the developers should have a say in this idea and IF. the owners/developers let them cover the bill entirely. Only then would they consider the ENTIRE REAL cost to build new stadium(s) downtown and the affect it would have on their ticket prices to view their sporting events.

    If your a mind to build – Open and renew existing structures, post Covid, in the area and replace any
    blight. The area is ripe for further improvement and upgrades and I don’t own land in the area.

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