Field of Schemes
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August 04, 2004

K.C. okays arena tax

Kansas City voters approved hotel and rental-car tax surcharges to raise $143 million toward a new arena yesterday, with the measure passing by a 57-43% margin. The arena, which would be part of a downtown "entertainment district," is planned for a 2006 opening.

As for who would play there, that's another question. K.C. has said it hopes to lure an NHL or NBA franchise, but the history of sports facilities built "on spec" without an existing tenant is not promising: Cities have often had to wait years, and then offer additional enticements such as discounted rents and further renovations, in order to fill vacant space. In K.C.'s case, this would be especially problematic, as Sprint's $62.5 million naming-rights offer drops by $20 million if no big-league tenant is present, opening a funding hole in the plan.

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