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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Royals’ Crucial Decision: Urban Charm vs. Expansive Ballpark Development

  • MLB club to choose between downtown site and far larger location north of city center
  • Final selection due in September with potentially franchise-altering ramifications
Kansas City Royals

As expected, the Kansas City Royals have revealed their two site options for a new ballpark development. Now, the MLB club faces the potentially franchise-altering choice of how big it wants the project to be.

One option is the East Village site, a 27-acre plot in downtown Kansas City. Located near the city’s popular Power & Light District and the T-Mobile Center, the site would more directly resemble many other urban MLB ballpark developments, including successful ones in Washington, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and St. Louis.

The other option is a 90-acre site in neighboring Clay County to the north of downtown. In that instance, the Royals would have even more available land for mixed-use development than the roughly 60 acres at The Battery, the Atlanta Braves’ complex that now serves as an industry model. In this case, residential units would become more of a focus.

Either way, the core ballpark development would cost about $2 billion, with the Royals looking for about $350 million in public funds. The team aims to be in the new venue by the start of the 2028 season.

“We knew we were engaged in a generational decision,” said Brooks Sherman, Royals president of business operations. “It’s actually incredible that we have these two locations to even consider as a future home and sustain ourselves as a major league city.”

A final site selection is expected in September. While openly advocating to replace Kauffman Stadium and keep up with economic trends across baseball, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t state a preference.

“We’ve got work to do on a number of fronts to get to our decision on this,” Sherman said.

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