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Royals’ Current Lease Could Have Huge Impact On New Stadium Plans

  • Stadium complex leaders looking for more information from MLB club.
  • Sales tax ballot initiative will not be forwarded without lease extension.
Kansas City Royals
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There’s already a major possible hiccup in the Kansas City Royals’ attempt to pursue an Atlanta Braves-type mixed-use development.

Just days after the MLB club unveiled the two candidate sites for the projected $2 billion project, officials in Missouri’s Jackson County need much more information from the Royals before any formal agreement on a new stadium is reached. 

Additionally, the county is insisting on a finalized lease extension with the Royals before introducing a ballot question that would extend a current stadium sales tax levy and help fund a new venue.

“To put [the sales tax] on the ballot without executed leases would put the county in a very bad position, so that’s kind of our stance as we stand right now,” said Shawn Foster, chairman of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority.

The Royals are deciding between a 27-acre site in downtown Kansas City in Jackson County and a 90-acre tract in neighboring Clay County, with a final selection due next month. Timing is critical, as the Royals would like the sales tax extension on an April 2024 ballot if they stay in Jackson County, with a December deadline to make that happen.

The choice will also have significant ramifications on the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, who also play in the current sports complex and are looking to renovate Arrowhead Stadium.

The Royals’ current lease for Kauffman Stadium doesn’t expire until 2031, but the team is targeting a 2028 opening for its new ballpark.

Brewers’ Hope

The Milwaukee Brewers are also seeking a significant facility upgrade, and are now conveying a more hopeful tone in ongoing discussions with Wisconsin leaders about renovations to American Family Field. Prior reports suggested a potential relocation if a renovation deal wasn’t completed, but team ownership is now much more optimistic.

“We very much want to stay [in Milwaukee],” said Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. “That’s all I’ve considered at this point.”

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