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Pendulum sets out vision for downtown Royals ballpark

Kansas City-based sports architecture firm Pendulum has presented a detailed concept for a downtown stadium to host its local Major League Baseball (MLB) club.

Stressing that the company hasn’t been approached to deliver a proposal, Pendulum nevertheless said a downtown ballpark for the Kansas City Royals would have a “compelling story” to tell, adding that story should “speak to the past, present, and future” Kansas City.

The Royals have played at the 38,000-capacity Kauffman Stadium since 1973, with the team’s current lease expiring after the 2030 season. However, talk of a potential move downtown has grown louder since local energy entrepreneur John Sherman closed his takeover of the team back in November.

Indeed, Sherman touched on the subject of a downtown ballpark in a recent interview with the CityScene KC website. While stating the team has not formally begun a review process, Sherman said there are several groups “putting ideas together.”

He added: “Baseball creates more economic opportunity in denser areas versus suburban areas or less dense areas. If you can put together the right package, downtown would be an interesting opportunity.”

Pendulum’s ‘Small Big Idea’ concept involves a 30,000-seat stadium with 26 premium suites, eight restaurants, and 50,000 square feet of commercial space. The mixed-use project would incorporate 1,000 housing units overlooking the stadium, as well as green space that includes a dog park and an outdoor pool.

Pendulum founding principal Jonathan O’Neil Cole said: “The Kansas City business community has been buzzing for a while about the possibilities and opportunities for the Royals to make a move downtown.

“For the record, I see Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums as architectural icons. They will likely always be so, but when you give careful consideration to the shifts in the sports business model over the last 20 years, coupled with advancements in technology and the ever increasing demand for expanded fan amenities, I think now is the time for Kansas City to start thinking about an economically sustainable sports facility model that looks towards the future.”

Images: Pendulum