Design & Development

Royals unveil vision for downtown ballpark district

The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball team has unveiled plans to build a new ballpark and entertainment district in the Crossroads area of the city.

The Royals have proposed an extension of the South Loop Park and the P&L Park Pedestrian Bridge, which would connect the stadium to other areas of the city. The team said its goal is to create easy access and simple navigation while connecting fans to existing infrastructure.

The Populous-designed stadium would be within walking distance of the T-Mobile Center arena. It is hoped the ballpark and surrounding development in the Crossroads District will become a 365-day hub of activity.

As well as a 34,000-capacity stadium, the district will include local restaurants and shops, office spaces, hotels, and a variety of affordable housing opportunities. The Royals are working closely with local transportation leaders to ensure public transportation options accommodate the new district.

Although public funding will be required for the project, the Royals confirmed that locals will not need to pay more taxes to support the stadium development.

Last month, the Royals and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs committed to remaining in Jackson County if voters approve the extension of the 3/8-cent sales tax at a ballot in April. The Royals currently play at Kauffman Stadium, while the Chiefs play at Arrowhead Stadium. The two venues are located next to each other at the Truman Sports Complex.

Later in the month, Jackson County legislators overruled a decision by executive Frank White to veto an ordinance that would have placed the tax renewal on the April ballot. The Royals and the Chiefs said the move marked an “important step forward”.

The 3/8-cent sales tax is currently used to maintain Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium for the next 40 years, and the Royals and Chiefs have agreed on a path that will provide more than $200m (£159m/€187m) in new economic benefits to Jackson County by eliminating its obligation to pay stadium insurance premiums and park levy to the teams.

The Royals said the teams’ decision to stay in Jackson County will see significant additional private money invested in the county, the city and community, including more than $1bn for the new baseball district. The overall cost of the district is estimated at $2bn.

The new stadium will combine the traditions of Kauffman Stadium with a “vastly improved” fan experience. More details around the Royals’ plans are set to be revealed in the coming weeks and months.

John Sherman, chief executive and chairman of the Royals, said: “Kansas City is a special place. We have outperformed many of our peers for our care for the heart of our city. Look at the residential growth downtown and the dynamism of the development and redevelopment of the Crossroads. The arts, the music, the food and drink.

“I believe in my gut that the timing is right for the Royals to become residents of the Crossroads and neighbours to Power & Light, 18th & Vine and Hospital Hill, helping to further connect the cultural centre for our great city.

“We’re thrilled to announce our plans to contribute community dynamics, an incredible fan and stadium experience, and long-term growth to the Crossroads – a neighbourhood ballpark home to the Royals that will stand strong for the next 50 years here in Jackson County.”

The Royals and Populous issued the first detailed renderings for two new stadium concepts back in August. Sites in the East Village and North Kansas City were put forward, but the new Crossroads location was not on the shortlist.

It is hoped the new stadium will be open by the start of the 2028 MLB season.