Businesses and lawmakers break down what Royals stadium could bring to their area

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 7:51 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Royals will need a little longer to pick the home of their new stadium than anticipated. They originally hoped to make that decision by the end of the month, but the team says they need more time.

The choice has come down to two locations– either the East Village downtown or North Kansas City.

Whichever way the team goes, it’s going to be a big move for the entire Royals fan base– the team has played at Kauffman Stadium for 50 years. A critical piece in the moving process will be negotiating the lease terms, which will take some time. But anticipation is growing on both sides.

Right outside the East Village community in downtown KC sits Anthony’s Restaurant & Lounge. Owner Vito Spino supports the Royals coming in and bringing new life to an area that has needed it for years.

“I think the city market is doing great down there because on weekends it’s packed down there,” Spino said. “All the apartment buildings I’m seeing a lot more foot traffic bikers, walkers and I think the baseball stadium would increase all of that.”

Just blocks away from the proposed site in North Kansas City sits Chappell’s Restaurant and Sports Museum. Founder Jim Chappell has filled the place with iconic Royals décor over the years and sees the Royals being a perfect fit for the North KC’s future.

“Truly a generational thing to get $2 billion in North Kansas City and north of the river,” Chappell said. “It’s truly the best thing that would ever happen to North Kansas City and Clay County.”

In downtown Kansas City, the Royals would take 27 acres of land to build the stadium on top of a hotel and event plaza used for entertainment, shopping, and housing. Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca’s district includes the East Village and he believes the infrastructure will handle it.

“Transportation mechanisms, our underlay of the roads and bridges that exist that allow access to the stadium,” Legislator Abarca stated. “Parking is something that will be undoubtedly baked into the development, whether that’s the development of the stadium or the development around it. So I’m not worried about those issues.”

If Clay County is chosen, the Royals would have 90 acres of land to work with between Armour and 16th Street, just east of Erie.

Commissioner Jerry Nolte believes North Kansas City has an advantage with the layout of their land with downtown next to it.

“There’s plenty of room for additional development and the support system to make sure when people come to North Kansas City for a ballgame,” Commissioner Nolte argued. “They have entertainment options and other venues they can attend. So it really is a big deal that we have this space.”

Commissioner Nolte called ongoing negotiations with the Royals positive.

We reached out to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority for comment. They told us that due to ongoing discussions, they cannot comment on where they’re at with negotiations.