KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals’ landlord is defending itself when it comes to new stadium discussions.
The Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, the landlord of both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Royals, spoke in front of the Jackson County legislature Monday at the county courthouse.
“The legislature’s not holding up anything to do with the Royals,” Chair Shawn Foster said. “The county executive’s not holding up anything to do with the Royals.”
Foster said his group needs a lot more information from the Chiefs and the Royals to move forward and redo the teams’ leases.
“In order to put anything on the ballot, I think we have to have executed releases or executed leases from both the Chiefs and the Royals,” Foster continued.
“To put it 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.”
One thing making this issue difficult is the fact that the Royals are looking at a 40-year sales tax if they’re going to stay in Jackson County.
The Chiefs have said they don’t want a new stadium right now. They’re looking at a 25-year sales tax extension for an upgrade or renovation to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca spoke during the public meeting.
“It’s curious how we try and address that situation,” Abarca said to authority Legal Counselor Mike White, talking about the lease differences.
“That’s the $64,000 question,” White responded. “I’d like to talk to you about that in a closed session.”
After the closed session was over, Jim Rowland, the Executive Director of the authority, took questions from the media.
“We don’t have a site, so by definition, that’s waiting,” Rowland said of his group’s discussions with the Royals. “I think we’re waiting. The county’s waiting. The Chiefs are waiting. The taxpayers are waiting. The fans are waiting, so it’s clear that we are all waiting for an announcement of a site.”
Tuesday, Aug. 22, the Royals said they were still looking to make their announcement of where they want to build their new stadium at the end of September. Although, that timeline may change.
The team’s considering the East Village of Jackson County, within the city limits and an area in Clay County of North Kansas City. If the Royals moved north of the river, their landlord would no longer be the Sports Complex Authority. Regardless, Rowland says the wait doesn’t bother him.
“It’s their prerogative and certainly their right to do their due diligence,” he continued, talking about the Royals. “So I don’t think that’s an issue, but I think it’s somewhat silly to suggest ‘nobody’s waiting on us.’ Clearly, we’re all waiting.'”
Rowland said the first domino to fall will be the September announcement of where the Royals want to build their new stadium. If they pick Jackson County, then the sports authority and the county will get to the brass tacks of renegotiating the leases of the Chiefs and the Royals before a sales tax vote takes place.
“That’s a possibility,” Jackson County Administrator Troy Schulte said when asked whether there was a good chance the sales tax vote wouldn’t happen in April of 2024.
“You heard the Sports Authority arguing it took a long time in 2006 to put the leases together, and we really haven’t started those conversations, so hopefully we can get that conversation started, too.
“But I think it’s everybody’s intent, and I think it’s the team intent to have signed and executed leases, but we’d have to have that done by the end of January for us to put it on the April ballot, so that’s a pretty tight schedule, but if there’s a will, there’s a way.”