KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals are close to choosing a location for their new stadium.
Royals majority owner John Sherman fielded questions for almost an hour Thursday about the team’s performance, their plan for the new stadium and how they look to make it all work.
The Royals have two locations to choose from, and Sherman gave the end of this summer as their timeline.
The finalist locations are an East Village site, just east of the Kansas City Police Department Headquarters, northeast of 12th and Cherry, and a site in North Kansas City, near 18th Avenue and Fayette.
“This is a really important project, and the time is now,” Sherman said.
The Royals CEO said the bulk of this decision is on the Royals to move forward.
“No one is waiting on us,” Sherman said. “We are the urgent party in this process.”
Kauffman Stadium currently has structural and mechanical problems and is not keeping up with other stadiums in Major League Baseball, according to Sherman.
“It’s time to leave The K,” he said.
He said he’d like to get Commissioner Rob Manfred’s input on the standards of an MLB stadium as well.
The Royals are also working with the Kansas City Chiefs on the Jackson County bid.
Sherman said the Royals, Chiefs and Jackson County officials must work together for the Royals to move to their new stadium before 2030. The Royals’ and Chiefs’ current lease at the Jackson County Sports Complex is over in 2031.
If the Royals stay in Jackson County, Sherman already has an objective for the new stadium.
“To extend the existing 3/8 cents sales tax that’s being used today to maintain two aging buildings (Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium) to redeploy that capital to do something very special that will have immediate impact on Kansas City,” he said.
The Royals are looking at a sales tax extension vote for Jackson County in April.
“We’ve been partners with Jackson County, and we’ve been in Kansas City for 52 years,” Sherman said. “We value that relationship, and we want them to give us their best shot, and we’re going to give them our best shot to do it there.”
But the Royals CEO is optimistic.
“If the Royals and Chiefs are together on an extension, it would be very surprising to us if it failed,” Sherman said.
The team is also in conversations with the city and the state. Sherman said $350 million will be base financing for the stadium. The team plans to ask the city and state for financial input, and ownership will pay for the rest.
More than $1 billion in private capital will be going into the project. Sherman also mentioned the need to have confidence about the financial structure.
Clay County entered the process recently and is a bid that the team is taking very seriously.
In March, FOX4 told you the county was considering a 1/2-cent sales tax to try to get the Royals to move up north. The conversations with Clay County and the Royals have not gotten that far, according to Sherman.
Sherman said the Royals are in a good spot right now with positive polling in both Jackson and Clay county.
Clay County’s North Kansas City location would be close to downtown and to the new Kansas City Current Stadium in Riverside. Sherman said NKC has people that are ready to put capital at risk, and it’s something that could work for the Royals.
But the Royals owner said downtown has the big infrastructure for a new stadium, and NKC has some additional work that would need to be done.
He also said the Royals did not call on Clay County for a bid, but the county has continued to make it interesting by staying the course.
Sherman expects the Royals to be at their new stadium — wherever that might be — by 2027 or 2028. They hope to make a decision on location by the end of the summer.
So what’s the holdup? The club is waiting on a few people that aren’t as urgent as the Royals.
“If we can’t make sure that it’s easy to get in and out and that it’s safe, we’re not gonna take our fans anywhere,” Sherman said.
Sherman also said he wants the team to have a long-term lease by the time the next ownership group takes over.
“I hope I own this team for a long time,” he said. “I hope we own this team for a long time.”