KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Royals Chairman and CEO John Sherman spoke to reporters Wednesday, just a day before Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium. Many of the questions, though, revolved around a new stadium and not the team getting ready for a new season.
“I think the East Village, it’s been talked about. We’ve probably done the most work on that site,” Sherman said Wednesday.
Other business owners in the area have a different plan, though.
“Putting the stadium there might not be any different than having the stadium where it currently is, and there’s nothing around it,” Kansas City Star building owner Rosie Privitera Biondo said about the East Village site.
Biondo, the president of Mark One Electric, bought the old Star printing press back in 2019 and wants the Royals to build there.
Mammoth created a stadium design for Biondo and her brother Tony. The design keeps the existing outer structure of the building in place. Biondo said One Light and Two Light apartments, with Three Light on the way, and the potential for Four Light, make for an easy way for people to get to a ballgame.
“Just think of how many people will walk out of their apartment building and come to a stadium where they could walk just right out of their front door,” Biondo said. “That it’s a Monday night, and they don’t have anything to do, and they’re going to actually walk to the stadium.”
Biondo said the South Loop Link park over Interstate 670 will help, too.
On Wednesday, Sherman said he’s heard from Biondo.
“I think the owners of that property have some creative ideas,” he said in regard to the Star site. “There are some challenges. I mean, that is one of the sites. I wouldn’t say it’s been eliminated if that’s what you’re asking, but it’s a site that’s got some challenges for a variety of reasons.”
Later, Sherman said that land acquisition is the biggest challenge at that site. He also envisions the team playing in their new home by 2027 or 2028, which means the team may have to renegotiate its current lease.
Biondo said people don’t walk in the community currently.
“People are not going to walk from where the East Village is to the Power and Light District, and that means we’ll still be feeding two machines, not one. Something to think about,” she continued.
Sherman also said the team’s working with the Kansas City Chiefs when it comes to their project.
He said they’re discussing the ballot language for when they’ll ask Jackson County taxpayers for an extension of the 3/8ths cent per dollar sales tax, which expires in January 2031, when the Royals’ and Chiefs’ leases currently end.
As to when the Royals could ask for that extension to be put on a ballot, Sherman said that could be anywhere between August 2023 and April 2024.