Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Wizards clear political hurdle for stadium project
by Ridge Mahoney, December 14th, 2007 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  mls


Political obstacles have delayed or tripped up several stadium projects in the 13-year history of MLS, but count Kansas City among the eventual winners. Banished to a minor-league baseball park for the next two seasons because of renovations at Arrowhead Stadium, if all goes as planned the Wizards will have their own home in 2010 and might never play at Arrowhead again.

The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council has approved 13-0 its portion of funding for the $949 million Three Trails Redevelopment project that will include a soccer stadium and as many as 12 soccer fields. Tax increment financing (TIF), generated by the sale of bonds, will provide 29 percent (about $273 million) of the funding for the project; majority investment will come from the private sector, including OnGoal, LLC, operator-investor of the Wizards.

Projected capacity for the stadium is 18,500. The stadium component of the project, which includes the fields and a 250-room hotel, will cost $140 million and is the first phase of a three-part project that consists of office space and retail space to be built on a site currently occupied by the shuttered Bannister Mall.

The site is adjacent to Interstate 435, between 87th Street and 95th Street in south Kansas City. Nearby communities, including Olathe and Lenexa, had expressed interest in the project but proposals to revitalize the 467-acre site received strong support from local residents and political leaders. Mayor Mark Funkhouser initially resisted the idea of using TIF revenues but relented after a few days of negotiations amid lobbying from council members to give it the green light.

OnGoal executives Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig, founders of the medical software firm Cerner, have moved some Cerner operations into an office complex near the site. The company employs more than 7,700 people and is based in the northern part of Kansas City. OnGoal bought the team in August, 2006, from Hunt Sports Group.

The late Lamar Hunt put the team up for sale in late 2003 and insisted he'd sell only to a local group committed to building a stadium in the area. His stadium projects in Columbus and Dallas ran into numerous political snags but eventually were completed.

One hurdle remains: approval at the state level, which is expected by February. Demolition of the existing mall buildings at Bannister Mall and Benjamin Plaza, the cost of which is estimated at $120 million, will begin once state approval is forthcoming.

As Hunt knew well, political wrangling is all part of the complex, often arduous process of building the game in America.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: Carlos Alberto's wonder goal    
Carlos Alberto, who died at age 72 on Tuesday, scored one of the greatest World Cup ...
Video Pick: Sweet solo strike from Leipzig    
One of the reasons newly promoted RB Leipzig is only two points behind Bundesliga leader Bayern ...
U.S. Abroad: Big night for Americans in DFB Pokal    
Bobby Wood scored two goals for Hamburg, his first since the second week of the Bundesliga ...
Double DUII arrests add to Portland nightmare week    
In the space of a week, the Portland Timbers, the 2015 MLS champions, failed to reach ...
Newcomers debut for U.S. U-17s boys in pair of wins    
In their first games since Coach John Hackworth named the 32-player roster for the fall semester ...
Video Pick: A fowl field invasion    
A duck's crash landing interrupted a Bulgarian league game despite goalkeeper Nikolay Bankov's best efforts to ...
What They're Saying: Political science professor Fabio Wanderley Reis    
"People are not feeling represented and candidates like [Joao Leite and Alexandre Kalil], with very little political ...
USL: Nashville SC hires SUM exec Jeske    
Court Jeske, who spent eight years at MLS and Soccer United Marketing as vice president, international ...
MLS: Brad Davis joins vets who are retiring    
Brad Davis, a six-time MLS all-star and two-time MLS champion, announced Sunday that he will retire ...
NASL Rewind: Rayo OKC surges in playoff race    
With one week left in the NASL regular season, Rayo OKC, the Oklahoma club that in ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives