KANSAS CITY, Kan.(AP) — A property developer working for the
company that owns Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards has
proposed building an 18,500-seat soccer stadium near Kansas
City, Kan., that could open by 2011 and would sink plans to use
the stadium to revitalize a neighborhood across the border in
Kansas City, Mo.
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City,
Kan., was scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the $414
million proposal. Lane4 Properties Group, the developer working
for Wizards owner OnGoal LLC, is seeking to use existing sales
tax revenue bonds, or STAR bonds, to pay for the project.
The project, which would be built near the Kansas Speedway,
would include the soccer stadium, an amateur sports complex with
at least 12 athletic fields, and an office complex that could
accommodate 4,000 workers for Cerner, a fast-growing medical
software company based in North Kansas City, Mo.
City officials in Kansas City, Mo., had hoped to use a new
Wizards stadium to anchor the revitalization of the city’s
Bannister Mall area. The city had been working on a $1 billion
plan to build a mixed-used project at the defunct mall. The City
Council approved a redevelopment plan in December 2007 that
included $273.3 million in city and sales tax incentives, to be
repaid with new tax revenues from the retail portion of the
project, according to The Kansas City Star,
When financial markets collapsed a few months later, Lane4
sought additional incentives to move forward with at least the
stadium and an amateur soccer complex. But the city, facing
financial troubles of its own, was unwilling to pledge its
credit to back the bond.
Rob Heineman, president of OnGoal – whose ownership group
includes Cerner co-founders Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig -
said the most recent proposal put forth by Kansas City, Mo.,
wouldn’t allow the team to meet its target of being in the new
stadium by 2011.
Wyandotte County officials said Village West has been generating
about $40 million a year in sales tax revenue. At that rate, it
is expected to repay the original STAR bond in late 2013 or
2014, six years ahead of schedule.
By using existing STAR bond revenues through 2020, as originally
planned, the Wizards stadium and office project could be funded
without needing any new revenue stream.