Kemper Arena

Government
6:03 am
Wed November 26, 2014

American Royal Withdraws Kemper Arena Replacement Proposal

The fate of Kansas City's Kemper Arena is perhaps in more doubt than ever after the American Royal Association board of directors withdrew its proposal that the arena be torn down and replaced with a smaller one.

Kansas City, Mo., city council committee chair Ed Ford received a letter from the Royal's attorneys Monday indicating that the association was scrapping its proposal and had no desire to engage in future discussions with the city.  The reason cited was "negative dialogue ... detrimental to the American Royal and its core mission."

Read more
Government
11:51 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

American Royal Kemper Plan Faces Opposition

The ongoing struggle between the Kansas City Council and the American Royal to decide what to do with Kemper Arena continues.
Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

A special committee of the Kansas City Council held its first hearing Thursday on the American Royal proposal to replace Kemper Arena. The idea of demolishing the old arena and building a smaller one met some determined opposition.

Representatives of the American Royal and Sporting Kansas City said their plan is a boost for a venerable institution, youth sports and the West Bottoms. 

Read more
Government
5:40 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Foutch Withdraws Proposal To Convert Kemper For Youth Sports

Kemper Arena
Credit Flickr, Creative Commons

A big surprise in a city council committee meeting Wednesday afternoon:

After weeks of discussions about the future of Kemper Arena and the American Royal Complex, Foutch Brothers Developers sent a statement to the council that, due to circumstances beyond its control, it no longer was able to pursue a plan to convert the aging arena into a youth sports facility.

But it's not an automatic win for an American Royal plan to tear down Kemper and replace it with a new, smaller arena, according to committee chair Ed Ford.

Read more
Government
6:46 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Consultant says Kemper Youth-Sports Plan Is Sound But Ambitious

Credit CC: SA2.5

A consultant hired by the Kansas City council to analyze whether a plan to convert Kemper arena into a youth sports and fitness complex has told a council committee the plan has great opportunities for exciting success, but Dale Neuberger of TSE Consulting also added a caveat.

"The plan is sound – albeit one that you take a ... a big gulp when you think about the monthly revenue and the monthly members. It's a lot of people and it's a lot of money. And that's somewhat the reality of doing business in this field,” Newberger said.

Read more
Kemper Arena
7:52 am
Sun October 19, 2014

American Royal Still Wants $30 Million For Kemper Plan

City council will decide if Kemper Arena should be renovated or razed soon.
Credit bizjournals.com

The city council found out Friday that they were wrong in their assumption that Cerner Founder Neal Patterson's offer to pay the costs of razing Kemper Arena to make way for a smaller facility would knock down their asking price. 

Attorney Chase Simmons told the council that despite Patterson's remark to a civic group, the American Royal Board has not reduced the amount of incentives it is asking for to $25 million.

Read more
Up to Date
1:22 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Debate Continues Over Plans For Kemper Arena

The future of Kemper Arena remains uncertain.
Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

Two competing plans are in the works for the future of Kemper Arena-- one would tear down Kemper Arena, the other would keep it.

On Friday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske discussed the two plans with Kansas City Star reporter Lynn Horsley and Kansas City Councilman Ed Ford, who is chair of the planning and zoning committee. The first plan, from the Foutch Brothers, would spend $22 million to acquire Kemper Arena from the city, then repurpose it for youth basketball, volleyball and other athletics. 

Read more
Government
7:55 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Kansas City Council Still Pondering Kemper Arena Future

Credit City of Kansas City, Mo.

A Kansas City Council Committee continues to debate the future of Kemper Arena. And this week's developments included a staff report, a consultant's opinion and a letter with a lot of signatures.

A consulting firm hired by the city filed a report saying a Foutch Brothers proposal to convert Kemper to a youth sports facility was dynamic and achievable, though challenging in part.

From those who side with the American Royal Association and would tear down the arena came a letter of endorsement signed by 75 business and civic leaders.

Read more
Community
3:37 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Developer Hoping To Save Kemper Touts Two Arenas For West Bottoms

The American Royal has a long-term lease on Kemper Arena and the surrounding complex, but the building is used most heavily during the annual barbecue contest.
Credit J.S. Clark / Flickr--CC

The developer who wants to rehab Kemper Arena and turn it into a youth sports complex made a pitch for his company's plan to a downtown lunch club Wednesday afternoon.

Steve Foutch told the Kansas City Downtowners it's possible city council members could move forward with a plan that both preserves Kemper and gives the American Royal the new arena it wants.

"Our designs show both buildings can co-exist in the location," Foutch says. "It's all about the logistics of the operation."

Read more
Development
7:21 am
Mon September 1, 2014

A Vision Of Kemper Arena As A Competitive Video Game Hub

Does the future of Kemper Arena involve competitive video games? Jase Wilson thinks it should.
Credit CC: SA2.5

The future of Kansas City’s Kemper Arena is murky. The city council is considering two proposals. One, from the American Royal, would see it torn down and replaced. The other, from the development company Foutch Brothers, would rehab it as the centerpiece of a youth sports complex. But last week, urban activist Jase Wilson wrote an open letter to the council last week with a novel proposal: Turn the arena into the Midwest’s only arena specifically designed to host competitive video game tournaments.

Read more
Government
8:54 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Tear Down Kemper Arena, American Royal Insists

The American Royal is sticking to its guns, insisting that Kemper Arena be torn down to make way for a new, smaller arena.

A council committee was looking favorably at a Foutch Brothers Developers' plan for a youth sports facility would save Kemper Arena. But the American Royal's plan now includes a youth sports aspect backed by Sporting Kansas City. And given that, plus disruption to the parking area and the annual barbecue contest, American Royal chairman Mariner Kemper says the old arena has to go.

Read more
Development
11:23 am
Wed August 13, 2014

How Kansas City's West Bottoms Went From Vacant To Vibrant

The Great Flood of 1951 caused over $1 billion (nearly $9 billion in today's dollars) in damages and completely vacated Kansas City's West Bottoms.
Missouri Valley Special Collections Kansas City Public Library

Within the old bones of big brick buildings like the Columbia Burlap & Bag Co., in Kansas City's West Bottoms, new businesses, artist studios and restaurants are finding success in an area that still looks like it belongs in the late 1800s.

One spot that's finding particular success is the 12th Street Bridge and the surrounding buildings. First Friday "Warehouse Weekends" and antique shops bring in thousands of visitors each month.

But it wasn't always this way. In fact, parts of the West Bottoms were practically deserted for nearly 40 years.

Read more
Government
7:35 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Kansas City Council Committee Hears Plan To Save Kemper Arena

A Kansas City council committee responded favorably Thursday to a proposal to convert Kemper Arena into a youth sports complex, but it's too early to declare the aging arena safe from the wrecking ball.

Developer Steve Foutch told the council committee: there's no need to tear down Kemper to make way for a new, smaller American Royal complex, there's plenty of room for two separate arenas to coexist.

Read more
Government
12:40 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

What's Next For Kemper Arena? City Council Begins Discussion

Kemper Arena, which opened in 1974, mostly serves as the American Royal venue each fall. City officials say they struggle to attract other acts and events to the West Bottoms.
Credit wikimedia commons

Of all the possible plans for Kemper Arena, the one that changes the building the least is also the least viable for the city.

"Doing nothing doesn't seem to work for anybody," Kansas City Councilman Ed Ford told members of the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee Thursday morning, kicking off a series of meetings to discuss Kemper's future.

Read more
Community
3:11 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

TIMELINE: A Look Back At 40 Years Of Kansas City's Kemper Arena

A photo of Kemper Arena during the last phases of its construction in 1974.
Missouri Valley Special Collections Kansas City Public Library

It's easy to forget about Kemper Arena.

Nestled down in the south end of the West Bottoms in Kansas City, Mo., the aging arena has seen better days. Since 2007, the Sprint Center has hosted virtually all the big-name events coming through town, leaving Kemper nearly inactive for long periods of time.

Read more
Central Standard
12:46 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

The History of Kemper Arena

The Kemper Arena has been a physical fixture in the West Bottoms since 1974.
Credit Gwen's River City Images / Flickr/CC

About four and a half decades ago, in a stunningly brief period of years, Kansas City built major public structures for air travelers, conventioneers and sports fans. All survive today, but one of them, sitting in the West Bottoms, is underutilized compared to the others.

Read more
Government
7:52 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Kansas City Council Committee To Tackle Fate Of Kemper Arena

Replace or repurpose? Rival proposals clash on aging Kemper Arena.
Credit City of Kansas City, Mo.

There will be no blue ribbon citizens panel to decide the future of Kemper Arena. The Kansas City, Mo., city council Economic Development Committee has decided to tackle the matter itself.

Read more
Central Standard
4:01 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

What Will Happen To The Kemper Arena?

Credit flickr user j.s. clark / Creative Commons

The fate of Kemper Arena is being disputed by two Kansas City parties. The American Royal would like to demolish it, as proposed in October 2011, to create room for a smaller agricultural and multipurpose center. Foutch Brothers, a Kansas City development firm, is fighting to preserve it.

Read more