By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor
The American Royal Association and the Kemper family announced plans to tear down Kemper Arena and build a new Agricultural Events Center. Built in 1974, the arena was initially intended to host only American Royal events but it expanded into a full civic arena. The Kemper family provided the land and several million dollars to build the facility. The Kansas City Star reports that the decision is being embraced by all parties involved as the Kemper Arena is no longer financially viable. The Kemper family, American Royal and the local authorities agree that since the Sprint Center was built it has become the main attraction for concerts and sports.
The new center, designed by Populous, will seat between 5,000 and 6,000 people, accommodate “dirt” events and feature space for animal stalls, a covered and open-sided show ring and a specially designated area for barbecue contests according to the Kansas City Business Journal.
American Royal has a lease contract that runs through 2045, but with the city having over $70 million in liabilities to keep the facilities in place for American Royal—operating costs for the 35-year period exceeding $40 million, $20 million costs to upgrade—the reconstruction makes more sense.
The demolition and upgrades would cost around $10 million while the new construction is estimated to cost $50 million.