Kansas City issued a nationwide request for proposals on Wednesday to groups interested in repurposing Kemper Arena, and Foutch Brothers LLC has indicated it’s ready with a new, improved vision for the aging arena in Kansas City’s West Bottoms district.
Foutch Brothers, a Kansas City-based development firm, previously proposed a $22 million plan to turn the city-owned arena into a youth sports complex. However, the American Royal Association, which has a lease granting it the right to use Kemper Arena for 20 days a year for the next three decades, opposed that idea.
Since then, however, the American Royal announced it will move its annual World Series of Barbecue to Kansas City’s Truman Sports Complex. Then Kansas City said it would use a $20 million subsidy, initially earmarked for a new American Royal facility, on a downtown hotel instead.
That has sparked speculation that the American Royal could leave the West Bottoms altogether, which would open the door to proposals like the new plan from Foutch Brothers.