American Royal to relocate to $160M complex in KCK

After 117 years in the West Bottoms district of Kansas City, Mo., the American Royal Association will move to new facilities in a $160 million complex to be developed across the state line in Wyandotte County.

American Royal board members joined Gov. Sam Brownback, Unified Government Mayor Mark Holland and business leaders like Cerner Corp. co-founder Cliff Illig on Tuesday to announce the American Royal’s plans for a new complex for the agricultural trade group in western Wyandotte County.

After Kansas City officials dragged their heels on a $60 million American Royal plan to raze Kemper Arena and replace it with a smaller events center two years ago, the American Royal Barbecue moved out of the West Bottoms because of space constraints. Now, the American Royal seeks wider open spaces to grow all of its agricultural and educational events.

The $160 million project would consist of two arenas, one that would seat 5,000 to 8,000 visitors, and another with about 2,000 seats for smaller events. It would also include a 300,000-square-foot display and exhibition space and an education center.

A representative from Brownback’s office confirmed that Kansas sales tax revenue bonds “will be used as the primary economic development tool for the project.”

Read more: Kansas City Business Journal, Kansas City Star

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