The American Royal announced Tuesday that it plans to move to Kansas City, Kan., with half the cost of the new $160 million complex backed by public subsidy.
The catch? The subsidy hinges on the development of retail around it that can generate enough sales tax.
Because the American Royal will occupy a small portion of what will be a 500-acre development, that’s going to take a lot of commercial development — shopping districts, entertainment centers, restaurants, convention space.
Without a development plan or master developer yet, it all amounts to something of a speculative bet, one that government officials and others acknowledge outright. They feel confident about it, nonetheless.
The other half of the funds will come in the form of private fundraising. No fundraising timeline has been announced, but American Royal Chairwoman Angie Stanland said the association hopes to break ground on its new complex by early next year and complete construction within a couple of years.