Kansas City Council sells Kemper Arena

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kemper Arena officially has a new owner.

Kansas City Council authorized the transfer of the once-famous venue Thursday to Foutch Brothers for $1.

Now, the developer has plans turning the arena into an all-inclusive sports complex. It’s a redevelopment plan expected to cost nearly $30 million.

“You are going to have to want to go there and drive all the way from all around the metro area. It’s not just your local convenience that’s why we are not just your average practice facility,” said Steve Foutch, CEO of development firm Foutch Brothers.

Foutch’s plan calls for turning the arena, which will be known as Mosaic Arena, into a two-level facility. It will consist of a lower level with 3,500 seats and an upper level with 5,000 seats. There will be an indoor track as well as 12 basketball courts that will be able to be transformed into spaces for different sports and events, such as gymnastics or wrestling and volleyball competitions. Additionally, there will be space for offices, retail and a health clinic.

“It’s going to be much more than a place to practice, play your sport and leave,” said Julie Rischer, the general manager.

There are dozens of sports facilities in the metro area. Overland Park, for example, has a soccer complex. The city of Lenexa has several softball fields.

“I definitely don't see a demand for youth sports tapering off in the future or going backwards,” said Kathy Nelson, president and CEO of the Kansas City Sporting Commission and Foundation.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Nelson said youth sports has exploded and continues to increase in popularity. Cities, including Kansas City, are constantly looking for ways to host new tournaments.

“When parents go to these tournaments they spend money on hotels and food. There’s always an extra dollar being spent and that’s why you want those events,” she said. “You want them to come, you want them to stay here, play here.”

Although plans for Mosiac Arena include tournaments, Foutch said he also wants the arena to be used year-round.

“You have to have this much throughout to be able to offer the next set of services,” Foutch said.

Construction is expected to begin in May and take one year. Already, the arena is 40 percent pre-leased.

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Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.

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