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Crossroads property developer sees downtown Royals stadium as boon, not bust

Matt Abbott - Crossroads developer
Posted at 11:19 PM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 00:19:56-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This is the last night until the April 2nd vote on whether or not a downtown stadium will be moving into Kansas City's Crossroads district.

As the deadline looms, a local property owner and developer is shares his stance.

Matt Abbott's been in the redevelopment game for the last 20 years, well before the charm of the Crossroads was widely recognized.

In fact, he'd argue its evolution, something he's played a hand in, is precisely what makes the Crossroads feel so happening.

"As areas and spaces and cities evolve, you have to be willing to embrace change," Abbott said.

He says he first invested in downtown Kansas City because he believes a growing city needs a strong core. He says he helped strengthen it by turning old, broken buildings into space for businesses.

Now more than a dozen of them may be uprooted.

"I think it caught a lot of people off guard," he said. "And so when you catch people off-guard and there's change, and they didn't have all the facts and the communication it started a lot of fear."

But unlike many who've shared their opposition on the stadium, Abbott said he's not going to stand in the way.

In fact, he invites the stadium, seeing it as a crucial part of that strengthened city core.

"A lot of people that are very supportive have remained quiet or sat on the sidelines even though they believe in it," he said. “I think there’s a lot of people that do know the Crossroads, but I think that this brings a whole new tourist, or a whole new person that knows nothing about the Crossroads, that comes down to a Royals game and then gets to explore the Crossroads and find businesses that they’ve never tried before. And I think that’s a special opportunity for the Crossroads and for the Kansas City community.”

Abbott does stand to make money if the Royals raze his properties, but he says that compared to the rest of his much larger property portfolio, it wouldn't be a huge financial difference-maker for him.

He says his ultimate goal is the health and development of the larger area.

"My long-term plan is how to bring people back to the urban core and how to make community happen," Abbott said.

He also brought up a comparison to other downtown ballparks.

"There's an energy. People are walking up and down the streets. There's a liveliness to it," he said. "You're not just going to the game, parking and then leaving afterwards. You're going to the game, you're getting there early, you're having a drink, you're going out to grab a bite to eat. You’re walking around, you’re exploring our community.”

He says he's offering relocation to new Crossroads developments of his for his tenants that may have to move locations.

As for ones that don't have to move, he expects construction, a primary complaint from opposition, may not be as disruptive as others have said.

“I actually owned properties underneath and all around the MLS stadium when it was built in St. Louis" he said. "Construction really had very minimal impact on all of our tenants in that neighborhood. I just don’t think that construction is as big of a deal as people think it is."

He says his goal, the part of his vision a stadium completes, is a thriving economic core.

"You know, I'm not trying to convince anyone whether they should vote yes or they should vote no," he said. "What I do believe is that this is our community and you should take the time to understand the facts and not just the rumors and the stories that have been spread out there."