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Economist, KCMO business discuss lease agreements, negotiations as Royals weigh new ballpark location

Caroline Hogan and Austin Mosier of 12th Street Post
Posted at 4:45 PM, Sep 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-13 14:54:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals are still making their decision as to where they will move their new stadium: stay in Jackson County, or move to Clay County.

If they were to move out of the county, that would mean negotiating with Jackson County to get out of their current lease, which ends in 2031.

While the Royals are on a much bigger scale, lease negotiations are something businesses deal with on a daily basis.

KSHB 41 News reporter Caroline Hogan talked to one to see how they would handle breaking a lease.

Austin Mosier is not only the owner of the West Bottoms Plant Company, but also the owner of 12th Street Post, where he runs his small business, along with other artists that rent from him.

"For us as a business, I would definitely say it would be harder for us to get out of our lease as the building than the people that rent from us," Mosier said.

They don't intend on leaving, but hypothetically, he thinks breaking a lease would includes fees and a legal battle.

Austin Mosier, owner of West Bottoms Plant Co. and 12th Street Post

"And according to the lease, we would also be like liable for like all the legal fees and stuff," Mosier said.

But, he wants things to be easier for his renters.

"If we wanted to break our lease, it’s like 60 day notice, and generally you have to pay a couple months of rent upfront," Mosier said. "If they signed a year lease and needed to leave at eight months, we wouldn’t, like, trap them here for another two or three months."

It's definitely a softer approach compared to other commercial lease agreements. If the Royals want to move out of Jackson County, it would take a lot more than 60 days notice.

KSHB 41 talked to economist Frank Lenk. He's the economist who did an economic-impact study on the city/county in the 1990s when the Royals first discussed moving.

Frank Lenk, economist

If the Royals tried to end their lease early and move to Clay County, they'd have to negotiate to Jackson County and Kansas City for the pro-rated bond payments and potential lost tax revenue. That's something Link made clear.

"Certainly, lost sales tax revenue, the lost earnings tax revenue would be in there," Lenk said. "The bonds still need to be paid off. They would still be liable for those. So, whatever is left on that does make the most sense to me."

It's potentially millions of dollars.

Mosier wants to avoid that, and keep a close relationship with his renters, because he knows just how fragile small businesses are.

"(We) want what’s best for every body as well, and if the space doesn’t like work for somebody else, we would also just want them to find something that works better for them," Mosier said.