KANSAS CITY, MO — When the Kansas City Royals announced Tuesday theteam will be leaving Kauffman Stadium, speculation about the Royals new ballpark immediately followed suit.
While there are many areas the team is considering their new ballpark, many believe the club will move west on Interstate 70 to a new downtown ballpark.
Leaders in the downtown business scene talked to KSHB 41 about what impact a downtown ballpark could mean for the area.
“Investments in an urban area are catalytic,” said Bill Dietrich, President, CEO of the Downtown Council. ”We are already alive and to add a ballpark would just be another added feature."
Dietrich says businesses are excited about a big project coming to downtown Kansas City.
“We think it will have a great benefit for existing business,” said Dietrich. "Two to three million more customers a year at your restaurants, at your pubs, at your art galleries.”
Dietrich says the possibility of a downtown ballpark also could increase the downtown population.
“We have 33,400 people that live here today, we have 123,000 employees in downtown today,” said Dietrich. “It will accelerate that residential growth, it’ll accelerate business development to support the kind of business that’s here today.”
Dan Walsh, Managing Partner at Spokes Cafe, says he is excited about the possibility of a downtown ball park.
"One destination spurs all kinds of economic development, all the way around, which is what we are looking forward to as well,” Walsh said, “It's not about the ballpark, it's about all the things around the ball park too.”
Sam Hagan, owner and operator of Tribe Street Kitchen and Block 15 Tavern and Exchange, says the idea of sports coming to downtown KC is what prompted him to open his new business, Block 15, in July.
“As a sports fan, that was the real reason I built this bar," said Hagan. "I think happy hours are going to be a huge thing for us now, whenever it is all done and more people coming into town for games staying downtown because they are going to the games.”