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Kansas City Royals CEO announces vision to build $2 billion downtown 'ballpark district'

 John Sherman said in an open letter to fans and the community that the upkeep at Kauffman Stadium by the time the lease is up in 2031 will amount to as much or more than what it would cost to build a new ballpark. Above, an artist rendering of a new stadium near downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
Artist rendering
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Kansas City Royals
John Sherman said in an open letter to fans and the community that the upkeep at Kauffman Stadium by the time the lease is up in 2031 will amount to as much or more than what it would cost to build a new ballpark. Above, an artist rendering of a new stadium near downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Sherman signaled his intent to leave the team's home at the Truman Sports Complex when the current lease is up, saying a new ballpark would be a "far better investment."

In an open letter to baseball fans and the community, Kansas City Royals chairman and CEO John Sherman confirmed what he had been hinting since the team was purchased from the David Glass family: the Royals are moving into the Kansas City, Missouri, downtown area.

A site has not been finalized yet, but Sherman says several locations for a new stadium and a surrounding ballpark district are under consideration.

“When its current lease in Jackson County concludes at the end of this decade (in 2031), it will be 60 years old,” Sherman stated in the letter. “The renovations required at The K (Kauffman Stadium) to achieve our objectives would cost as much or more than the price tag to develop a new ballpark.”

Sherman said the club will be seeking public input over the next approaching months.

In addition to a ballpark, Sherman said he envisioned shops, hotels, restaurants and affordable housing options.

The total price tag projects to surpass $2 billion.

“To accomplish this move, our plans will be contingent on continuing our public-private partnership and investment with multiple local jurisdictions and the state of Missouri," Sherman said. He added that the club intends to invest hundreds of millions of dollars directly into the project.

Sherman said the Royals will not ask Jackson County citizens to pay more tax dollars than what they already do in the current lease.

Kauffman Stadium opened in 1973.

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Ever since he set foot on the baseball diamond at Fernwood Park on Chicago's South Side, Greg Echlin began a love affair with the world of sports. After graduating from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, he worked as a TV sports anchor and a radio sportscaster in Salina, Kansas. He moved to Kansas City in 1984 and has been there since covering sports. Through the years, he has covered multiple Super Bowls, Final Fours and Major League Baseball's World Series and All-Star games.