Friday, August 22, 2008

Costs Rising (Stadium Problems?)

An article has come out today in the KC Business Journal talking about the redevelopment of the 3 Trails area, that includes the construction of the Wizards soccer specific stadium. Unfortunately, it's not good news. Due to the increase in construction costs recently, Lane4, OnGoal, and the other redevelopers are having to up their request for state tax credits from $10 million to $30 million. It was originally thought that the only thing left was the approval of the Department of Economic Development (DED) to release the funding. Now that shows not to be the case, as the director of that department, Gregory Steinhoff is also on the Missouri Development Finance Board, meaning that the DED won't approve their end until this is sorted out. The board will meet on the 16th of September.

While there is confidence from the lawyer representing the developers that this will pass, this is still not a good sign in today's economy, when you have to ask for more money. It's also not a good sign for the entire area as a whole, because as Robb Heineman says in the article, a long delay or denial of the funds could kill the project, leaving the area again to remain undeveloped. No development there will just continue to send the area even further down than it is already going. My understanding of the mall itself, is that it is basically beyond repair at this point. Bobcat's have been inside tearing out anything and everything that people can tear out. All the copper is basically gone, the aluminum escalator stairs are basically all gone as well. From news reports, there are people living in the mall, there's no way even Richard Tolbert could say the mall could be brought back successfully now.

Should the board not approve the funding, the Wizards will go back to searching for a site, likely on the Kansas side, in the suburbs (Olathe possibly).

And it didn't take long for the Wizards to have a report out in response to the article in the Business Journal. Bob Rusert from MLSnet has an article up today that includes quotes from Greg Cotton in regards to the stadium situation, Cotton, general counsel for the Wizards says the "snag" isn't as big as the report makes it seem to be. The article certainly came out in a timely manor, as the tone of the article helps to calm some people who were worried after reading the KC Business Journal article.


Reepicheep said...

Mike, I know you don't like the idea of a stadium being on the Kansas side, and I don't dispute your logic after listening to it. Still, the time it will take to tear down Bannister and put up a stadium is time we need to build the support of the Wizards now. This isn't even to mention the Bannister perception problems. If they can start on a Kansas side site right away, we might be in to the stadium before 2010.

Why not up near the race track? I like where CAB is, I just don't like CAB.

Of course living in Olathe would make it nice for me, but I do want my Missouri brethren and sistern to have good access.

Your thoughts?

Mike said...

My thoughts are that the Bannister stadium will still happen, I don't doubt that. I have a little more jitters then I did before today but nothing that will sway me from believing the stadium will go there.

As for building in a site right away on the Kansas side, I don't think there is a site like that. To go up by the racetrack, the team would likely have to fund the entire stadium themselves, as WyCo isn't going to be getting any more STAR Bonds from the state of Kansas for a while after both the Legends and the track going in there. The county isn't going to help either after funding those two things. The rumors of the KS site had been the Great Mall site, but that would run into the same tearing down the mall time frame as we would at Bannister.

Personally I'm still of the mind that this is the best site, it's as close to the population center of this metro area as we're likely going to get. And with gas not going to go back down below $3 probably ever again, having the stadium in a central location remains, in my opinion, the best option.

Anonymous said...

Seeing That the Great Mall of the Great Plains is no longer for sale. I doubt if the new owners bought it just to resell it to a Wizard lead ownership group.
If the Hillcreast devolepement group was interested in The Great Mall location they would have purchased it 3 months ago.

Remember Johnson County decide to show the KC metro area that they have no intention of paying for a SS. They had their chance and voted against developing a Stadium.

Anonymous said...

Gas is $2.99 here in wichita today...

Mike said...

Shows how good of an economist I am doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Yep, I just thought it was funny!
I am excited to go to a new stadium, I haven't been to CAB yet, I have made it to three games at Arrowhead in the past two years (the L.A. game was fun!) I hope the stadium gets started/finished soon! thanks for keeping us up to date!