Proposal to save Kemper ends

Used under a Creative Commons agreement courtesy CC BY-SA 2.5.

Used under a Creative Commons agreement courtesy CC BY-SA 2.5.

The Foutch Brothers company has withdrawn from a proposal to redevelop Kemper Arena and the city is moving toward a plan that calls for its demolition.

That comes after the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development committee has held hearings on the two options for months.

Today, Councilman Ed Ford read a letter at the committee meeting in which Foutch announced its withdrawal due to circumstances beyond its control.

Ford said a city council resolution will be introduced Thursday that calls for a new round of public hearings on the remaining proposal by the American Royal Association.

But Ford said the city will only put $20 million toward that project, not the requested $30 million.

That is because a city financial study found that current expenditures for the Royal and Kemper could support $20 million, Ford said.

The American Royal proposal calls for for $5 million for Kemper demolition, $5 million for improvements to its other facilities and $50 million for a smaller building to replace Kemper.

It also said it would provide more space for youth sports events than what was then the competing plan.

The Foutch plan was for a $22 million renovation of Kemper into a youth sports operation. The company did not say in its letter why it was withdrawing its effort, which was supported by historic preservationists trying to save Kemper.

Today at the committee meeting, Robb Heineman, CEO of Sporting Club, the parent organization of Sporting Kansas City, spoke in favor of the American Royal proposal.

His group could work with them to provide sporting outlets for youth and adults, he said.

“This is really a good catalyst to try to redevelop the West Bottoms,” he said.


  1. Diane Capps says:

    This is outrageous! This country needs to stop tearing down perfectly sound buildings, dumping them in the landfill and starting over!!! As a preservationist I am outraged by this! I hope another company comes forward to offer saving the iconic Kemper Arena!!!

Leave a Comment