Construction of $160M Wizards Soccer Stadium Underway in Kansas City
- Mar 24, 2010
March 24, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Plans for the development of a new stadium for Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards have not been sidetracked by the recession or the credit crunch. Turner Construction Co., tapped by team owner OnGoal L.L.C., has commenced development of the $160 million project, which is being financed predominantly through STAR bonds issued by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas.
Located within the mixed-use Village West retail destination near Kansas Speedway, the 365,000-square-foot Wizards Stadium will feature 18,000 seats. In addition to serving as a new home for the soccer team, which is temporarily housed at the Community America Ballpark at Village West, the new venue will accommodate multiple uses, including other field sports events and concerts. The stadium is being developed as part of a larger project with Cerner Corp., which will construct a 600,000-square-foot office complex to house as many as 4,500 of its employees.
Both the Wizard Stadium and the Cerner office campus projects dovetail with Wyandotte County’s primary pursuit. “What’s most important are jobs, jobs, jobs; I can’t emphasize that enough,” Edwin Birch, Public Information Officer with the Unified Government, told CPE.
Together, the developments will ultimately bring approximately 8,000 jobs to the area. “The collaboration of the United Government Commission and state government played a key role in allocating money to facilitate the project,” Birch said. “What’s unique is that, during difficult economic times, they were able to work and look forward to progress. That’s commendable.”
In October 2009, the Kansas Department of Commerce authorized an incentives package for the Cerner/Wizards endeavor that included the approval of the United Government’s issuance of STAR bonds, as well as economic development tax credits and job incentives.
“The question has always been: What can we do to improve and sustain our community?” Birch said. “The answer is bringing jobs. And by bringing more jobs, people will need housing and retail options, so this is very positive for the area’s long-term economic prospects.”
Bonds have recently added fuel to another stadium project. The sale of $92 million in bonds allowed construction of parking facilities for the new $500 million Florida Marlins Stadium in Miami to move forward with the February selection of Suffolk Construction Co. to handle the project.