After 117 years in the West Bottoms, the American Royal Association will move to new facilities in a $160 million complex to be developed across the state line in Wyandotte County.
The move to a site immediately northwest of Kansas Speedway in the Village West retail and entertainment district was announced officially Tuesday afternoon at the Speedway, where the annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue will kick off Wednesday.
After Kansas City officials dragged their heels on a $60 million American Royal plan to raze Kemper Arena and replace it with a smaller events center two years ago, the growing barbecue contest moved out of the West Bottoms because of space constraints. Now, the American Royal seeks wider open spaces to grow all of its agricultural and educational events in partnership with Kansas and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., American Royal Chairwoman Angie Stanland said.
Eileen Hawley, communications director for Gov. Sam Brownback’s office, confirmed that Kansas sales tax revenue, or STAR, bonds “will be used as the primary economic development tool for the project.”
“We’ll invest up to $80 million in STAR bonds over a 20-year bond term,” Hawley said.
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