Thursday, September 6, 2007

Lots of Money

That is what is involved in a proposal to build a stadium for the Wizards and a mixed-use development on the former grounds of the Bannister Mall.

I would love for the Wizards to have a new stadium. I would love for that stadium to be in Missouri. I would love to see the mall building and the couple of hundred acres of pavement around it redeveloped. I would love for the area my grandparents lived when I was a kid to get new life.

But I would also love for Kansas City not to cost itself a large chunk of change on a project with questionable prospects. There are still serious questions about the viability of the downtown project, so shouldn't we see which way that one goes before committing to a similar proposition? In the Star article there are comparisons to the Kansas Speedway project. There are two problems with that analogy.

The first is that the Kansas Speedway draws as many people to one event as the soccer stadium is likely to draw to anywhere between 4 and 6 matches. Of course, the Wizards stadium likely wouldn't be the biggest draw in the complex. The 12 field "tournament-style" soccer complex would potentially bring in families with little soccer players from spring through fall. But is that traffic the same kind of traffic as the people coming to watch a sporting event? Do parents with 5 games in two days have time to hit Cabela's or Nebraska Furniture Mart?

That leads us to the second problem; the Speedway development already exists. What businesses can go into a new development site that aren't already at either the Speedway or going in downtown? How many destination shopping districts can a city use?

I don't know the answers to these questions. I just want to know that someone who can find the answers will really give them some consideration before we proceed.

(Tony thinks it might work given the quite funny "Country Music" theory.)

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