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Hope Springs Eternal – Will New KC Baseball Stadium Replace Missouri Mall?

March 27, 2024 3 mins

It is said that hope springs eternal for baseball fans this time of year. Even for long-suffering Pirates fans.

Could it be that there is also hope for a long-suffering shopping mall in Independence, MO? The subject property is the Independence Center.

That property once backed a $200 million loan. About five years ago, that loan took a nearly $150 million bath when Simon Property threw in the towel on the mall. The collateral was sold to IGP Business Group for $57 million, creating a big loss.

Recently, the Kansas City Business Journal reported that IGP has put the property on the market. The city of Independence wants the Royals to consider the location for the team’s new ballpark. The property spans more than 65 acres near Interstate 70 and Missouri Highway 291.

(Image from Lightbox LandVision of the area)

The play could be a longshot, however, and more recent reports seem to all but shut that option down. The Royals are looking for a stadium in downtown Kansas City. An early-April vote on sales tax to fund the stadium will likely determine if that development proceeds.

The matter is far from certain. There are no assurances that the April 2nd vote will pass. Polls ahead of the vote show about a 50-50 split. The Kansas City Area Development Council has been pushing hard for a “yes” vote.

The new downtown stadium would involve eliminating properties hosting plenty of small businesses. That will weigh on government tax revenue in the short term, which may also influence the vote.

A LandVision aerial shot of the area where the new stadium is being considered is shown. The image includes a highlighted parcel, The Green Dirt (1601 Oak St), one of the many businesses threatened by the new stadium.

There are two ways to play the vote for intrepid developers.  For those that believe the vote will pass, there will probably be a considerable opportunity to redevelop nearby properties as the surrounding area gentrifies.

For even more adventurous developers – those betting that the April 2 vote fails – options become wide open, that could include opening up the opportunity for Independence, should the vote fail. For speculators, there is undeveloped space east of the Independence Center that could be ripe for front-running a new stadium development in Independence.

A deeper dive into the area reveals some interesting context about the land in Independence, MO. According to LandVision, there are 4,275 “bare dirt” sites in Independence, with more than 300 of those sites being larger than half an acre, within a two-mile radius of the Independence Center Mall.

In that same radius, there are 117 parcels that are more than half an acre in size that currently have an existing asset on them, but the improvement percentage ratio is less than 35% – making it a potentially valuable redevelopment opportunity. Within a two-mile radius, there are 41 shopping centers, 18 lodges/hotels, and 91 restaurants based on the points of interest data from LandVision, making it a good location for visitors for potential future games.

Stay tuned for the outcome (and Let’s Go Mets).

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