Company eyes $225-250M arena in K.C.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Los Angeles-based company plans to invest $50 million to build a new downtown arena, and hopes to bring an NBA or NHL team to Kansas City.
"I can assure you that there will be an anchor tenant," Timothy Leiweke, vice president of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, said Wednesday. "We have had conversations specifically with those leagues' franchises. I don't think there's a better time to get involved with a National Hockey League team than now."
The company is controlled by Philip Anschutz, a Denver billionaire who owns the Los Angeles Kings and several teams in Major League Soccer. Anschutz also owns part of the Los Angeles Lakers and their arena, Staples Center.
The 18,500-20,000-seat arena will cost $225-250 million and will be called the Sprint Center, after the suburban Overland Park, Kan.-based telecommunications firm, which has agreed to purchase the naming rights.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches will also invest $10 million in the project, and move its headquarters from Overland Park to the facility and open a college basketball hall of fame on site.
Private contributions will cover nearly half of the arena's total cost. The rest will come from assorted tax credits and license fees, including a $1.50 per occupied room per day hotel fee and $4 per day fee on rental cars. Mayor Kay Barnes said the project won't break ground until voters approve those two new fees, which will appear on the August ballot.
A consortium of several Kansas City-based sports architecture firms have said they plan to bid for the arena's design contract. Also expected the bid is a group led by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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