Who Wants to Buy Kemper?

The end continues to approach for Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. A City Council committee approved a plan to eventually put the 40 year old arena up for sale.

The City’s manager’s office will draw up a request for proposals to see if anyone, anywhere,wants to buy the facility.

The building was replaced by the modern Sprint Center in 2007. Since then, business and events have dwindled. The city now callsKemper “surplus property ‘.

“That means no other city department can use the property. It’s excess. The city doesn’t need it,” said Councilman Ed Ford.

Ford says Kansas City’s American Royal show, Kemper’s last consistent tenant, has announced it is no longer interested in buying the building. The Royal wanted the City to tear Kemper down and pay for half of a smaller replacement building.

Another proposal to convert the arena into a two-floor youth sports center was also withdrawn.

Former City Councilman Dan Cofran has been resisting Kemper’s destruction. He is pleased with the decision to seek another buyer. Cofran, however, concedes he’s not sure who is interested.

“I do not have specifics. It’s important for the process to get underway. And this is where you begin it,” he said.

Kansas City still owes more than $4 million in bond payments from a remodeling project in the 1990’s. The finals bond payments will be made next spring.
Just bare maintenance of the building would cost the city nearly a million dollars a year.

The request for proposals should be drawn up within a few weeks. Ford says the City will hunt for a buyer for about 90 days.

“If there is none, then the next City Council will have to decide whether or not to tear it down or preserve it,” according to Ford

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