Kansas Projects Get Boosts

A proposed entertainment district that would include an 8,000-seat arena in Overland Park, Kan., is closer to fruition after the city secured $49.4 million in public financing from the state. That apparently makes the project the leader in the race to build an arena in suburban Kansas City.

Overland Park’s $151 million project is expected to be built by RED Development. The state bond – which would be repaid by sales taxes in the district – comes with nine conditions, the most significant being that the city reach an agreeement with the developers.

RED Development has requested $30 million in tax incentives from the city, including $6 million to buy the arena site, although the city would own and operate the arena. RED would provide an additional $71.8 million for the project.

Greg Musil, an attorney for the developers, said the state funding was a “huge boost” to resolving the other financial aspects of the deal.

If the venue is built, the Kansas City Knights minor-league basketball team and Kansas City Comets indoor soccer team say they will move from their current digs in Kansas City, Mo.

Meanwhile, the suburb of Olathe, Kan., which has had a new arena on its agenda since 2000, got $50 million in state bonds in September, but developers were hoping for $159 million in bonds. Also, voters in Kansas City, Mo., approved a $170 million bond issue in August to cover some of the cost of building a $225 million 18,000-seat arena.