Kansas City puts College Basketball Experience loan relief request on hold

The College Basketball Experience is downtown, next to the Sprint Center.
The College Basketball Experience is downtown, next to the Sprint Center. rsugg@kcstar.com

In December, operators of the College Basketball Experience asked Kansas City government officials to forgive $600,000 of a $1.1 million loan.

But that request is now on hold while the organization explores other financing options. An ordinance authorizing the loan termination was withdrawn Wednesday from the City Council docket.

Finance Committee chairman Scott Wagner said Wednesday that he has asked the operators of the facility, located next to the downtown Sprint Center, to consider other approaches. Wagner previously had expressed concerns about that level of loan relief and said he wants the city to eventually get paid back, although it could be over a longer time period.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation received the loan to complete construction on the fan-interactive attraction in 2007, with payments of about $86,000 due each year through 2023.

Officials said the facility has been successful, but they curtailed youth parties after a July 4 incident involving a shooting, and that took a toll on revenue.

They were seeking the loan relief to free up money for building improvements.

Wagner said there may be a way to reduce and spread out payments over more years, but the operators are also working with other partners on solutions. He said the city may hear back from the group in May.

“We are looking at all the options,” said Jerry Riffel, attorney for the operators. “We are still looking at ways to increase capital funding. We’re a sound organization. … We’re going to be working internally on our capital fund planning.”

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley