The long-awaited Missouri tax credits to help finance Kemper Arena’s redevelopment have been approved.
Developer Steve Foutch said Tuesday he had just received a letter from the Missouri Department of Economic Development confirming the state historic tax credits to help finance the project. Foutch had hoped to get those tax credits in the last fiscal year, but the state reached its yearly tax credit cap early. So he had to wait until afer the start of the new fiscal year, July 1.
Foutch said both state and federal historic tax credits should help cover about one-third of the project’s cost, which has increased to an estimated $39 million.
Kemper Arena was listed on the National Register of Historic Places last September, making it eligible for historic tax credits for qualified building rehabilitation portions of the project.
In its heyday, Kemper was home to Kansas City’s pro basketball and hockey teams and hosted the 1976 Republican National Convention. But it has languished since the Sprint Center opened in 2007, and Kemper Arena has been virtually mothballed for several years.
The ultimate goal is to repurpose Kemper as a private regional amateur sports and entertainment center, offering a wide array of sports and fitness activities. Foutch said a long list of tenants is lined up. Many weekend events are already booked starting next summer, and the building is 50 percent pre-leased. The naming rights sponsor is Mosaic Life Care, and the arena will be renamed Mosaic Arena.
Foutch is auctioning off arena items that are not needed in the new facility. But he doesn’t yet have possession of the building, and the auction sales won’t be completed until the real estate transfer from the city closes.
The city said this week it is tying up some loose ends before the closing can occur. Foutch said he needs possession as soon as possible to start construction. The first event in the new facility is already scheduled for July 7-14, 2018.