Kansas City has received two proposals for the redevelopment of Kemper Arena.
The city will evaluate those submissions for completeness and try to determine the future of the underused facility, Jeffrey Williams, the city’s planning director, said in an email Saturday.
Proposals were due at 11:59 p.m. Friday. Williams declined to provide further details on the proposals.
The city issued a national request for proposals in May.
The Kemper redevelopment site incorporates about 10 acres in the West Bottoms. The city will evaluate proposals based on developers’ qualifications, financial resources and ability to transform the neighborhood.
Proposals could include commercial, retail, office, residential, recreational or other ideas that would enhance the West Bottoms and contribute to greater activity and vitality.
Steve Foutch, CEO of the Kansas City-based Foutch Brothers firm, which specializes in historic renovations, confirmed that his company was one of the responders, with a proposal to convert Kemper Arena into a regional mecca for youth and adult sports.
Foutch originally had submitted a proposal to the City Council in 2014 but withdrew it after a challenge surfaced from the American Royal Association, which wanted to replace Kemper Arena with a new multipurpose facility.
The American Royal has since backed away from its new-building plan, and the city resumed its search for viable ideas to preserve and reuse Kemper Arena.
Foutch declined to provide extensive details about his latest plan but said it is “bigger and better” than his earlier plan, with even more interest from youth and family-oriented sports groups.
Foutch acknowledged that financing his proposal would be much easier if Kemper Arena could qualify for historic tax credits. That requires a historic designation by the National Park Service, which has not yet been granted. It’s far from a certainty, given its relatively young age (it opened in 1974) and changes that were made to the building in the 1990s.
An application for historic designation was submitted last year but then halted after Foutch Brothers withdrew its earlier proposal.
Elizabeth Rosin, an architectural historian, is preparing a restructured application on behalf of the Historic Kansas City Foundation to get that historic designation for Kemper Arena.
The application is not yet complete and must be submitted to the state historic preservation office of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and to the National Park Service for review and a decision.