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Archive for Thursday, November 28, 2002

$140 million project near speedway gets go-ahead

November 28, 2002

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— A development package worth more than $140 million near Kansas Speedway has been given the green light by Wyandotte County officials.

Plans for retail stores, restaurants, a hotel and a minor league baseball stadium were approved Tuesday by the Wyandotte County Unified Board of Commissioners. Most of the project had been announced, with approval from the county seen as a final step.

The development represents a major piece of Village West " the 400 acres north and east of the speedway. Central to the mix is a 500,000-square-foot shopping center known as The Legends, to be built on 75 acres.

The shopping center will be paid for with $70 million of private money from RED Development Co., coupled with $54 million in bonds financed by sales tax revenues.

"It's a great asset to Kansas City, Kan.," said Bill Crandall of the Zimmer Cos., project manager for Village West. "It will put Kansas City, Kan., on the map."

Crandall called the project comparable in importance to attracting the Nebraska Furniture Mart and Cabela's, two giant retail establishments also near the speedway.

The new shopping center will begin opening in November 2003 and will be completely open by early 2004.

"You'll be able to shop there next year," Crandall said.

The baseball stadium will be the home of for the new Kansas City T-Bones, a member of the independent Northern League. The $10 million stadium will seat 4,450 people and is expected to be ready by the start of the season in May.

Also part of the mix is a 62-room Anniversary Inn, described as a specialty hotel. Rooms will feature themes ranging from Egypt to Romeo and Juliet.

The hotel will be financed by $4.5 million of private money and $2.6 million in bonds paid by sales tax revenues.

"It's not like anything in Kansas City," said commercial real estate developer Steve Beaumont. "I hope it will be a source of community pride."

Construction is not limited to outside the speedway.

Crews are busy installing 1,500 new seats along the entrance of Turn One, which will take capacity to more than 80,000. The seats are expected to be completed in time for the June 2003 races.

The speedway, opened in 2001, is owned by the International Speedway Corp., which is financing the expansion. Plans for the speedway call for eventual seating capacity to reach 150,000.

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