KANSAS CITY (CelebrityAccess) — The National Park Service has moved to add the Kemper Arena to the National Register of Historic Places, a move that was seen as a pivotal element in the venue's future.
According to the Kansas City Star, the listing will make the arena eligible for historic tax credits that will pave the way for the arena's repurposing.
“This was the key component,” City Manager Troy Schulte said, according to The Star. “It allows us to move forward.”
The city plans to transfer the arena to the real estate developer Foutch Brothers by the end of this year. Foutch needs the historic tax credits to finance their planned $30 million redevelopment of the venue.
As previously reported in CelebrityAccess, Foutch Brothers plans to convert the Kemper into a large amateur sports and recreation facility, which will be renamed following a sponsorship deal with regional health care company Mosaic Life Care.
The plan to save the Kemper is a dramatic turnaround after years of debate about demolishing the aged arena. Originally opened in 1974, the Kemper saw its last major upgrade in 1997 when a glass enclosed east lobby was added, along with expanded event seating and guest amenities. However, increasingly costly maintenance at the venue, the loss of tenants and events to more modern venues such as The Sprint Center, seemed to spell the end for the storied arena.
“I’m excited to watch Foutch Brothers breath new life into the building,” historic preservationist Elizabeth Rosin, who prepared the application for the Kemper's national historic designation told The Star. – Staff Writers