Councilman Scott Taylor fondly remembers Kemper Arena as the place where he saw bands like Hall and Oates, Neil Diamond and Kenny Rogers (his mom forced him, he says) play. Today, he says he hopes that Hyvee Arena will help build similar memories for Kansas City families in 2018 and beyond. On Friday, Taylor took media on a quick walk through to see the progress on construction. They’re still on schedule for their Oct. 5th grand opening as well as the first few tournaments which are scheduled for September.
It will be a shock for anyone who remembers Kemper Arena as it once was. There are two floors now instead of just one, and the nosebleed section is now a place where you can easily watch basketball or watch people taking a stroll around the indoor track. What’s even more exciting for the Historic Livestock Exchange neighborhood, is the arena has already been contacted by the NBA for potentially hosting combines or training camps.
Taylor made note that “even the dirt truck shows didn’t want to come here” when it was still Kemper Arena and the city was paying about $1 million a year to do little more than keep the lights on in the place with sparse activity. Now, the building is near capacity for tenants with local restaurants and businesses already staking claim to their office spaces inside Hyvee Arena.
One of Taylor’s main hopes is that the arena can help continue the revitalization of the West Bottoms area.
He also mentioned that this arena will have adult and youth leagues going from 8 a.m. to midnight, which should help attract more foot traffic to the restaurants, stores and breweries already in place.