UG Endorses Royal’s STAR-Bond Request

Wyandotte County’s Unified Government has signed off on a request for state approval of STAR bonds for the American Royal Association, which is planning to turn a 112-acre site in Kansas City, Kan., into a national center for agribusiness.

The Royal announced plans last year to move its headquarters from the its historic home on the Missouri side, following years of failed efforts to reach an agreement with Kansas City regarding site improvements.

The board of commissioners for the UG unanimously agreed to ask Commerce Secretary Nick Jordan to approve use of the sales-tax revenue bonds. STAR bonds helped spur retail growth in western Wyandotte County since their introduction to help finance the Kansas Speedway nearly 20 years ago. The bonds offset significant portions of project costs, and are repaid from sales taxes collected from establishments created by the development.

The Royal plans to spend more than $165 million on its new complex, with slightly less than half the financing coming from STAR bonds. The site, immediately northwest of the Speedway grounds near Village West, would feature an arena with seating for up to 8,000 and a smaller venue of roughly 2,000 seats, plus 300,000 square feet of space for displays and exhibitions, and an education center.

In tandem with the new headquarters of Dairy Farmers of America near the Village West complex and the Royal’s new facilities, additional acreage could be used to help recruit other national agribusiness’ headquarters to the region.