An iconic Kansas City sports venue that hosted everything from a national political convention to rodeos and pro wrestling, to a couple of U2 tour stops will be renamed Hy-Vee Arena and transformed into a regional hub for youth sports under an agreement announced Friday.
Kemper Arena opened in 1974 as part of a decade-long construction boom that saw Kansas City add Crown Center, Kansas City International Airport, Arrowhead Stadium, and Royals (now Kauffman) Stadium. It was home to major collegiate basketball tournaments, a former NBA franchise and myriad public events.
Foutch Architecture and Development is spending $39 million to overhaul the 19,500-seat facility and has sold naming rights to Hy-Vee for what will be a home for local, regional and national sports tournaments. Hy-Vee Arena will feature one of the country’s largest indoor tracks, a 350-meter span perched over a new 52,000-square-foot second floor.
“This partnership is the intersection of sports, health, recreation, economic opportunity and civic improvement, said Drew Holmes, Hy-Vee’s senior regional vice president for the Kansas City market and southwest trade area. https://business.facebook.com/uclicktv/videos/vb.480239038713407/1948587541878542/?type=2&theater
“We are committed to projects and organizations that support these outreach goals in the cities we serve. Hy-Vee Arena is a perfect way for us to celebrate our 30 years of service in the metro area, and it will be a fitting extension of our brand in the heart of Kansas City.”
Kemper is near downtown in the West Bottoms neighborhood. The building was revolutionary at the time of construction because it did not use interior columns that might have obstructed fans’ views. In 2016, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The commitment of Hy-Vee is a symbolic step for our repurposing of this historic facility,” said Steve Foutch, chief executive officer of the development firm. “Hy-Vee embodies the criteria we set out in finding a naming rights partner and their reputation for excellence in customer service and community involvement is the ideal fit for our venue.”
The new facility will include a CrossFit gym, hydrotherapy, golf simulators, e-gaming, dining, retail and commercial offices.
When will Hy-Vee Arena open?
· Construction will be complete Sept. 11.
· The first tournament is scheduled for Sept. 20
· A grand opening weekend is planned Oct.4-7
What will go on there?
Futsal, basketball, volleyball and pickle ball, wrestling, gymnastics, cheer/dance, ballroom dancing, yoga, archery, fencing, kickball and other activities.