Populous is reimagining GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs

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Populous is reimagining GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs

Aerial view of revamped Arrowhead Stadium (Populous/Courtesy Kansas City Chiefs)

Less than one month after its second-consecutive Super Bowl win, the Kansas City Chiefs officials have released plans for a major renovation of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The sports team didn’t have to look far for an architecture team capable of revamping their home turf: they turned to Kansas City–based Populous.

Arrowhead Stadium was completed in 1972 by architect Charles Deaton and Kivett & Myers, a local firm. This latest renovation, slated to cost upward of $800 million will center on improving circulation, adding new amenities, and xreating new pedestrian areas. Kansas City Chiefs owner Mike Hunt has pledged $300 million in private money for the project, and pending an upcoming vote, the remaining $500 million may be financed by Missouri tax payers.

parking lots around Kansas City Chiefs stadium
Areas for parking and ridesharing will added around the stadium. (Populous/Courtesy Kansas City Chiefs)

Populous’s current scheme delivers new pedestrian areas throughout the Truman Sports Complex, a destination the Chiefs share with the Kansas City Royals—who recently unveiled plans for a shiny new stadium. A turf-covered Activation Zone with dedicated tailgate areas and a covered entertainment space will be added to the site pending the demolition of the Royal’s Kauffman Stadium. City officials are currently working with the professional sports franchises on a deal to facilitate the transaction. The Royals are eying a site in downtown Kansas City close to the T-Mobile Center and the Power & Light District for their new ballpark.

tailgating outside of the stadium
An entertainment area for tailgating or events would be built on the site of Kaufmann Stadium. (Populous/Courtesy Kansas City Chiefs)

While the city and franchise welcome the change, the proposed renovation has been met with mixed reviews by the public, some of which are unsure about the need for the massive “entertainment space” proposed for the site. Local business owners who depend on the foot traffic that Truman Sports Complex delivers were hoping to see bars, restaurants, and hotels in the proposal, much like what other cities around the country are doing in the vicinity of their stadiums.

In response to criticism from local business owners about the absence of non-game day programming, Chiefs President Mike Donovan said that, after running a feasibility study, an entertainment district in the area simply wouldn’t yield a good enough ROI. “As harsh as that sounds, it’s just the reality from a business standpoint,” Donovan told local reporters.

The redesign by Populous reveals a dedicated ridesharing zone, new parking deck to the stadium’s south, and an expanded parking area to the north, where Kauffman Stadium is today.

stadium interiors
Renovations are also planned for the stadium interiors. (Populous/Courtesy Kansas City Chiefs)

It also adds new Upper Concourse with a 360-degree connection bridge that wraps around the stadium. It also shows a canopy replete with infrared heaters and overhead fans to provide year-round comfort. Upon completion, Arrowhead Stadium’s existing jumbotron will be swapped out with new video boards. Populous has also specified new LED ribbon boards that hug the upper concourses.

On field, visiting teams will have new field access points closer to their locker rooms. This new circulation path will quicken set up time for major concerts and other special events. Existing, traditional concession stands, where fans often stand idly in line will be replaced with Grab-n-Go markets. This will result in an increased speed of service by up to 40 percent, and transaction time will decrease.

New VIP stadium entry points will be inserted into the stadium into new End Zone Clubs and Suites, much like what the L.A. Raiders have today. This would decrease fan traffic and congestion at existing general admission gates, the Chiefs said.