What became of Kemper Arena’s 1970s contemporaries?
An effort is afoot to put Kemper Arena on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation would qualify the arena for historic tax credits and potentially save it from demolition.
Foutch Brothers, a Kansas City company specializing in historic restoration, has put forward a plan to use the credits to repurpose the building as an amateur-sports complex. The tax credits would pay about one-third of the $25 million to $30 million in project costs, according to a report in Sunday’s Kansas City Star.
Kemper Arena opened in 1975 and is among a dwindling number of arenas from an era when the English rock band Foghat was headlining 18,000-seat venues. Here’s a list of Kemper’s notable contemporaries among North American arenas, and their status today:
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1972–
Uniondale, New York
Home of the New York Islanders until the NHL team moved to Brooklyn in 2015, the publicly owned coliseum is being renovated by a private developer.
Omni Coliseum, 1972–97
After the Omni’s demolition, a new arena was built on the site.
Capital Centre, 1973–2002
A shopping center was built on the suburban Washington, D.C., site after the arena was torn down.
Market Square Arena, 1974–2001
The site of Elvis Presley’s last concert, the building was demolished after the Indiana Pacers moved into a new arena. Construction began at the old arena site on an apartment tower anchored by a Whole Foods.
Northlands Coliseum, 1974–
The Edmonton Oilers played their last game at the coliseum in April; the NHL team moves into a new arena this fall. Now known as Rexall Place, the coliseum may be repurposed as an ice center.
Richfield Coliseum, 1974–99
Built on farmland between Cleveland and Akron, the arena lost its main tenant when the NBA’s Cavaliers left for downtown Cleveland. After the demolition, the site was turned into a meadow.
Hartford Civic Center, 1975–
Now known as the XL Center, the arena is home to the University of Connecticut’s basketball teams and a minor-league hockey team. Justin Bieber is coming this week.
McNichols Sports Arena, 1975–2000
The arena was demolished, and the site is now used as a parking lot for the football stadium where the Denver Broncos play.
Riverfront Coliseum, 1975–
Site of the disastrous 1979 Who concert at which 11 fans were killed, the coliseum is now known as U.S. Bank Arena. Last renovated in 1997, the facility is now of suitably lackluster condition to have shouldered the blame for Cincinnati’s failure to land the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The Summit, 1975–
Houston’s pro-sports teams used the Summit until 2003, when a new arena opened. The facility has found a second life as a worship center. Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church leased the Summit before purchasing it in 2010.
Joe Louis Arena, 1976–2017
After the upcoming hockey season, the city will tear down Joe Louis Arena and give the land to a creditor as part of its bankruptcy plan. The Detroit Red Wings will begin play in Little Caesars Arena in 2017.
Reunion Arena, 1980–2009
The arena was torn down, and the city-owned land has not been redeveloped.
Brendan Byrne Arena, 1981–
East Rutherford, New Jersey
Now known as the Izod Center, the arena was home to NBA and NHL franchises, which eventually departed. Located at the Meadowlands Sports Complex outside New York City, the arena faces an uncertain fate.