Last fall, voters rejected a tax initiative that would have provided $50 million to the center. Faced with the loss of funds, the center's board voted to consider dropping Moshe Safdie's striking design on a hilltop site south of downtown Kansas City, and instead renovating the existing Lyric Theatre and constructing an adjacent concert hall. According to the Star, however, engineering studies showed that the plan would not save enough money to be worthwhile.
Safdie's $300 million design includes a symphonic hall and an opera and ballet house, covered with a glass canopy, and is now expected to open in 2009. Originally, the two halls were 1,350 seats and 2,200 seats, respectively; in a modified version unveiled last weekend, both are 1,600 seats. The change is expected to mean better acoustics for the Kansas City Symphony.