City Funding Back in Play for St. Louis Stadium

MLS St. Louis Stadium rendering

City funding is back in play for an MLS stadium in St. Louis, as an aldermanic committee approved the framework for a deal. 

By a 5-4 vote on Thursday, the $60 million contribution was approved after it had been initially rejected by the committee, with a series of amendments securing the funds. For SC STL, having the city funds in place is crucial to as the group prepares for a January 31 deadline for MLS expansion applications.

Several steps still need to be complete. The full Board of Alderman must sign off on the proposal, which it will consider next week. In addition, any funds will be subject to voter approval, and a referendum will not take place until at least April. Still, some officials felt more comfortable supporting the proposal after a series of changes were made on Thursday. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Other amendments to the stadium proposal include securing a guarantee from the state that it will help facilitate the project. SC STL officials say the state has communicated a “path forward” on the plan, which may include preparing the land for construction and selling or leasing it to the city.

Another amendment to the soccer stadium proposal prevents the city from using general revenue to pay off the $60 million. If the business use tax increase doesn’t generate enough revenue, team investors would cover the cost.

SC STL also agrees to pay for construction cost overruns and maintenance of the facility over the 30-year lease. Peacock told the aldermen he is “very confident” the team wouldn’t come asking the city for more money at the end of the contract.

About $10 million of the city’s contribution to the stadium would come from its initial half of the TIF district funds. The stadium is projected to generate $20 million in tax revenue over 30 years in McKee’s TIF district, but the new bill would give just $5 million of that to McKee’s development.

Other changes included a 2.5% ticket tax, as well as a taxing district that could generate $5 million over 30 years for the city. If the bill secures full Board of Alderman approval, it will then be in the hands of a circuit court judge to determine if the proposal can be included on the April ballot. The court must consider the issue by February 21.

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