With the city’s MLS hopes seemingly having new life, an economic development agency has had its option on a potential St. Louis MLS stadium site extended.
Back in 2016, St. Louis’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority secured an option to purchase a site west of Union Station–near 22nd and Market streets–that was being eyed for a new soccer-specific stadium. An MLS expansion bid called for a new soccer-specific stadium at that site and the proposal looked to have some momentum until April 2017, when city voters rejected a ballot question that called for $60 million in public funding toward the new facility.
St. Louis had appeared to fade from MLS expansion contention until earlier this fall, when it was announced that members of Enterprise Holding’s Taylor family and World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh are leading a new expansion bid. The group is eyeing the same site for its stadium proposal, which makes the recent renewal key. The original option expired in September, but the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC) has decided to grant a renewal to the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA). More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The right-of-way is expected to become available as St. Louis and the Missouri Department of Transportation redo Highway 40 (Interstate 64) interchange in anticipation of the $1.7 billion National Geospatial Intelligence campus to the north….
A timeline on this MLS effort is unclear, though owners were supposed to meet with city leaders last week to develop final details on a stadium financing plan, which would be presented to the Board of Aldermen for a vote. The group says it will contribute more to the stadium construction than the prior proposal.
The MHTC voted to allow the LCRA to purchase the property within 18 months for “fair market value.”
The revived effort and a different funding formula for the stadium could boost St. Louis’s MLS chances, but there is still much that remains to be seen about the next round of expansion. Among the field of the potential candidates, Detroit has promise despite its recent announcement that it will not retrofit Ford Field with a retractable roof, while Phoenix continues to build momentum at a steady pace. San Diego voters, meanwhile, will consider a ballot initiative on Tuesday for SoccerCity–a mixed-use development at the SDCCU Stadium site that includes a new venue for an MLS expansion franchise. Austin may end up in the expansion mix as well, if plans to keep the Crew in Columbus come to fruition.
Still, the construction of a new downtown soccer-specific stadium could be one strengths of St. Louis’s bid, and having the option renewed keeps the preferred site in play.
Rendering by HOK reflects stadium proposal from previous bid.