Plans for a St. Louis MLS stadium funding model call for the club’s investors to pay $250 million in cash, with certain tax breaks on the table.
The new St. Louis MLS stadium bid, led by members of Enterprise Holding’s Taylor family and World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh, includes a new downtown soccer-specific stadium at a site west of Union Station. That same site was targeted in a previous MLS expansion bid, but one key difference between the two efforts will be the funding model. Whereas the last effort called for $60 million in public funding for the stadium, which voters rejected in April 2017, the investors in the new MLS pitch are planning to pay $250 million in cash.
Certain tax breaks would be given to the club under the latest proposal. That would include a 50% break on ticket taxes, a full exemption on stadium construction materials, and more. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The financing may set this effort apart. Past proposals aimed to secure larger public funding: The effort to keep the Los Angeles Rams in St. Louis asked for about $400 million from taxpayers; National Football League owners declined and sent the Rams to L.A. And last year’s effort to land an MLS team sought $60 million in city sales taxes; it failed at the polls last April.
The Kavanaugh-Taylor group is asking for tax-dollar help. The city of St. Louis has proposed giving the owners a 50 percent break on ticket taxes, a full tax exemption on stadium construction materials, a $30 million tax break from the state, a 3 percent sales tax on stadium goods, and the free use of land — just west of Union Station on Market Street — for the stadium.
A city development board, the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, could approve some of the incentives Thursday. City aldermen are set to vote on a resolution outlining the deal in coming weeks. And the Missouri Development Finance Board could approve state incentives in December.
There is still much to be determined about upcoming MLS expansion, so it remains to be seen whether St. Louis can factor into the league’s plans going forward. A timeline has not been announced, nor has a firm expansion fee, and the list of potential candidates is still evolving. That being said, the latest funding plan could be a boost in terms of building support among St. Louis officials and residents. We took an in-depth look at the MLS expansion picture in a story earlier this week.
Rendering by HOK reflects stadium proposal from previous bid.