Board of Aldermen Initially Approves New St. Louis MLS Stadium

MLS St. Louis Stadium rendering

A proposal for a new St. Louis MLS stadium cleared an important hurdle when the city’s Board of Aldermen began the process of awarding tax incentives for the project — provided the potential owners land a team.

The current St. Louis MLS expansion pitch, led by members of Enterprise Holding’s Taylor family and World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh, proposes the construction of a new soccer-specific stadium at a site west of Union Station. The group has indicated that it is prepared to pay $250 million in cash for the downtown stadium’s construction, but is seeking a series of tax incentives as part of the overall funding model and is calling for public ownership of the facility.

The 26-2 vote yesterday begins the process with preliminary approval for the tax incentives, but doesn’t totally commit the city to a package until the potential ownership group lands a team. The tax incentives are being pitched as a low-risk way to both land the team and to generate additional revenue for St. Louis, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Incentives include a full exemption on sales tax for construction materials, free use of the site — state highway land just west of Union Station on Market Street — plus a 50 percent break on ticket taxes and the addition of a 3 percent sales tax on goods sold at the stadium. The resolution also recommends funneling the other half of the ticket tax into a city fund to support future stadium improvements.

The city’s development arm said the stadium proposal, which it gave a rare five-star rating, would provide an immediate influx of tax dollars — about $1.4 million a year or $41 million over 30 years.

That’s a conservative estimate, Krewson said Thursday, “based on the number of games and number of events that will be held there.”

The revival of a St. Louis bid certainly complicates the MLS expansion process: once given up for dead when voters rejected public financing of a new stadium, the current financial plan for private investment has revived St. Louis hopes for MLS soccer.

Rendering by HOK reflects stadium proposal from previous bid. 

RELATED STORIES: Committee to Consider St. Louis MLS Proposal This WeekAldermen Raise Concerns Over St. Louis MLS Stadium OwnershipBoard Approves Tax Incentives for St. Louis MLS StadiumSt. Louis MLS Stadium Funding Model UnveiledOption on Potential St. Louis MLS Stadium Site ExtendedNew St. Louis MLS Bid AnnouncedSt. Louis MLS Expansion Talks Back on the TableSt. Louis MLS Stadium Funding Voted Down

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