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.
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