Will New St. Louis MLS Stadium Spur Downtown Development?

St. Louis MLS stadium rendering

With a new MLS stadium slated for downtown St. Louis, the hope is that adding another venue within a mile of an NHL arena and an MLB ballpark will spur development of a sports-entertainment district.

Though there’s been no finalized St. Louis MLS stadium agreement, there is agreement on the outlines of a plan. Slated for a site west of Union Station, the new stadium is estimated to cost about $250 million. It will be the centerpiece of the Downtown West district, an area that will also include mixed-use retail, restaurants and gathering spaces open to the public on a year-round basis.

The combination of another sports-entertainment district in downtown St. Louis is causing some excitement among locals, particularly as it will be within a mile of an existing sports-entertainment complex, Ballpark Village at Busch Stadium. Add in crowds generated by Enterprise Center, home of the St. Louis Blues, and you have year-round traffic in a mile-long stretch. St. Louis Public Radio spoke with Washington University Sports Business Program Director Patrick Rishe about the potential economic benefits of the MLS stadium:

“Number one, if you put the buildings in the center of the city, you’re gonna hopefully stimulate additional development. A lot of cities in the last 20 years have decided that they want to redevelop their core. I think the second thing, just practically speaking, is that if the facilities are located downtown, you are more central to all of your local suburban areas and therefore people living north, south, east and west of downtown, it’s now equally easy for them to get to ballgames and hockey games and basketball games and so on and so forth.

:”If you create these entertainment districts, cities and communities themselves figure, well, if we have a district where there are facilities where people are milling about, 100, 150, 200 days a year, then we can try to capture some additional revenue generation for the city in terms of tax dollars, if other businesses now have the confidence to set up shop, thinking that they’ll be able to capture some of that overflow consumer spending.”

St. Louis will be MLS’s 28th team. There are 24 clubs competing in the 2019 season, with Nashville and Miami set to join in 2020, followed by Austin in 2021.

Rendering courtesy HOK and Snow Kreilich Architects.

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