Expanded St. MLS Stadium Project Taking Shape

St. Louis MLS stadium plan October 2019

The plans for a St. Louis MLS stadium project are expanding, with practice fields across from the venue among the highlights of a revised concept.

MLS approved a bid in August from St. Louis, making the city home to the league’s 28th team. Backed by members of Enterprise Holding’s Taylor family—including Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz—and Worldwide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh, the St. Louis bid features plans for a new stadium that is expected to anchor redevelopment in the Downtown West district.

The scope of the project continues to evolve, with a few key specifications having changed from the initial concept. The stadium itself is currently expected to be built north of Market Street, with new restaurants and retail space to be developed in order to draw people to the area on a year-round basis. Across Market Street from the stadium would be practice fields and other team facilities, which will be constructed between 21st and 22nd streets.

Notably, the latest plan calls for the stadium to be privately owned rather than controlled by the city, with club ownership assuming operations and maintenance costs while receiving a 25-year property tax abatement on the value of the development. There are other details behind the plans that would change as well, though various approvals at the local and state levels–including okays from St. Louis Board of Aldermen on certain financial components–are still needed. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Other than private stadium ownership, much of the financing plan remains the same: owners hope to impose three 1% sales taxes using special taxing districts, though aldermen have not yet approved one via an expanded St. Louis Port Authority footprint.

They are also expecting $30 million in state tax credits from the Missouri Development Finance Board for site preparation, and they plan to obtain a sales tax exemption on construction materials.

The ownership group, however, is now asking for a complete abatement of the city’s 5% amusement tax, since the stadium will be privately owned. Before, half was to be waived, with the unabated half going into a stadium upkeep and maintenance fund, intended to assuage concerns that city stadium ownership meant an unfunded future liability.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen would have to sign off on the measures. 

The current goal is to begin stadium construction by next spring, with the facility completed in time for the 2022 MLS season. St. Louis is currently slated to begin play in 2022 alongside Sacramento, which recently had its expansion bid approved to become the league’s 29th team.

Rendering courtesy HOK and Snow Kreilich Architects.

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