$30M in State Tax Credits for St. Louis MLS Stadium Project Unlikely

St. Louis MLS stadium plan October 2019

Hopes of obtaining $30 million in state tax credits to fund a St. Louis MLS stadium project are unlikely to be fulfilled, as high-level state officials turn down the request.

On Tuesday, the Missouri Development Finance Board was expected to vote on the city’s request for an initial $15 million in tax credits that would support a project that includes a new soccer-specific stadium for an MLS expansion team. Although the project–which also includes practice fields and other team facilities–is slated to be funded primarily through private dollars, club and city officials were hoping to secure state tax credits as part of the funding plan. However, the prospects of that looked doubtful after the board’s scheduled vote was abruptly cancelled.

The ultimate goal was to obtain $30 million in tax credits, with the city to request a second $15 million installment in January. While the project seemed to draw preliminary support from some members, the board cannot approve more than $10 million in tax credits without the go-ahead from the directors of the departments of economic development, revenue, and the Office of Administration. Those cabinet officials–including two appointed by former Missouri governor Eric Greitens, who before taking office referred to a request for state tax credits in a previous St. Louis MLS bid as “welfare for millionaires”–were unwilling to increase the tax credit cap, resulting in the board’s vote being scrapped.

State officials left the door open for future consideration of tax credits for the project, but said that another request would be at a smaller amount that falls within the board’s existing cap. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“Last week, the project applicants were informed that cabinet officials would not authorize the tax credit cap increase,” the administration statement said. “They were invited to return to MDFB in January where the board could hear and consider approving a smaller request for credits within its existing cap.”

Rather than the $30 million, the administration is expected to support a $5.7 million infusion of state money if the ownership group asks.

“We look forward to future discussions on this and to finding other ways that we can be of help,” the statement said.

The project calls for the new stadium to anchor redevelopment in the Downtown West district, with a 2022 opening to coincide with the launch of the team. The upcoming club is backed by members of Enterprise Holding’s Taylor family—including Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz—and Worldwide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh.

Rendering courtesy HOK and Snow Kreilich Architects.

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August Publications