State Board Scraps Meeting on St. Louis MLS Stadium Tax Credits

St. Louis MLS stadium plan October 2019

In a decision that seemed to catch project backers off guard, a state board abruptly scrapped an expected vote Tuesday on tax credits for a St. Louis MLS stadium project.

Planning continues to take shape for a new soccer-specific stadium in St. Louis, with the goal of completing it for the 2022 MLS season to coincide with the launch of an expansion team. The project calls for a new stadium that is expected to anchor redevelopment in the Downtown West district, along with new practice fields and other team facilities.

The project will be primarily funded through private dollars, though tax credits are being sought as part of the ongoing planning process. An application was submitted by the city’s redevelopment agency to the Missouri Development Finance Board, in hopes that the board would approve a request for $15 million in tax credits this month. The board was expected to vote Tuesday, but officials cancelled the meeting without explanation.

Initially, it was hoped that a vote Tuesday would be a part of a process that led to $30 million in state tax credits, with the city hoping to have a second installment of $15 million approved next month. However, the cancellation of Tuesday’s meeting–an action that surprised the MLS4THELOU Ownership Group–leaves questions about those plans. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“We’re trying to sort things out,” said Otis Williams, who heads redevelopment efforts for the city. “We’re looking at other options.”

Williams would not elaborate on why Tuesday’s meeting was canceled or why new options are being considered. The director of the development finance board was not available Monday.

The move came as a surprise to the MLS4THELOU Ownership Group.

“The Missouri Development Finance Board did not consult with us in making the decision to cancel the meeting, so we’re not sure why it was canceled,” the group said in a statement to the Post-Dispatch.

MLS approved a bid in August from St. Louis, making the city home to the league’s 28th 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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