St. Louis MLS Stadium Planning Moving Along

St. Louis MLS stadium plan October 2019

Even with a recent setback in the effort to obtain state tax credits for the project, owners of an upcoming St. Louis MLS expansion team are moving right along in the planning for a new stadium.

Slated to open in 2022, coinciding with the expansion team’s inaugural season, the new St. Louis MLS stadium will be located west of Union Station in the city’s downtown. The stadium is part of a larger $461-million project that will be primarily financed through private dollars from the team’s ownership group, which includes members of Enterprise Holding’s Taylor family—including Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz—and Worldwide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh.

It was at one point expected that $30 million in state tax credits could factor into the funding model, though that plan has hit a roadblock without the support of Missouri governor Mike Parson’s administration. While it remains to be seen whether a smaller amount of tax credits could be approved for the project, the ownership group is moving ahead with planning for the new stadium. Discussions with state officials continue, but it does not seem that the setback with the tax credits is putting the project at a standstill. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The project, which they say will transform the western edge of downtown, is “full steam ahead,” ownership group attorney Bill Kuehling of Thompson Coburn said Tuesday at a St. Louis Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority meeting.

The owners, he continued, are “sadder but wiser.”

The ownership group — World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh and rental car giant Enterprise Holdings’ Taylor family — has been silent since Gov. Mike Parson’s administration surprised them with its decision last month not to grant the $30 million tax credit request. The state could still approve a package of state aid closer to $6 million, though a meeting of the Missouri Development Finance Board, which administers the credits, was cancelled Tuesday.

The owners remain in discussions with the state, Kuehling said. They believe the state should be willing to assist the project “as a matter of fairness,” he said. They had planned to finance nearly all of the project with their own funds, asking for some special sales tax districts from the city, property tax abatement and the state tax credits.

The project calls for the new stadium to anchor redevelopment in the Downtown West district, which will include the construction of practice fields and other team facilities. St. Louis is slated to be one of two expansion teams that begins MLS play in 2022, joined by Sacramento.

Rendering courtesy HOK and Snow Kreilich Architects.

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