Scaled-Down State Tax Credits Package for St. Louis MLS Stadium Approved

New St. Louis MLS Stadium rendering March 2020

A state board has approved $5.7 million in tax credits for a St. Louis MLS stadium project, making that decision months after Missouri officials pushed back against a larger request.

Scheduled to open in 2022 to coincide with the launch of an MLS expansion team, the stadium will be built west of Union Station in downtown St. Louis as part of a larger development project. The project will be primarily financed through private dollars from team ownership, though state tax credits have been sought to help round out the funding model.

Initially, club owners and the city were hoping that the project would land $30 million in tax credits, with an initial $15-million request expected to be voted on by the Missouri Development Finance Board in December. However, high-level state officials pushed back against that request, indicating instead that they would consider a much smaller amount of $5.7 million. A new plan approved Tuesday by the finance board does just that, calling for an incentive package of $5.7 million that will go toward utility work. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The new agreement, approved on a unanimous vote by the Missouri Development Finance Board, calls for tax credits worth $5.7 million to help fuel construction of a $457.8 million soccer complex on the western edge of downtown.

The ownership group — World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh and rental car giant Enterprise Holdings’ Taylor family — has remained in discussions with the board since it was tripped up in December when the $30 million it sought was blocked by Gov. Mike Parson’s administration.

“I feel a lot better about this project. It is certainly more doable,” said board chairwoman Marie Carmichael.
The new agreement will help the group pay for the rerouting and installation of utilities in the area around the Market Street site, near Union Station.

As noted, the new stadium project will be primarily financed through private dollars from the club’s ownership group, which features members of Enterprise Holding’s Taylor family—including Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz—and Worldwide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh. It calls for the venue to anchor redevelopment in the Downtown West district, which will include the construction of practice fields and other team facilities across from the stadium. 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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