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Economy & Business

St. Louis City SC Reveals New Renderings Of Downtown West MLS Stadium

Despite the pandemic, construction is still on track for the Downtown West stadium that will house the region’s Major League Soccer team — St. Louis City SC. Club officials released new renderings of the stadium Wednesday and briefed reporters on their progress.

They described a vision for a 22,500-seat, open-air stadium that will be accessible from all four corners — which they hope will break up large crowds on game days — as well as a surrounding outdoor area they hope will draw St. Louisans throughout the year.

The new designs include a plaza to the east of the stadium as well as a plaza and pavilion south of Market Street that could feature live music, food trucks and other entertainment. It will also offer a retail store selling team gear and several practice fields, where club officials envision kids could play.

Julie Snow, CEO of Snow Kreilich Architects, is designing the stadium with St. Louis-based architecture firm HOK. She said her design is meant to weave the stadium into the daily life of people in St. Louis.

“It has this engagement with the surrounding neighborhoods and the idea that passing by you can see in, from inside you can see this spectacular view of the Arch and the surrounding buildings and the Ferris wheel,” she said.

Snow said the design team has also taken noise into consideration, running acoustic tests on the canopy that will stretch over the stadium to make sure sound bounces back onto the field.

“Soccer above all sports is about just coming together and hearing each other, and I think there’s something really exciting about an incredibly noisy stadium,” she said. “We’re really amplifying the energy.”

Club officials also released renderings of new premium seating options, including upper-level outdoor terraces and “pitch-level loge boxes,” which would place fans low to the ground just off the field while providing the amenities of a box seat.

Eli Hoisington, a design principal with HOK, said the field will intentionally be set low to make it feel as if it’s embedded in the city. The stadium will have three underground levels, including a subterranean loading dock designed to not block the street view.

Sarah Narjes, a project executive at Mortenson, which is helping lead construction efforts, said most of the underground and foundational work is done. Construction crews plan to start putting in steel beams for the structure in the next two weeks.

The stadium is expected to be complete by mid-2022. After a delay due to the pandemic, the club is set to begin playing in March 2023.

Until then it’s Matt Sebek’s job to keep fans engaged. The chief experience officer said that’s not easy during a global pandemic, but he hopes a push for digital interactions now will help the club form long-term relationships with fans year round.

“While it stinks, the situation that we’re in right now, we want to be in pubs, we want to be hosting events, we want to be watching the MLS playoffs with our fans and getting their input,” Sebek said. “I think what that is doing is setting the precedent for this very digital and personal relationship that will continue as we enter our first season in 2023.”

Follow Corinne on Twitter: @corinnesusan

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