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St. Louis Asks For $15 Million In State Tax Credits For Soccer Stadium Project

The proposed stadium would seat up to 22,500 for soccer. It could also be a site for concerts and other events.
St. Louis asked the Missouri Development Finance Board for $15 million in tax credits for the MLS stadium project on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

St. Louis asked the state Tuesday for $15 million in tax credits to prepare the site of a $461 million soccer stadium complex northwest of Union Station. 

At a meeting in Jefferson City, the Missouri Development Finance Board got a closer look at plans for the entire area, which will include a public plaza, bike paths, restaurants and commercial space with the intention of year-round use, not just when games are being played. 

The two-year construction period is projected to bring more than 2,000 jobs to the area, and the facility also is likely to create hundreds of permanent positions. The city said the project will serve as an economic tool, helping St. Louis compete with larger cities like Nashville, Cincinnati and Dallas. 

“There’s obviously jobs, but also tax revenues for land that is currently not taxable and has not brought any tax revenue to the city,” said Otis Williams of the St. Louis Development Corporation. 

Otis Williams presents plans for the soccer stadium project to the MDFB on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.
Credit Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio
Otis Williams, with the St. Louis Development Corporation, said the city is seeking the tax credits for infrastructure needs surrounding the stadium like a public plaza and bike paths.

The stadium will be funded primarily through private financing. Williams said most of the land being acquired is owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation. The ownership group plans to pay taxes on the land. 

The project will require the removal of Highway 40 ramps along Olive Street. Williams said that the process to shut down those ramps has already begun and that the city hopes to have them removed by the end of January. 

The board had additional questions about roadways and intersections and wanted to see more details from traffic studies, which the city said it would provide.

The governor’s office is completing a review of the city’s financial analysis, but there was no timeline given for when that would be complete. Still, the city would like to know whether the board will approve its request for tax credits for 2019 before the end of this month.

“Hopefully this month they will meet to vote on whether they’re approving or not,” Williams said. “So we’ll know by the end of December, hopefully.” 

The board meets again on Dec. 17 and could vote at that time. 

The city plans to ask for an additional $15 million for 2020 in January. The team is scheduled to begin play in the stadium in March 2022.

Follow Jaclyn on Twitter:@DriscollNPR

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Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.