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Major League Soccer Ownership Group Closes In On Public Incentives

A rendering of the Major League Soccer stadium, which is scheduled to be completed by March 2022.
Major League Soccer ownership group
A rendering of the Major League Soccer stadium, which is scheduled to be completed by March 2022.

The Major League Soccer ownership group is one step closer to securing the public financial aid it's seeking to construct a stadium in downtown St. Louis.

The aldermanic Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed two bills outlining tax incentives for the project.

They include a 25-year property tax abatement on the value of improvements to the land, and the creation of a community improvement district and a transportation development district. Each impose a 1% sales tax on items purchased within the area, like snacks and merchandise.

The bills also allow the use of eminent domain on an abandoned warehouse within the stadium's footprint, though it may not be necessary to use eminent domain if the ownership team can strike a deal with the Kansas City-based owner.

In a presentation to the committee, lead architect and designer Julie Snow showed off renderings for what the area will look like once it’s completed, by March 2022. 

“It’s not just a stadium; it’s a district,” she said.

Some of the changes include a makeover for Aloe Plaza West, though it will remain city-owned property.

Snow described the construction of an underground tunnel leading to the stadium, where trucks will make deliveries. She said that means the structure won’t have its back to any block.

Lee Broughton and his wife, Chrissy Taylor, are members of the ownership team. Broughton, who attended the meeting Thursday, said now they’re ready to start work.

“We’re getting ready to break ground, and this was one of the big important steps that we needed to do in order to let that happen,” he said. “It’s going to be all about the details now and getting down to work.”

Prepwork on the Downtown West site is underway. An official groundbreaking is expected this spring.

The 22,500-seat stadium sits in Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia’s 6th Ward. She said the tax incentives will pay off in the long run.

“In terms of revenue to the school district, revenue to the city of St. Louis, the stadium sits within the Locust Business District, so that’s a huge win for them," she said. "I mean, there’s really no loss to the city at this point.”

The St. Louis Development Corporation anticipates the fiscal impact to the city will total more than $10 million over the next decade.

It's now up to the full Board of Aldermen to vote on whether to officially adopt the incentives.

Follow Corinne on Twitter:@corinnesusan

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

Corinne is the economic development reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.