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MLS Project Didn’t Get Missouri’s Approval For Tax Credits In 2019, But What About 2020?

This is a mock-up of what the new riverfront stadium with a professional soccer team.
Courtesy of HOK
The proposed stadium would seat up to 22,500 for soccer. It could also be a site for concerts and other events.

Last month, news emerged about a potential holdup in plans for construction of a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis. 

St. Louis city, the St. Louis Development Corporation and the MLS ownership group applied for a combined total of $30 million in state tax credits over 2019 and 2020. Missouri’s Department of Economic Development didn’t approve the request — the current cap on what it awards is $10 million. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, the St. Louis Business Journal’s economic development editor, Jacob Kirn, joined host Sarah Fenske with the latest and discussed the $461 million project's future. 

Jacob Kirn reports for the St. Louis Business Journal.
Credit Jacob Kirn
Jacob Kirn reports for the St. Louis Business Journal.

The stadium planned for the city’s Downtown West neighborhood will be privately owned and largely privately funded by the members of the founding family of Enterprise Holdings — the Taylor family. 

“I don't even think we knew that they wanted this money until the city submitted this application to the state saying, 'We want the $30 million in credits to go to the soccer stadium,'” Kirn said. “But then we got word that the state had already allocated [all of its] credits for 2019.”

Kirn added that last month’s tax credit proposal didn’t follow the orthodox route. 

“Normally when these applications are put in, it's kind of a done deal: Both sides know,” Kirn said. “So the city and the team and the state [would have] already worked out some kind of a deal. So in this instance, the only thing that we can sort of come to the conclusion [is] that there was some kind of miscommunication, or somebody reneged or something happened.”

The coalition will reconvene later this month with the Missouri’s Department of Economic Development to submit a new tax credit application. 

“Hopefully this time both sides have squared away what that dollar amount is going to be. And both sides, including the state, have sort of given indications that yes, there will be some smaller amount, so that state taxpayers will be helping to do this, just not to the same level [of $30 million],” Kirn said. 


St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.