How and Where Major League Soccer Comes to St. Louis

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MLS5
The NFL’s departure may just make St. Louis a Major League Soccer city. The on-again, off-again effort to bring professional soccer to St. Louis has received a shot in the arm in recent weeks from Major League Soccer coaches, the league’s commissioner, local sports talk radio, and social media. After communication from the MLS to Mayor Slay, and back, and from the MLS to Governor Nixon, the league is officially seeking a location for a downtown St. Louis stadium.

An MLS franchise was something of a asterisk on the 60,000 seat riverfront football stadium effort. There were drawings of a tarped second deck with MLS logos, etc., but it was always an afterthought. Which made sense. There was appeal in the multi-tenant idea, but the idea of a fourth professional sports franchise in the city was probably never quite realistic.

As much as one can dislike Stan Kroenke’s charge that St. Louis cannot support three professional sports teams, there’s a kernel of truth to it, in a way. By one measure (an American City Business Journal study), the one used by Kroenke and the Rams, the St. Louis area falls $70B in annual total personal income (TPI) short of being able to support NFL, NHL, and MLB franchises simultaneously.

Now of course St. Louis has outperformed this particular metric for two decades, with three pro teams being well supported and quite profitable. Midwest cities such as Cleveland and Pittsburgh outperform this metric as well, and there’s zero talk that either of those cities could lose a franchise. In fact, St Louis has an annual TPI of $133B versus $118B for Pittsburgh.

TPI is simply one way to estimate of how much a community has available to spend on sports. It’s clear that some communities spend a larger percentage of their income on professional sports. The study assumed the following TPI needed: MLB $104B, NFL $48B, NHL $50B, MLS $14B. The widely varied amounts reflect the number of home games, ticket prices, advertising and sponsorship costs, and other factors.

In short, the departure of the Rams makes it much more likely that St. Louis will gain an MLS franchise, and sooner rather than later. And while one can bend numbers to show a lack of spending power, St. Louis would clearly support a homegrown team.

As it’s become more established, and profitable, the league has favored urban stadiums, seen as a better fit for the sport’s younger demographic. It’s also become more expensive to own a team. Expansion fees are now $100M for a franchise and the average stadium cost is near $150M.

Serious efforts to bring the MLS to St. Louis have come and gone in recent years. Drawings have been produced for stadiums in Collinsville, IL (2008) and Richmond Heights (2010), MO. In Collinsville, an 18,500-seat stadium would have anchored a larger $600M mixed-use development. It was an alluring plan, but there was never enough money behind it.

RH United Plaza2{past proposal for Richmond Heights MLS stadium}

MLS IL 4{past proposal for Collinsville, IL MLS stadium}

The same was true of a stadium proposed at Hanley Road and Highway 40 (I-64) in Richmond Heights. Drawings show retail, hotels, residences, and a soccer-specific stadium. The city entered into an agreement with the developer, but withdrew after financing wasn’t forthcoming.

Also explored has been a stadium at Union Station. Icon Sports Group produced very preliminary images showing how a stadium may fit. St. Louis architecture firm SPACE Architecture + Design (my employer) further explored Union Station as a site for stadium (top image), and this website has offered additional options.

In retrospect, the absence of support for the Rams from some circles is glaringly obvious. Other than Enterprise pledging to purchase naming rights for the NFL stadium, the region’s corporate partners weren’t publicly pledging luxury box buys, or advertising dollars. This was a significant difference from the experience of NFL franchises in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and elsewhere. One can almost see how Kroenke may not have felt the love.

The money involved with an MLS team is significantly less than the NFL, and St. Louis has potential ownership, at least partial ownership, in place. Jim Kavanaugh, co-founder and CEO of World Wide Technology, Inc. is the name mentioned most often. WWT is the second largest privately held company in St. Louis, with $6.8B in revenue for 2014. Kavanaugh has already brought professional soccer to St. Louis with the USL Pro league St. Louis FC, and affiliate of the MLS Chicago Fire.

Kavanaugh graduated from Saint Louis University, where he played soccer as well. According to the St. Louis FC site, Kavanaugh played on the US Pan-American Team and the 1984 Olympic team. He was then drafted by the Los Angeles Lazers as the second overall pick in the 1986 professional soccer draft. Kavannaugh is also part of the ownership group of the NHL St. Louis Blues.

As part of the effort to build an NFL stadium in St. Louis, task force member Dave Peacock reportedly worked significantly on a potential MLS ownership group. Past efforts aside, St. Louis isn’t starting from zero. But any effort to bring the MLS here, and build a soccer-specific stadium shouldn’t follow the NFL effort playbook.

The best guess is that some public money would be involved with a new stadium here. Though stadiums in Columbus, Los Angeles, San Jose, and soon Orlando, have been constructed with private funds, the average public subsidy for MLS soccer-specific stadiums is near 50%. This is only a little less than NFL stadium subsidies, but with soccer stadium cost at roughly 10% of NFL cathedrals, the dollars involved are certain to be a fraction of the NFL ransom.

mls chart

There are several sites that could accommodate an MLS stadium in St. Louis City, the north riverfront, Downtown West, even Grand at Chouteau, among others. The key, as St. Louis has learned with the Rams, is having the support of a team owner, and preferably the league. St. Louis is close.

The north riverfront site is nearly ready to go. It would be the easy choice, but that does not necessarily make it the right choice. The location still suffers from a disconnect with the city. The smaller stadium may present the opportunity to repurpose more existing buildings, but the area is far from being an urban neighborhood location.

The area around Union Station and the soon to be remade 21st Street interchange offers a true seamless connection to downtown. The fan experience of staying in a downtown hotel and walking the Gateway Mall to game, or arriving via MetroLink would be exponentially better than the north riverfront.

Ideas for a Union Station located stadium:

MLS concept

Icon2

There is enough land at Grand and Chouteau Avenues, though the location immediately next to a hospital may be a negative. A stadium could also fit along the near south riverfront, or south of I-64 in the area long planned to become the Chouteau Greenway.

What’s clear is that the league has eyed St. Louis for years, patiently awaiting the right combination of ownership, timing, and location in St. Louis. An ownership group is coming together, the timing for local funding and fan support is right. There are stadium site options, but it’s incredibly important that the right site and not the easy site is secured.

For St. Louis, the site needs to be less Chicago’s Toyota Park or KC’s Children’s Mercy Park, and more Portland or Seattle. A comprehensive study of MLS attendance concluded an MLS match loses 260 potential fans for every mile the stadium is located outside its nearest urban core. What’s needed, more than for other sports, is a downtown soccer culture. Fans expect to pre-game in a neighborhood, take transit to the match, and be part of the city.

Images of 25,000-seat Orlando City MLS stadium, currently under construction:

Aerial_North Bowl

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  • Alex Devlin

    I really like the site in between Pine and Market. Imagine if we took the urban size of Providence Park in Portland and mixed it with the design of Seattle. Amazing views of downtown. I am in no way an architect, but I created these on google sketch up. The dimensions aren’t correct and the extra development wouldn’t be apart of the stadium, just what I imagine. I think this area is well on its way to becoming a vacation neighborhood with developments at Union station. A family could easily spend 2-3 days going to a soccer game, exploring downtown, and union station.

  • David Hoffman

    How about the East Side Riverfront?

    • STLEnginerd

      Great idea but if it requires public assistance that side is probably unworkable. If they would 100% privately fund, I doubt they would choose the site over several other options, but they might. I think its definitely one of the best sites from a regional perspective.

  • gmichaud

    A couple of thoughts, the location should be generated from what St. Louis needs out of a new stadium. Here are a few things that might be considered. Doubling up of parking as much as possible, it makes perfect sense to find a location that has good access to already existing parking, and if new parking is needed that it contributes positively to the surroundings (if parking can ever really be considered positive)
    Another site selection consideration should be transit and the ability to utilize and or improve transit at the locations chosen. This relates to the parking also, but this should be considered an opportunity to increase the importance of transit and its ability to both improve the quality of life and combat climate change.
    Another aspect would be adjacent commercial, and apartment districts. Are they existing or is there room for such development? To me the preference would be to try and support old commercial districts rather than give new ones tax advantages, as is done now, but any case this should be an important consideration. (Look at the wasteland surrounding Scotttrade for instance. Busch Stadium has some existing urban surroundings, although haphazard planning has weakened that small business potential, plus the new Ballpark Village that opened recently.
    There are of course other programmatic considerations in choosing a site. This is a critical area where St Louis governance fails to be a guiding light for both discussion and selection of a site..
    I feel like soccer would do well here, I played and have been involved in soccer most of my life starting in the fifties, it is a surprisingly intricate and interesting game. I think SLU won around 9 national titles in the 60’s and early 70’s until the rest of the nation started to catch up with St Louis.
    I believe a MLS team would succeed if it fits into the community(see above). I also think soccer will challenge the NFL in America sooner rather than later. It would be fitting for St. Louis to lead that charge

  • Bryan Kirchoff

    I have to say I am semi-indifferent to the location, as long as it is in the City. But a few points:

    1) I would be cautious about suggesting we need to mimic Portland or Seattle in terms of stadium location. Those cities already have significant populations downtown, which makes a downtown location more economically sensible, and being coastal, their population tends to spread north-south. I am guessing that St. Louis’ soccer fan base geographically skews toward West County, so a location there would be understandable. The fact that you might lose some fans from the Metro East is the most compelling counter-argument to keep things in St. Louis City.

    2) I’ll play the contrarian on the stadium funding issue: While I understand the emotional grating of building facilities for millionaires/billionaires, a stadium is not like other buildings – if the owner, for reasons unanticipated, loses his/her sports team, they are now saddled with a gargantuan structure that cannot simply be re-marketed as condos or offices. In fact, I presume the property value is somewhat depressed because the new owner has to incur the expense of knocking down an entire stadium. I think that exemptions on ticket taxes, etc. are where the public have a stronger case for righteous anger.

    3) If folks are enthusiastic for MLS soccer here, one of the criteria is support for existing lower-tier teams. A simple idea: Once a year, buy gift certificates for our USL or MASL teams and donate them to your favorite non-profits to be used as fundraising prizes. While non-profits almost always prefer cash, they do have to scramble for prizes for their events, so that option financially supports soccer and perhaps exposes new people to the game.

    4) I saw an interesting submission on Rally St. Louis a couple of years back that would make a nice precursor: The proposal was to lure the National Soccer Hall of Fame here. While the Hall continues to induct members as an active non-profit, its physical display hall closed in Oneonta, NY, after ten years; its 80000 items either get loaned out for traveling displays or stay in storage in North Carolina. Given that soccer will likely grow, it would be an opportunity to cheaply become its Cooperstown, which will probably be a nice position to be in a few decades hence. Additional bonus, it would nice fill one of the perennially empty storefronts on the Landing or Washington Avenue. Further, having the National Hall of Fame would make St. Louis harder for MLS to say “no” to.

    Bryan Kirchoff
    St. Louis

    • STLEnginerd

      1. Stadium should be placed where it makes the most sense from a business perspective. Public money’s should be based on the level of economic benefit associated with said location. Basically if the owner thinks he’ll make the most money building a stadium it the middle of nowhere that’s fine but don’t expect the public to pay for the honor of host them. Economic return is the biggest factor. This is especially true for MLS which despite its growing popularity, doesn’t get the same image bump that some other pro sports do.

      2. I agree. See comments on economic return.

      3. Sure, personally the easier thing to do is promote the current pro soccer team so that we wouldn’t be supporting two professional franchises. Soccer is solid here but I don’t know if we would do well supporting both a USLPro team and An MLS team.

      4. Love the soccer hall of fame idea. Needs to be collocated with the MLS stadium if possible. Depending on where the stadium would be built would drive the location of the soccer hall of fame.

  • STLEnginerd

    I think if a stadium does get built in an urban part of St. Louis, we should all agree that.youth soccer fields is a terrible use of the surrounding space. I really wish people would stop saying it like its the ideal compliment no matter where it would be put.

    If it were built in Fenton, or Maryland Heights it’d be a different story.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Right. In theory I like the idea, and depending on the site, it might work. Think Chouteau Greenway area, even the north riverfront, but still only a field or three. There are big, and really nice, large soccer centers around STL, and another coming on the east side. If the stadium is in the city/urban area, it should contribute (or take away as little as possible) to the urban environment.

      • pat

        I agree. But, a soccer field “tower” would be cool and have a urban design to it. Imagine a parking garage type structure where the fields are each level of the “garage”. Put some architectural appeal on the outside. Open it up at night for pick up games. Host kid training camps during the summer.

        • moorlander

          Wydown Middle School has a soccer field on top of their parking garage.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Surely the east and west ballpark garages could have a field on top without anyone missing the spaces.

  • coldharb

    Kavanagh has said multiple times that he does not want to sponsor the bid.

    There is no need to spend public money on this stadium. Public financing of any stadium makes little sense, regardless of which sport it is.

    • STLEnginerd

      All businesses are worth contributing a subsidy at some level. The problem with sport franchises is they normally ask for a value far above what is reasonable.

      I’d think MLS if it could consistently bring in 20 to 30 thousand people downtown for a 17days per year could be worth 50 to 100 million over 30 years, assuming an ownership group contributed an large commitment as well (lease+dollars) I’d hope it wouldn’t all come from the city though as it should be shared by the state.

      Nfl was 50 to 60 thousand 8 days a year so in that respect MLS is roughly equal to the NFL. Maybe better because roughly same number of people spread over more days is better for businesses. Of course there are other factors related to being an NFL city and the player and staff income levels, so all these factors must be weighed and quantified.

  • Don

    I am acquainted with those involved in the Collinsville bid several years ago. To qualify for a franchise, MLS required they have a partner with very deep pockets who could sustain major losses indefinitely. They have no interest in a franchise that could have financial difficulties.

  • Mike

    Guess who owns the Colorado Rapids. They made out quite well in the public financing area….

  • Tim E

    Does anyone see two possible ownership teams, possibilities coming together, to compete for a franchise. Pure speculation on my part but see at least two strong ownership groups at a minimum who can afford the franchise fee as well as push a new stadium
    .
    Jim Kavanaugh, WWT co-founder & former soccer player taking a lead on an ownership group including LHM/ some up and coming tech companies like Lockerdome or Square’s cofounder Jim with & maybe Blues ownership group chipping in a share for a proposed stadium located west downtown/Union Station. LHM is already developing a relationship with WWT & their new HQ coming together Westport plaza while looking to continue to redevelop Union Station. I’m guessing LHM ambitions don’t stop at Union Station. Can also see Blues ownership being interested in tying a MLS stadium with some Scottrade improvement/upgrades under the 6 million per year that the city was willing to support in bond payments for north riverfront stadium. Heck, can see Square paying for the naming rights already and giving their Cortex employees free tickets to a game that is only a quick metrolink ride away. In other words, a techie strong group flexing its muscles
    .
    Or maybe, a Taylor/Drury/Clayco/Koman local group with a lot of financial muscle and development experience. However, Instead of siting stadium on the proposed north riverfront site as per NFL proposal would love to see them buy out Tropicana’s casino surface parking lots as Pres noted and put a new stadium right smack on Laclede’s Landing itself or just to the north. Drury goes ahead with its landing hotel/residential tower & structured parking, Koman develops more office space on the landing, Clayco looks at a mid rise residential tower/mixed use infill for the landing similar what they are proposing on Delmar in addition to a steady stream of construction contracts. Casino buys naming rights and who wouldn’t pass up a steady stream of rowdy fans with smoke bombs across the street when you own a casino, bars and hotels and name yourself Tropicana!!. Gambling and Pro sports taboo is going to be broken by the Las Vegas Raiders when a new NFL stadium is announced in sin city and the Raiders move from Oakland. Why not blaze the trail.
    .
    For Taylor family this is a stepping stone for a future NFL expansion if the opportunity presents itself and stadium(s) with naming rights in all. Heck, Enterprise MSL stadium on the Landing and north riverfront National NFL stadium in the future.
    .

  • Jeff Leonard

    I’m a big fan of soccer, and share the energy around the conversation. I would love to see MLS in St. Louis. But I have to ask the question: aren’t we all being slightly hypocritical here? Most of the commentary – mine included – around building a new stadium for the Rams centered around the fact that a) it’s a poor use of public funds to build sports venues for private sports owners, and b) there are few/no net economic benefits that come from these kinds of investments. Yet here we are falling all over ourselves about what a soccer stadium (albeit at a fraction of the cost of a football stadium) would do to drive new development in several potential locations. Does this reflect a pro-soccer / anti-pro-football bias among our readers?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes. Surprised it’s taken so long for someone to note this. For me, the scale matters. If the football stadium could have been done for $100M in public money, I wouldn’t have been loudly against it at all. The process there was something to criticize as well, as I’ve already criticized a plan that would have St. Louis City and County pay for an MLS stadium. Hopefully an MLS stadium can be done right.

      I suppose I’m a bigger NFL fan than an MLS fan – at least I watch a lot more NFL games, but the whole package, demanding so much public money, the owner wanting out, etc. was too much to support. I think the MLS league itself is better scale for St. Louis as well. It’s still a start-up league w/o the $billion stadiums and $25M/yr players.

      Soccer is certainly an ascending sport worldwide and in the US. As we all watch the Super Bowl this weekend it may be worth noting the 2014 Super Bowl had 111M viewers while the 2014 World Cup final had 909M viewers worldwide. A number of other matches in Europe had higher viewership than the Super Bowl as well.

      • Jeff Leonard

        Couldn’t agree more that the entire process stank, in every direction. No commentary needed on Kroenke. The league was also clearly disingenuous in how they encouraged Peacock, Nixon, et al to pull out the stops to make it happen. But we couldn’t rally as a REGION to pull it off either. And the legal rulings and efforts to avoid a public vote? Pretty breathtaking.

        I like the rigor of the conversation on this blog, so I wanted to point out that we should be consistent with each other on this topic. Makes for tighter, clearer and more compelling rationales when it comes to stand behind, or against, MLS. Thanks for listening!

  • Mark

    With our international community, it’s not hard to imagine MLS doing well. Especially if we can have a Bosnian or two on the team.

  • rgbose

    Twin Cities.com – Here’s the skinny on St. Paul’s MLS stadium


    Minnesota United FC has an agreement in principle with the St. Paul mayor’s office to build a $120 million Major League Soccer stadium on 10 acres of vacant land at Snelling and University avenues, near the Green Line. It would seat about 19,000 fans.

    The team would build the facility using private money, and it would remain tax-exempt.

    A Major League Soccer stadium will be built near Snelling and University avenues in St. Paul. The stadium would be publicly owned and sit on land leased by the city from the Metropolitan Council.

    http://www.twincities.com/2015/11/02/heres-the-skinny-on-st-pauls-mls-stadium/

  • Tim E

    You do have like the fact of MLS seeing an opportunity and willing to express it & go after it. Like NFL, I don’t see no reason why they shouldn’t be at 32 teams in next couple of years.
    .
    Time for St. Louis to be or not to be a first class soccer town. Having history is always good, hosting some Friendlies is good, but MLS has established itself as the avenue for pro soccer in North America.

  • Nathan Bookhout

    A stadium off Clark is the best location for all of the afore mentioned adding one, the Blues could host Winter Classic games mere blocks from Scottrade!

    • Joe S

      Not saying that it won’t happen, but the winter classic games have been played previously in larger venues like football or baseball stadiums (Fenway was smallest venue with about 38K people watching). These soccer specific stadiums are typically under 25K fans.

  • Kevin

    North Riverfront would be a beautiful site for soccer stadium but should not be developed as an island. It should be one anchor in a larger vision for the riverfront. Agree that we should not create any more entertainment districts but refocus and redevelop Lacledes Landing while integrating the MLS stadium and reuse of existing building stock for business, residential and public use.

    I do like the “Sports Street” concept for Clark and wonder if the surface lot south of the former Muny Courts building could be accommodated at 14th and Clark.Another option if the site is large enough would be the lots immediately south of Scottrade if possible.

    Location on Chouteau Greenway at 7th St or on the surface parking lot immediately east of Busch would also be attractive sites.

  • John R

    Can you elaborate on your “soon to be remade 21st Street interchange” comment? Sounds like there is a bigger story there!

    • Jeff Leonard

      I had the same question. I’m not finding much via Google, except MoDOT plans from 10 years ago.

      • Alex Ihnen

        There are a few old ideas floating out there. The highway project is on the MoDOT TIP as a $15-$25M project w/o funding in place. It will be re-done, it’s just a matter time. The area is within the NorthSide Regeneration TIF boundary as well. Either NGA or bigger plans adjacent to Union Station could push it closer to the top of the priority list.

      • Tim E

        Believe their was also suppose to be a 50-50 cost share with the city as the little stub of a parkway is a state highway/MoDOT property if not mistaken where as the new interchange/street grid will be reverted back to the city. Alex can correct me but this my understanding.
        A new 22nd street interchange and MLS stadium sets up nicely for state infrastructure support in lieu of NFL stadium – MoDOT funding – if NGA remains in city.

  • Tim E

    Maybe we are seeing the bigger part of the tip of the iceberg that Slay tweeted after LHM’s announcing the ferris wheel and next round of Union Station upgrards. Possible, more behind the renderings.
    Tying in a 21/22nd street interchange rebuild/replacement, MLS soccer stadium for west downtown with a favorable NGA announcement would be an awfully big iceberg

  • TransportationPlanner

    Would there be any way to renovate the Dome to accommodate an MLS stadium? Now that football isn’t going to be played there, might as well do something with it. It checks all the boxes: downtown, near transit, parking etc. Plus, I still don’t buy that the CVC can pull in more money from conferences than was made from the Rams occupying that space.

    Otherwise the huge surface parking lot south of I-64 and west of 7th/8th Street would be a good spot. It’s near transit, parking and existing entertainment districts. What else will ever get built between an elevated freeway and elevated railroad tracks?

    • Alex Ihnen

      It would be cheaper to build a new outdoor soccer-specific stadium than convert the dome. With the Rams gone, the dome will be busier than ever since the calendar is now open for all kinds of events during the NFL season. The Rams paid almost nothing to use the dome and the CVC will definitely make more money without them there.

      • Tim E

        I think is Alex is right on and believe CVC has already openly expressed that want to go forward with ballroom expansion and improvements to the dome to improve its convention business. Sooner the better and something I believe can be done while a MLS stadium/team comes together.
        .
        This might one of the plus side, silver linings of NFL leaving. It was difficult seeing CVC upgrades happening while billion dollar football stadium being built.

  • Presbyterian

    It might be tight, but I think Ballpark Village is a nice location for an MLS team. It doesn’t look like anyone else wants to build on that site.

    Another possibility might be the massive Lumiere parking lots between the casino and the river, which would connect fans to Laclede’s Landing.

    The parking lots behind Washington Avenue might also work, given a street vacation or two. That would connect fans to the bars and restaurants a block south.

    Or the southeast corner of 40 and Vandeventer, connected to the Grove.

    Better yet, bulldoze the South Grand Schnucks and wedge an MLS stadium between Grand, Gravois and Cherokee. That’s where the fans live and play. Sink the field so that you can look down into it as you walk along the sidewalk. Schnucks owns the empty grocer a few blocks south. Let them rebuild there.

    • Tim E

      Have to agree, North Riverfront makes a whole lot more sense if you could move it downriver to tie in better with the landing, fill up the big surface lots in front of the casino (put some structured parking to the north if need be) and be a lot closer to the metrolink stop. I would also favor Laclede’s Landing over Union Station/West Downtown if the Drury family would come out and say that they will go full speed ahead with a hotel/residential tower/mixed used development.

      Otherwise, like Space rendering at end of shed and or placing it west of the shed with a rebuild 22nd street blvd/interchange part of the mix

    • In my fever-dream reality, we get a riverboat casino back, the existing casino (and garage) is replaced with a soccer stadium (with Four Seasons overlooking), the space between it and the river is given over to traditional 3-8 story warehouse/loft-style extension of the Landing, the elevated I-70 lanes are removed in favor of Memorial Drive boulevard and the area immediately west and north sees some residential mid/high-rises driving traffic (vehicle, pedestrian, public, etc.) and interest northward to a renewed N. Broadway.

      Like I said…fever-dream. 🙂

  • Daron

    Who owns that Colorado team? They got the biggest public subsidy to total cost ratio in that graph. Let’s not be like that…

    • Alex Ihnen

      Are you really asking?

  • David

    I don’t think Grand and Chouteau is realistic for the reason you stated. That is an absolute mess in terms of colliding with the hospital area. While it is tempting for access to South Grand food and a Metrolink stop, I don’t think the parking situation would be very good. Simply exiting lots near there could cut off access to the hospital campus as everyone tried to use the already mediocre SLU 40 ramps or stacked up at 44. Things could be reworked, but the extra pressure on that area would not help it.

    I think the North Riverfront is more appealing as it can tie better to Laclede’s Landing and Wash Ave. The metro service and walkable entertainment from there is better, metro link is close by, and little additional parking will be necessary.

    Union Station ideas are good for the same reasons, though the available parking would be less. Also, I am not a huge fan of the BBVA Compass Stadium design from Houston, but it is a good enough place holder.

    • Alex Ihnen

      The north riverfront site is the same distance from 10th/Washington as the site west of Union Station. But there’s an absolutely massive different in the experience walking either route. St. Louis needs to capitalize on its existing assets and not try to build to neighborhoods. The north riverfront is separated from downtown by significant barriers. Union Station is part of downtown.

      • citylover

        I agree. North riverfront seems a little far. I like the “greatest sports street in America” idea and I think developers will really buy into how close all three stadiums are

        It might also give Clark street some action possibly boosting residential. Ballpark village may see some interest too (maybe hotel or condo tower). Union station’s new facelift will be an attraction before and after games.

        Maybe this could even spur interest to improve western end of gateway mall.

        • Tim E

          Maybe, just maybe you would see the old muni courts building/development proposal break ground. Believe the last rendering floated included some street level retail along Clark and a structured garage with an office/residential tower on top where the existing surface lot is located. Not too mention some infill in and around Union Station and Cupples surface lots

        • RJ

          I like the concept of Clark Street having three stadiums but south of Union Station is a no go. The block east of Union Station between 16th and 18th is a possibility but would require the DEA and Veterans buildings to be relocated. My second choice would be the area west of Union Station provided it doesn’t extend too far into the 21st street interchange which is to be a 4 lane parkway from I-64 to MLK and third choice North Riverfront which desperately needs something done with it. All three locations offer urban amenities although North Riverfront would require more investment and could give a boost to Laclede’s Landing. I agree with the previous comment to make sure the site and stadium design is capable of a future expansion as it may become necessary to have a 40,000 or 60,000 venue. Soccer is very popular in the rest of the world and may get to that point here.

    • Hasan

      Im not sure the available parking would be less at (or around) Union Station. I think less (new) parking would have to be created. MLS Stadium capacity will be less than half of Busch Stadium. Same parking could be utilized, in addition to Scottrade garage, etc.

    • Tim E

      Like Hasan noted, don’t really think parking would be an obstacle around Union Station. You literally got the Blues drawing what 16-18k a game and just down the street Cardinals sell out at 42k for eighty some odd games a year. Not too mention the odd number of NCAA tournaments now and then @ Scottrade. Between Busch Stadium, Scottrade and Peabody you got an existing event structure in place. MLS stadium would allow for more utilization of what is already there from metrolink to even out of town fans coming in on Amtrak Lincoln or River Runner service from Chicago & KC, and the multitude of hotel rooms. Heck, might be enough to finally kick of a hotel tower at BPV
      .
      Like Alex noted, what is great about having the stadium around Union Station is your in downtown, have some built environment and only adds. Pres does a good job of what would have to change with north riverfront to make it close to comparable.
      .
      What I hope doesn’t happen if St. Louis is successful in securing a MLS team is another stand alone entertainment district. Especially on a floodplain.

  • Stephen Rutherford

    I hope the team is called Olympic St. Louis as a nod to our city’s distinction of being the first city in the Western Hemisphere to host the Olympics. Folks who prefer European names would also like it. I like the area just north of Lumiere and I think it would be cool for one of the existing warehouses to be incorporated just like at Petco Park in San Diego. Union Station would be very interesting, but I would prefer a place where the space exists to enlarge the stadium from 20K to 40 or 60K someday. Of course a downtown stadium is the best location, but regardless of where it is our family will be at every game!

    • Adam

      How about the St. Louis World’s Fair? Or maybe the St. Louis Archers? 😀

      Totally kidding. I really like the St. Louis Olympic.

      • john w.

        Brew City Athletic Club

        • SnakePlissken

          River City Athletic Club, Arch City FC.

          🙂

          • john w.

            Arch City FC is cool. Use the city flag colors, and have an equestrian Saint Louis mascot ride the loop around the pitch before the match to get the crowd energized.

    • SouthCityJR

      Agree with you completely on the size, regardless of the location. If soccer continues to grow as projected we need the ability to add seats to the stadium rather than having to build an entirely new one in 10 years. Brings back memories of the “first tier” horror we just went through with the NFL.