Major League Soccer Ownership Group, Stadium Plan Unveiled for St. Louis

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The drama that’s been mounting for months is over. With rumors and leaks springing with increasing frequency, the hushed MLS2STL group tasked with identifying a Major League Soccer franchise ownership group for St. Louis has broken its silence.

A league-endorsed ownership group with plans for a downtown St. Louis soccer-specific stadium was announced with a press release on the USL St. Louis FC website. Preliminary renderings of a stadium design by HOK show a 20,000-seat (expandable to 28,500) venue immediately west of Union Station.

The site is currently owned by the Missouri Department of Transporation. Once planned as the interchange for the never-built I-755, MoDOT has entered into an agreement to sell the land at market price to the City of St. Louis. In turn, SC STL has an exclusive agreement with the city to purchase the site. The land deal was first reported on nextSTL.

4_sc_stl_downtown_site_plan_credit_hokmodot-22nd-street_1{outlined area approximates MoDOT land holdings adjacent to Union Station}

The ownership group identified and endorsed by MLS and the City of St. Louis is led by Paul Edgerley, formerly of VantEdge Partners. According to the press release, Edgerley was raised in Kansas City and will serve as lead owner and Chairman of SC STL. Edgerley spent 27 years at Bain Capital, becoming a managing director before leaving the firm in 2015. Edgerley is a limited partner in the Boston Celtics ownership group. Public records show Edgerley has sold more than $3B in stocks over the past year, and recently purchased a $34M home in Palm Beach, FL.

Edgerley is joined on the SC STL’s Executive Committee by three other officers who include Jim Kavanaugh (Vice Chairman), founder and CEO of World Wide Technology, Terry Matlack (Vice Chairman), founder of Tortoise Capital Advisors, and Dave Peacock (Executive Committee Member), past president of Anheuser-Busch.

Both Kavanaugh and Peacock were widely expected to be part of a potential ownership group. Peacock was the public face of the failed effort to build a new stadium for the now Los Angeles Rams NFL team. Kavanaugh played soccer for Saint Louis University, on the United States Olympic Team, and professionally for the Los Angeles Lazers and St. Louis Steamers. Kavanaugh is also chairman and founder of Saint Louis FC, which plays in the United Soccer League as an affiliate of the MLS Chicago Fire.

Another potential MLS ownership group in St. Louis, Foundry St. Louis, made a very public play for a team last month, unveiling renderings of a Midtown stadium at Grand Boulevard and Chouteau Avenue. The effort was clearly in parallel with the league and city anointed MLS2STL group. Today’s announcement would seem to make an end to Foundry’s effort.

MLS stadium_Cannon Design{the proposed Foundry STL stadium at Grand and Chouteau – rendering by Cannon Design}

The newly formed ownership group, known as SC STL, now takes over the process begun by MLS2STL. It is proposing a $200M stadium, which it says will be largely private-funded. The group has pledged that any public funding will be subject to a public vote in the city, planned for April 2017.

The public vote pledge almost certainly does not pertain to the city’s purchase of nearly 30 acres of land from MoDOT, and perhaps not other related infrastructure costs. While efforts as securing public funding were not detailed, the group has been in discussions with the state and city regarding the use of “traditional economic development tools”. Plans call for the city to own the stadium itself, allowing access to lower cost financing and giving some control over use.¬†The fact the site sits within the NorthSide Regeneration development footprint could be a complicating factor, but is unlikely to delay or alter the effort.

The SC STL group believes that it has assembled the necessary proven business leadership, experience in professional sports, a viable stadium plan, capital resources, the endorsement of MLS, and an agreement to “acquire and integrate Saint Louis FC of the USL into a single soccer organization. The release stated that SC STL will fund the entire MLS expansion fee and the acquisition of the Saint Louis FC USL team, St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club and World Wide Technology Soccer Park.

8074647001_c3731e0e66_z{mock-up of MLS stadium at Union Station – from nextSTL 2012}

The proposed stadium site was first explored on nextSTL in 2012 after LHM, owners of Union Station, considered the potential for a stadium in the area. Bob O’Loughlin, chairman and CEO of LHM, is part of the SC STL ownership group (full list below). The plan released today would cover 24 acres. A site plan shows the stadium would leave existing buildings, including the Drury Inn and Maggie O’Brien’s standing. More than 1,400 surface parking spaces would be added surrounding the stadium.

Major League Soccer has repeatedly stated that St. Louis is a strong candidate for the next round of league expansion. The 20-team league is expanding to 24 in 2018 with the addition of Minnesota, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and possibly Miami. Sacremento is expected to be awarded a franchise in the next round of expansion, and along with St. Louis, Detroit, San Diego, San Antonio, Austin, and Cincinnati have been mentioned as candidates as MLS reaches its planned 28 teams.

So what’s next? While securing a stadium site and forming an ownership group are perhaps the most challenging steps to bring an MLS franchise to St. Louis, a long process remains. MLS still needs to detail its expansion process. St. Louis has not yet been awarded a franchise. But things are now moving fast, publicly. With the league and SC STL planning public events in St. Louis next month, and having clarity on public funding in the spring, the path for St. Louis to become an MLS city has never been clearer.


Earlier this evening we posted the SC STL announcement, read it here.


The SC STL ownership group:

Paul Edgerley, partner at VantEdge Partners
Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology, founder of Saint Louis FC
Terry Matlack, co-founder of Tortoise Capital Advisors
Dave Peacock, former Anheuser-Busch president
Bob O’Loughlin, chairman and CEO of Lodging Hospitality Management in St. Louis
John Sherman, vice chairman of the Cleveland Indians and former CEO of Inergy LP
David Gross-Loh, a managing director at Bain Capital
Robert Hermann Jr., Saint Louis University’s soccer stadium bears the family name
Jim Powers, president and CEO of UniGroup (United Van Lines)
Steve Maritz, chairman and CEO of Maritz Corporation
Thomas Roberts, managing director of Summit Partners


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  • Jakeb

    Just got phone polled (on my cell) for the soccer stadium. Was an extensive poll I’m assuming was paid for by the ownership group?

    Sounds like the soccer stadium would appear on the March or April city ballot and will primarily funded with a sales tax on ‘out of state goods purchased primarily by businesses”. Also sounds like they are very serious about this.

    Also polled on a half-cent sales tax increase to hire more police, fund metro-link expansion ‘north-south’ and ‘minority’ job training. I wasn’t clear if this would all be tired together or separate measures.

    • johnny1421

      Interesting, wondering if they’re thinking of throwing both of those on the ballot this April

      • Jakeb

        me too. If it all pans out, it sounded like a lot of sales tax increases on one ballot.

        I’m wondering if that wasn’t a point of the poll: To see if the asks are just too much which could kill the new soccer stadium.

        BTW, on this poll I was read a draft ballot measure. It was hard to follow because it was long and being read to me.

        a 10% sales tax in the City isn’t good for anyone and isn’t going to fly.

  • brickhugger
    • Jakeb

      This was alluded to in the phone poll I received, but I have to admit I really didn’t understand it at had not heard about it all at the time. Sounds like Foundry wants to fight over the franchise. Not good for anyone.

  • kjohnson04

    How would MetroBus/MetroLink connect to this? MetroLink is on periphery of the property, turning south right after leaving the Union Station station. Is it possible to squeeze in a station on that curve?

    • johnny1421

      doubtful, the union station stop is so close that I don’t see them adding one just for the stadium

      • Alex Ihnen

        It would be maybe a two-block walk. That should work, right?

  • STLrainbow

    From the renderings, the stadium site takes the Harry’s parcel, which was slated for a 125 room hotel redevelopment. (And not only that, it take the FBI parking just west of 22nd.) It appears that it took Harry’s to spare the existing Drury hotel and parking garage. Ideally, a solid urban form hotel plan could be moved over across Market to one of the surface lots depicted in the site plan.

    Also, it’s looking like a new tax will be proposed for voter approval, which obviously is not a traditional local financing method. More questions than answers at this point, it seems.

    • STLEnginerd

      Based on my read of the site plan, I don’t think it takes any fbi property. I think it moves 22nd street slightly east so that it avoids the drury property. Then converts the current 22nd street into a narrow lot. Not sure how the fib building access would work from there but I am sure they could work it out.

      I think a clever use of the current market street viaduct would be interesting. Initially I thought loading docks but I am hesitant since I’d like to see a building there eventually. Maybe access for VIP parking…?

      I suspect there hotel is far from set in stone, it’s most likely a play to drive up the value of the property. I’d also wager the Fairfield could be encouraged to move to a parcel with more visibility from 40, such as where clark intersect with 22nd in the current site plan if it came down to it. Personally I think they should push hard against another suburban style hotel that close to downtown.

  • Christopher Galli

    NFL frustration and debt foisted on taxpayers follow David Peacock and his StL football failure. With that track record, Mr. Peacock’s inclusion in another St. Louis team should be reconsidered.

    • jhoff1257

      So the NFL and the Ginger Hammer specifically telling Dave Peacock and his group to keep planning a new stadium, telling them they were making progress and doing a great job, is Dave Peacock’s fault?

      Those are some impressive mental gymnastics there.

      • Tim E

        I’m with jhoff on that one. Dave Peacock & St Louis had the play the game for and got played by the NFL if their was any chance of keeping the Rams.

  • STLrainbow

    While the stuff south of Market, where the actual stadium is, is okay, we can’t get ourselves into another Ballpark Village situation with team owners having control over land prime for mixed-use development and not acting for years and years. The city needs to own and control the property north of Market and have an eye on dense mixed-use development, although I guess I’d be open to a much more binding agreement than what was made on that BPV B.S.

    • jhoff1257

      While I agree with your overall point, can we really blame the Cardinals for sitting on that land until they had a solid development ready to go? I truly believe if the market was there they would have moved on BPV years ago. Remember, the market crashed in 2008 and it crashed hard in STL. Only this year (8 YEARS later) have we really hit pre-recession levels on jobs (barely), development projects, etc. I live in Kansas City and let me tell you, be glad the Cardinals and the City didn’t push for the entirety of BPV getting done back then. KC is still losing over $15 million a year on their similar P&L development, and it’s largely been done for years. While BPV and many other projects got delayed, a lot of them are now moving forward and will be much more beneficial to the City then had we gone for broke and tried to do it all before or during the crash. There was literally no market for BPV in STL post 2008 until about this year. It’s easy to sit here and point fingers, but if you were Bill DeWitt or a developer you wouldn’t have done a damn thing with that land during the last several years either.

  • Andy

    Design looks great. I’m confident that this project will be done correctly. It would be really neat to see a continuance of the Romanesque Revival architecture along market from union station. Not the cheapest option but one can dream…

  • Michael B

    If this comes to fruition, is there any thought to move the Union Station Metrolink stop to the west of Union Station so as to stop directly at the proposed MLS stadium? It would serve a greater area by moving it farther away from the Civic Center stop but it would also still serve Union Station in addition to dropping off right at the stadium.

    • rgbose

      How much do you think it can be moved given the tracks start turning south?

      • Michael B

        I see what you and Jakeb are saying. That does make it difficult. The accessibility to the west side of Union Station would be terrible, and the curve of the track makes it impossible unless it was an underground station ($$$). It would not benefit Union Station to move it. I withdraw my hypothetical. The current system just seems like poor planning.

        • jhoff1257

          You could move it west, wouldn’t be worth the expense considering you’re only talking a 5 minute walk to the stadium from where the station is now. Just put it at the more western end of the Union Station baggage tunnel. I also wouldn’t fault “poor planning” either. MetroLink opened in 1993. No one knew there would be anything else at this location other then a bunch of freeway ramps back then. Made sense to place the station were it is today when they built the system.

          • Michael B

            I meant the proximity to Civic Center Station seems like bad planning in that it is redundant. But I hear your point about the planning in ’93 and agree that it made the most sense at the time.

      • Tim E

        With some tweaks you could probably build your platforms on a curve with a pedestrian lid. I don’t think it is written in stone that you have to build platforms on straight line certainly easier for a host of reasons

        The other idealist thought is you daylight some of the tunnel under the shed and move the station west while still on straight away but in reality not much gain for the expense. My preference is still move the station west and introduce some degree of separation as well as maybe future development where the very south lot is proposed and immediately to the west of that lot.

    • Jakeb

      Moving the station to the west side of Union Station right at the bend could be done without a lot of expense (?) and it would seem to be a better location for the soccer stadium. Union Stations owners might prefer it remain where it is.

    • STLEnginerd

      In my dreams the track alignment is moved entirely turning north at the west side of Union Station, to Market street. Follow Market to the Compton and somehow navigate the maze of intersection roads at Compton to merge back south at the Grand Metrolink stop.

      Two new Metrolink stations at Jefferson (serving Wells Fargo, MSD, etc) and another at Compton (serving Chafitz, Harris Stowe, and SLU East). The Union Station stop would be moved to the west side of US to serve both US and the new stadium.

      Looks like now would be the opportune moment to consider a move like this.

      • jhoff1257

        We don’t need to be moving MetroLink lines for this. EWG needs to focus their transit funding on the N/S line. Union Station’s (Metro) current placement is within a 5 minute or so walk from the proposed stadium site. Not at all a deal breaker. Theoretically a stop at Jefferson makes more sense where the alignment is today. It would be both in walking distance to Wells Fargo/MSD (a bit long) but also within walking distance to Lafayette Square and the Gate District. Moving it all the way up to Jefferson and Market would eliminate that connection for Near South Side neighborhoods that could benefit from Metro access (no matter how minimal that access is). Just to build a new alignment (ROW acquisition, station/line construction, and then somehow weaving it though the mess at Compton/Market/64) would probably cost north of $100 million. Plus I think having a station at Grand, Compton, Jefferson, Union, and Civic is a bit excessive. That’s like 5 stops in a mile and a half or so.

      • Tim E

        The other issue is how many city stations do want for a light rail line? At point do you essentially have a streetcar? In that case, focus on N-S light rail and or put down the streetcar rails to compliment existing trainsit.

        I don’t see N-S in foreseeable future so city, civic and business leadership should look hard on how to strengthen Grand Ave north south transit (BRT, more frequency, Armory development w plafform) and or north south street car connecting south side via downtown to NGA/near northside (14th street or Jefferson Ave)

  • rgbose

    If gov’t owned and therefore tax-exempt.
    $200M * 0.32 * .083818 *30 = $161M in property tax subsidy over 30 years.

  • rgbose

    In a fair world the state would sell the land to the city for a dollar and pay for demo of the mess they created. It would be a token amount compared to the lost tax base over the decades due to their wanton destruction.

    • DB

      I think state law or at least a state law that applies to the state DOT says it has to be sold at fair market value. What that is for these 30 acres? My guess north of $5m and south of $10m.

      • rgbose

        Figured there was something like that. Wonder how the property was paid for in the first place.

    • Jakeb

      Legally, I don’t see why the legislature couldn’t pass a bill for the purpose of transferring the land to the city for a nominal amount. Cultural resentment in the Missouri Republican party is another matter but it would be nice to see our elected legislatures in both chambers working on it. Paying for the demo is another matters. Again, legally,…..

  • rgbose

    Hope that at some point a parking garage could go in south of Clark and the lots north of Market built upon.

  • rgbose

    Nice that 22nd street gets put back together north of Market.

    • Tim E

      Agree, but shift stadium to the east little bit more and get rid of the S-curve. Just like the fact that they are being somewhat honest with what to expect on their proposal. They could have put in another village development with great renderings on an unrealistic timeline
      Also agree with sentiment that the surface parking lots to the north will make for a great development at some point in the future. Heck, bookend development of Gateway Mall if done right. Structured parking can always come later as part of a future development


      • Jakeb

        We built the ‘village’ 30 years ago with the renovation of Union Station. We’re just now getting around to finishing the job.

  • pat

    Can we do a color other than red for the seats and the team?

    • rbeedee

      How about yellow/gold? Then we’ve got all the St. Louis flag colors covered with our sports teams: red for the Cardinals, blue for the Blues, yellow for the soccer team.

      For the same reason, the N-S line has to be the Gold line, otherwise they’re just wasting everyone’s time.

  • LiverpoolSTL

    I think SC STL did an amazing job on nailing down all the points necessary from MLS to present the best case for a MLS expansion team. The purchase of Scott Galagher Soccer Club and STL FC also provide the possible MLS expansion team with a great development network which is necessary to continually compete in professional soccer. Also, helping the city to get rid of a redundant highway interchange that was rarely used and replaced with a top of the line stadium is definitely a win-win for the city. The one downfall is the public money needed, however, the benefits from the stadium should easily outweigh the public subsidy. Also, the placement of the stadium to help better tie-in downtown to midtown would be a boon as well. I now wonder what the plan is with all the real estate downtown where the new Rams stadium was being planned. Seems like that should be primed for redevelopment as well. I feel bad for Bissinger’s having redeveloped that phenomenal new headquarters with nothing else around it.

    • rgbose

      “The one downfall is the public money needed, however, the benefits from the stadium should easily outweigh the public subsidy” Does that pencil out?

      • LiverpoolSTL

        Sorry, let me clarify. I am not normally a fan of using public money to subsidize private investment, however, I believe the benefits of this stadium will actually pay off above and beyond the cost of the public subsidy being sought. Also, this allows development of a valuable piece of real estate in downtown by removing a redundant interchange and increasing the connectivity of downtown to midtown.

        • rgbose

          OK, I hope we’ll have enough information at some point to figure it out.

    • Jakeb

      In a perfect world, these projects would get done with no public funding, but the fact is that cities have been publicly funding stadiums since the building of the Roman Colosseum in 70AD. It’s quite literally the oldest story in municipal funding.

      Keep the public funding to a minimum, maximize development opportunities, but by all means, build the damn stadium. The City and the region competes in at least a national market to for businesses to locate, and these kinds of amenities matter a great deal. A great deal.

      We now have the ownership group with the very deep pockets that MLS demands (and which heretofore has been missing) and what appears to be a great design, location and opportunity. Let’s resist with all our will the desire to cut our nose off to spit our face.

      I’ve very excited about this because I believe for the first time it’s going to happen and this stadium will be a tremendous regional asset extending well beyond the 20 or so Soccer games played each year.

  • Adam

    1400 surface parking LOTS!!! ūüėČ

    • moorlander

      How many spaces?

      • Adam

        i’d estimate somewhere between 1400 and 14 million spaces.

  • Presbyterian

    Exciting. And I gather that the (basically redundant) interchange is lost?

    I’m cool with that.

  • Daron

    I would vote for this just to see that highway interchange removed. That and the view of the arch over union station. That’s kind of amazing. Projects like this do not usually heal the street grid, so we should go for it!

  • Goomba

    So now the two main questions. (1) What are the chances of passage and why should we vote for it? (2) Is this really considered a win for urbanism? As of now all I see is parking lots and a fairly suburban plan in an urban context. If the final plan is a sea of parking lots less than 1/4 mile from a Metrolink station and along the gateway mall, is this really progress?

    • Jonathan Shank

      I guess we could just put nothing there and leave it a sea of grass and parking lots….. My hope would be those parking lots would change into something else eventually once the stadium is completed and having events. You have to start somewhere.

      • Adam

        Given that the parking lots would exist to serve stadium patrons I doubt they would change into something else.

        • jhoff1257

          We all said that about Ballpark Village too considering the Cardinals keep the parking revenue. It’s not a done deal yet, but it appears we have some pretty solid movement to fill quite a bit of that surface parking in. Could happen here too. Especially on that lot between Union Station and the MLS stadium.

          • Adam

            but the BPV lots were slated for development before Bush 2 was even demolished and we’re still waiting 10 years later. the MLS group hasn’t even expressed an interest in developing theirs.

          • STLrainbow

            It’s vital the city retains ownership of the key parcels surrounding the stadium land with a clear understanding to all that redevelopment is the goal… issuing an RFP is the way to go as opposed to having it locked up by a single party that may not have the city’s best interest in mind.

          • Tim E

            Haven’t expressed interest or giving an honest rendering to expect if the stadium is built? Based on region’s growth, GDP, could several more years to even expect anything significant. To me the interest will be in the details of what they end up owning the parking lots? MLS ownership group wanting control/owning the surface lots means they will have an interest in development at some point.
            What I think matters at first is how much of a street grid gets put back in north of Market. Extending 22nd street back to Market is good. But think the city should be pushing to having Chestnut extend as a through street all the way to 22nd should also be in the mix. That would solidify the plan north of market and define Gateway Mall instead of a driveway to the north lot..

          • Adam

            I don’t think the group’s want of ownership necessarily implies that they mean to develop the lots. It could just mean than they want the parking revenue, and in that case they have less incentive to develop them quickly.

          • STLrainbow

            I agree with you Adam, esp. when there are rumblings of parking revenue a key revenue stream. And in general I think it is a good idea for the team ownership to focus on the team and have others focus on surrounding redevelopment. The Banks in Cincy is a good model for that.

          • Tim E

            Unfortunately it is a pro team and like all pro teams. It is all about the REVENUE!!!

          • jhoff1257

            Parking revenue will certain be one of the revenue streams, but not a key one. Unless they are charging 50-60 bucks a space (they won’t). A more economical rate of $20 bucks would net less then $500,000 per year for 17 homes games. There could be some additional revenue on off days, but the likelihood that those lots would have every space full every day is laughable.

          • Adam

            Well, nobody suggested that every space would be filled every day. That doesn’t seem to stop the other parking lot operators downtown. Parking lots require minimal maintenance, so any money they make is profit even if not every space is filled every day.

          • jhoff1257

            We’re not talking a lot of parking revenue here. Provided each and every space is filled on game day with a parking rate of $20 bucks you’re still short of $500,000 for the season. If they charge a small rate on off days maybe a million bucks a year or so (or much less so). That’s not much in the grand scheme of a plan like this. I think these lots would eventually see some development. We also have to keep Paul McKee in mind here to, as the lots north of Market are within the North Side project boundary. Like I said before, let’s get a stadium off the ground first before we jump on the throats of the developer over the parking lots. Still a long way to go here.

          • jhoff1257

            Busch II was on these lots, the new stadium was moved closer to the interstate which opened this area to development. Busch II would have had to get demolished first for there to be anything built there. Also the St. Louis region for about the last 7-8 years has been in a pretty solid recession. It’s only just now starting to hit its stride. I wanted BPV done back in 2007 too, but things happen. We can’t just build a bunch of office buildings and apartment buildings on spec and expect them to fill out during the worst recession this region has seen in decades. I live in KC, be glad we didn’t go for broke on BPV before the crash like KC did on P&L. KC is still shelling out 10s of millions a year in debt payments because the development makes NO money even though it’s largely been completed.

            The MLS group JUST announced a stadium plan, let’s give them time to get awarded a team before we start hammering them on developing the parking lots around it.

            Good things come to those who wait.

          • Adam

            I meant the lots created by the demolition of Busch 2 were slated for development prior to demolition. The point just being that even with a development plan it can take forever, and in this case the ownership team hasn’t even expressed interest. Say they eventually develop those lots into buildings. Where will soccer patrons park? None of the lots seems large enough to hold a garage. I suppose a garage could be built on some of that empty space next to the highway. We’ll see.

      • rgbose

        A sea of grass might be better than something that demands city services/burdens infrastructure and doesn’t add at least a commensurate amount to the tax base.

        • jhoff1257

          Provided we can show this stadium would be a net positive for the City (I think it will), I don’t really have much of a problem with a subsidy for this. This is universally better then what is there now and my guess would still produce more revenue for the city, incentives or not, then a highway interchange and some grass.

          • rgbose

            I hope when determining net positive we consider its burden on services and infrastructure. At least with the too common/too big TIFs and abatements eventually they contribute fully to the tax base

    • Alex P

      My usual theory is that any off street parking is too much parking. However, for 20K, that’s not actually that much surface parking. And I would actually consider this a win for urbanism, if we’re phrasing it that way. We’re finally getting rid of the oversized highway ramps, there’s minimal demolition and no historic losses, and we’re carrying on the precedent that St. Louis sports must be MetroLink accessible. Plus with all of the talk of a Richmond Heights or Maryland Heights or Fenton stadium, this is great news that downtown proximity was top priority. I’ve had my heart set on the Chouteau & Grand site since January but this will benefit Union Station and Downtown West a lot more than it would benefit the Grove, The Foundry, and what’s left around SLU Hospital.

    • rgbose

      Shame our stadiums are not close enough to each other so that parking overlaps.

      • moorlander

        This will share parking with Scottrade Center