Our updated story is now up on nextSTL: Major League Soccer Ownership Group, Stadium Plan Unveiled for St. Louis
SC STL announcement:
ST. LOUIS OWNERSHIP GROUP ANNOUNCES PLAN TO WORK TOWARD EXPANSION TEAM AND NEW DOWNTOWN SOCCER-SPECIFIC STADIUM IN ST. LOUIS
Any Public Funding will be Subject to a Public Vote in City
ST. LOUIS, November 17, 2016 – An ownership group from Missouri has announced a plan to pursue a Major League Soccer expansion team that would play its matches in a new soccer-specific stadium to be built in Downtown St. Louis.
The ownership group – known as SC STL – answers the call, in all respects, in meeting the criteria of solid and experienced ownership that will serve both Major League Soccer and the entire St. Louis community during the expansion process and well into the future.
Paul Edgerley, formerly of Bain Capital and currently a Partner with VantEdge Partners, was raised in Kansas City and serves as lead owner and Chairman of SC STL. Edgerley is joined on the SC STL’s Executive Committee by three other officers who include Jim Kavanaugh, the Vice Chairman of SC STL and CEO of World Wide Technology. Kavanaugh is also the Founder of Saint Louis FC, which plays in the United Soccer League.
Terry Matlack, Managing Director of Tortoise Capital in Kansas City and a Partner in VantEdge Partners, is also a Vice Chair of SC STL while Dave Peacock, formerly President of Anheuser-Busch, will serve on the Executive Committee of SC STL. The SC STL principals will be introduced at an event in St. Louis in the weeks ahead.
SC STL has come together over nearly eight months of consideration and meetings with Major League Soccer executives and team owners, local and regional officials, St. Louis business leaders and national sports industry experts. In addition, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and league executives visited St. Louis in May of 2015 and met with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Kavanaugh, Peacock and area soccer fans. Garber also visited potential stadium sites during his visit.
SC STL dissolves the MLS2STL Group, an exploratory committee that was formed in February to advance efforts to bring MLS to St. Louis. Several members of the MLS2STL Group are members and investors in SC STL, which will continue to use the #MLS2STL hashtag in social media communications.
SC STL LLC delivers on six crucial fronts:
Proven business leadership – All members have enjoyed distinguished business careers domestically and internationally in sectors ranging from financial, technology, travel, consumer goods and more, producing excellent value for their customers and stakeholders combined with impressive results for their companies.
Experience in professional sports – The group includes minority ownership in international and St Louis soccer, as well as in major professional sports teams in the United States. The owners group also includes world-class sports marketing experience and a current professional athlete, all of whom believe in the future of MLS and people who make up the St. Louis community.
Stadium Plan – The group plans to build a world-class soccer stadium in Downtown St. Louis, a key requirement to secure an MLS expansion team.
Resources – The group is making a public commitment to invest significant private dollars toward the cost of the team and stadium in the name of bringing MLS to Downtown St. Louis and, in the process, creating something that will benefit and energize the community for generations to come.
Working relationship with Major League Soccer – MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott and various league executives and several MLS club owners have met with the principals of SC STL throughout the year as the group performed its due diligence. SC STL has been recognized by MLS as the group it will work with in St. Louis’ candidacy to become an MLS market.
Soccer Foundation in Place – SC STL has an agreement to acquire and integrate Saint Louis FC (USL League), St. Louis Scott Gallagher soccer club and World Wide Technology Soccer Park into one holistic MLS soccer organization.
“With its rich soccer heritage, St. Louis has always been a market of great interest to Major League Soccer and SC STL is the ideal ownership group that will provide St. Louis the best opportunity for a future expansion team,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We have had very productive meetings with lead investor Paul Edgerley and his partners and will continue to do so as they work to bring an expansion team to St. Louis. Their downtown site is the ideal location for a new stadium and we look forward to helping them make it a reality.”
“Having played soccer here in high school, college and professionally, I know the passion and loyalty of the St Louis soccer fan and what having an MLS team would mean to St. Louis, one of the great soccer cities in the United States if not the world,” added SC STL Vice Chair Jim Kavanaugh. “The opportunity to bring an MLS team to St. Louis, in a manner that will energize and re-imagine our Downtown core, is a privilege for me as well as my partners.”
STADIUM SITE AND DESIGN
The proposed stadium would be located virtually adjacent to and west of St. Louis Union Station in Downtown St. Louis. The site encompasses over 24 acres of property currently controlled by the Missouri Department of Transportation that will be converted from the current highway entrance and exit ramps to developable land when new interchanges are introduced in several years to accommodate the relocation of the National Geospatial Agency. SC STL holds an exclusive option to purchase the property through an agreement with the Land Clearance and Redevelopment Authority of St Louis.
The stadium will complete one of the great corridors of sports, culture and entertainment in the nation. Within one mile, residents and visitors will be able to visit the Gateway Arch grounds and head west to the new Kiener Plaza, Busch Stadium and the soon-to-be expanded Ballpark Village, Scottrade Center and Peabody Opera House, St. Louis Union Station (currently being reimagined and renovated to include mixed use and an aquarium), and ending with the new MLS stadium. The corridor will be completely walkable and accessible via three current Metro Link stations, with more than 1,400 new parking spaces planned for the stadium to complement ample parking options that already exist nearby.
Preliminary plans for the stadium, designed by St. Louis-based HOK, calls for an opening day capacity of approximately 20,000 seats with the ability to expand to 28,500 seats. The stadium design will deliver an electric environment on game days and offer spectacular views of Downtown St. Louis from inside the stadium, while providing an iconic landmark as visitors approach Downtown St. Louis from the west.
Additional project details will be announced by SC STL in the coming weeks.
SC STL will fund much of the construction of a new MLS Stadium project, which is estimated to cost nearly $200 million. The owners have had discussions with the State of Missouri for assistance with site development and infrastructure, primarily using traditional economic development tools available through the State.
The group is working with the City of St. Louis on securing funding contingent on a vote of the people in April 2017. Any public funding terms will be shared with the public well in advance of any formal approvals as these terms will require various public commissions and the Board of Alderman approval prior to a vote.
SC STL will also fund the entire MLS expansion fee as established by the league as well as the acquisition of the Saint Louis FC USL team, St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club and World Wide Technology Soccer Park to create organizational and operational synergies and to build a development pipeline of local soccer talent to ultimately fill positions on the St. Louis MLS team.
During the coming months, Major League Soccer will announce a process and timeline to award future expansion teams. MLS officials are targeting a visit to St. Louis in December to meet with ownership, local officials, soccer fans and visit the stadium site.
In the meantime, SC STL will continue working with local authorities on plan details and gaining fan input on certain aspects of the project. The objective is to be on the ballot with specific funding proposals by April of 2017.
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 on-campus 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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