Request for Public Money Reaches 60% of Proposed MLS Stadium Cost

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Hoped for subsidies for the hoped for Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis have reached 60% of the $200M project. Oh, there are ways to spin it of course. It’s really just $120M of a $405M project they say. Why? Because MLS appears ready to require a $200M franchise expansion fee.

Further details of the subsidies are found in the City of St. Louis Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority’s request for $40M state tax credit application. That document reassures us that the estimated $200M expansion fee “will be paid exclusively from private sources.” So no worries. To be clear, we should worry.

What should be understood is that although the NFL turned up its nose at St. Louis and hundreds of millions of dollars in public money, and the city and state decided they didn’t like the NFL after the breakup, it was only the snub that drew real objections, only wounded egos that offered criticism of that failure. There was no great realization that subsidizing stadiums and professional sports hasn’t and doesn’t work as an economic development tool. So here we are again.

The expansion fee is simply the amount MLS thinks it can get someone to pay in order to join the league. In St. Louis, this “someone” is the public. With the same $10M expansion fee paid by Toronto FC to join MLS in 2007, or even the $70M reportedly paid by Orlando City, St. Louis and Missouri taxpayers would be on the hook for $0. The expansion fee is a fee on taxpayers.

The SC STL ownership group says it will pay the $200M fee, as well as $80M of the $200M stadium project. Still, it only works for this assembled group of millionaires and billionaires if the public puts in $120M on top of that. The MLS and SC STL, and our political leadership in the City of St. Louis, are all betting that the public will pay.

What the public should demand, the option the public should be able to put forth, is a less costly stadium, a smaller expansion fee, and more money from the lauded ownership group. Savvy (and justifiably jaded) St. Louisans can already hear the assurances that everything has already been done on this front, that tough negotiations and contentious give-and-take has led us to this do or die moment, that the best possible deal is on the table. It’s not true.

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A $150M stadium and $150M expansion fee would mean the state could provide $20M in tax credits and the city $0. Yes, those are arbitrary numbers, but no less so than those being sold by the city and ownership group. A $150M stadium would be impressive. Other teams have done it . MLS would do well to get a $150M fee to add a St. Louis team. After all, we’re told over and over again just how much MLS wants to be here. (Recent expansion fees: Los Angeles FC $110M, Minnesota United FC $100M, New York City FC $100M, Orlando City $70M)

With so much of the public financial commitment out of the direct purview of the public, the planned vote in the spring becomes tougher and tougher to support. The state can grant $40M in tax credits. A TIF commission could add millions more without a public vote. The city-owned stadium means the MLS and team ownership wouldn’t pay property taxes, and so on.

As a side note, all these numbers are apparently for the 20,000 seat stadium. Who pays for that potential expansion to 28,500 seats in the city-owned facility? That’s likely $10Ms more. The city seems to again be willing to give up millions and ask taxpayers to approve more, on the premise that it’s this or nothing. Voters shouldn’t follow the city’s lead.

The good news is that the commitment to a public vote for at least a portion of the proposed subsidy provides some opportunity to call the bluff. Details of any spring vote are yet to be finalized. The number could change to $40M or $20M. Perhaps in the end, there isn’t a vote.

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The city’s argument for giving money to the ownership group deserve to be heard [Read the full tax credit application here]. What stands out in the argument for public money to bring the MLS to St. Louis?

The application states that the private contribution to the project will be the 7th largest ever for an MLS stadium project. This is only true when counting the $200M MLS expansion fee (see above). The $120M in public support would appear to be second only behind the New York Red Bulls’ arena in Harrison, NJ. Bridgeview, IL borrowed $100M to build Toyota Park for the Chicago Fire, and has since had to borrow more to cover shortfalls. The total amount of public money in each MLS arena is surprisingly difficult to pinpoint.

From the application: “2. Describe the public policy objective(s) that will be supported by the Project.”
Answer: The Project is required to get an MLS franchise.

Think about that. Is getting an MLS franchise a public policy objective? Does it rank high as a public policy objective? Did it have to compete in any way to become a public policy objective important enough to deserve hundreds of hours of city employee staff time and the focus of our elected officials?

More from the application:

Touting one of the great corridors of sports, culture, and entertainment in the nation. Within one mile…Gateway Arch grounds, Kiener Plaza, Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, Scottrade Center, Peabody Opera House, St. Louis Union Station, an aquarium, a Ferris Wheel…”The team and the new venue will help retain and attract businesses and employment and enhance quality of life in the State and the St. Louis region.” St. Louis will “reclaim its regional and national reputation as a three-sport, ‘first-class’ city” and the project will “increase civic pride”.

Then there are all the economic assumptions made to attempt to show the big impact of the stadium project. Tax assumptions, including the city’s 1% earnings tax, run through 2049. It’s assumed that the stadium will host the 2022 and 2044 MLS All-Star games in addition to the 20 annual league games. It’s a little surprising that at least a few playoff games aren’t assumed. Then there’s all the standard multipliers, the hotel nights, the money spent on food, increased tourism…these types of projections are rather rote.

It’s not that in the bubble of economic projections that any one number or assumption is clearly wrong, it’s that these projections have never worked for St. Louis. The city, which has time and time again spent money on these catalytic projects, these stadiums and parks and highways that multiply economic activity, still is unable to claim a downtown more resilient and vibrant than peer (and lesser) cities.

The Dome at America’s Center did not catalyze development on the blocks surrounding it, neither the $500M casino, neither did Scottrade Center, neither did Busch Stadium (neither of them, unless you want to count enriching the ownership of the most profitable franchise in baseball), neither did the Arch itself. If one wishes to make the argument that all of these public investments together were necessary to arrive at the downtown we have now, feel free. It hasn’t been a good deal.

Back to the tax credit application: “9. Explain how this project will be financially self-sustainable upon completion.”
Answer: Even the optimistic projections show the facility operating at a loss for at least 12 years. But that’s OK, because “more than half of MLS teams make $1M or less per year in operating income.” Also, we’re told it’s OK, because many NHL teams lose money, as the St. Louis Blues have done over the years.

Proponents are driving hard to show that among all the bad deals cities and states have made for MLS stadiums, this one would be somewhere in the middle.

So how can an ownership group justify an investment in a franchise that will likely lose money, and supposedly requires $120M in public money to simply get within sight of break even? The real money is in the increasing valuation of franchises. As franchise values rise, a big payday looms. According to Forbes, seven MLS franchises are now valued at $200M or more, with the average at $185M. This is up 80% from just 2013.

With increasing franchise values, growth in attendance, merchandise sales, and assumed bigger and bigger TV contracts in the future, the league is can be seen as a good investment. It’s also cheaper than the NFL, NBA, or MLB. But just like the NFL, a good portion of the franchise value is predicated on taxpayer money.

The graphic below presents stadium capacity, public money, and total cost for soccer-specific MLS stadiums. The costs do not include expansion fees. The SC STL proposal (not included in the graphic) is for a 20,000 seat, $200M stadium and $120M in public money.

mls chart

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  • Alexander Richard Wilson

    theres an empty stadium in the middle of the city that stands as another monument to St Louis’s urban planning follies and financial mishaps, here we go again. Right back at it. just digging big holes.

  • Goat314

    It’s like STL is addicted to publicly financing private enterprises. Could you imagine if we had spent all that public $ over the years on a better public transit system, school buildings, hospitals, public infrastructure etc.?

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  • Jakeb

    This new stadium would be for the benefit of the City and the MLS franchise. This isn’t a zero sum game. People are thinking too narrowly.

    Has we all know, these projects get way oversold as ‘catalyst’ for local
    development in the immediate surrounds. We’ll see about Ball Park
    Village (I’m excited) and we already built the MLS stadium village 30 years ago with
    the remaking on Union Station. Maybe this will help US, but that’s not the
    reason to build this stadium. And those who support this project do it a disservice by making this a key issue.

    An MLS franchise and a new 20k+ stadium that could host that team plus
    concerts and other soccer sporting events (track and field?) would make a
    wonderful amenity for St Louis. St Louis needs such amenities to be a
    competitive city seeking business locations. You’re naive if you think St Louis no longer being an NFL city is not a problem for attracting businesses. I’m not sure it’s
    completely reasonable to ask private investors to build this amenity for
    the City when they will only use it for 20 games a year.

    What is unreasonable is expecting taxpayers to allow a for-profit professional sports team free or deeply discounted use of such a facility at taxpayer expense.

    I too own a business in the city and live in the city. I have no problem spending $80M in public money to build this wonderful amenity BUT fees to use that facility must maintain the facility and service the debt. That’s my line in the sand. It is for the MLS team owners to buy their franchise and cover *all cost* of team ownership including fair rent for the use of public facilities. Nothing less is acceptable and if this or any other ownership group acceptable to MLS can’t do that, then we can live without the team and the stadium.

    The cost of purchasing the team (euphemistically called an ‘expansion fee’) and any and all cost associated with owning an MLS team is the owners problems and shouldn’t be a part of this discussion. The public discussion and the only issue that should be before the taxpayers is about building a new soccer stadium owned by the city and paid for and maintained by the use there of.

    • rgbose

      “paid for and maintained by the use there of.”

      What are the chances of that? I mean if they were good then a private concern would want to own it, don’t you think?

      • Jakeb

        Paid for and maintained by use fees does not equal profitable business venture. That’s the difference. No one but government is investing hundreds of millions of dollars on a breakeven proposition. Stadiums are public infrastructure.

        • Adam

          “Stadiums are public infrastructure.”

          Says who? And if so, shouldn’t the public have access to them without having to pay additional entrance fees? Or at the very least, shouldn’t the public that funded them get discounted tickets?

          • Jakeb

            Like toll roads, subways, light rail, national parks, publicly owned parking lots, metered on street parking, St Louis City Water Division, sewage systems. all of these things are pubic infrastructure and none of them are used for free.

          • Adam

            I would argue that most of those things (roads, utilities, transit) are much more critical to civilization than stadiums. Where is it chiseled in stone, though, that stadiums are necessarily public infrastructure? Museums aren’t necessarily but St. Louisans voted to fund them. If they likewise vote to fund the stadium then fine so long as the they’re not fed a bunch of bullshit.

          • Jakeb

            You seemed to have mistaken me for a straw man.

            All of those things are obviously more important than stadium and if I have inadvertently carved something in stone, I do apologize.

          • Btownmoon

            Jakeb, you make some good points but rgbose is correct – the revenues from stadiums (including ancillaries such as parking and concessions) are insufficient to cover the cost of building and maintaining. If that were the case, the team would build and own the stadium.
            At best, the stadium revenues might cover the cost of O&M. It is now typical for a new stadium to be nearly 100% financed by the public with the team managing the stadium (i.e. controlling) and keeping all revenues from the team’s events and a high % of revenues from other events at said stadium.
            So the cost to build has to be viewed as a public good (such as transportation infrastructure) and/or targeted investment to revitalize the area (benefits to Union Station) and/or civic pride. Granted, there’s a lot of data available to refute these arguments.

    • STLrainbow

      I think almost everyone would like to see MLS here if it makes financial sense for the city, but after the fiasco of the NFL stadium process a lot more folks rightfully are more wary about the claims of proponents of subsidized stadia. Any effort that requires public funding should be heavily scrutinized, provide clear and convincing benefits, and not rushed; but I fear some of the same mistakes made in the NFL process already are being made once again.

      Also, to respond to your comment about naivety concerning the loss of NFL here, I think it is clear that Saint Louis City will be able to better compete on the regional, national and global stage by doing a better job of educating its citizens, reducing poverty and providing a safer environment than by worrying about how many professional sports teams it has. I think there can be room for MLS in Saint Louis City, but if the opportunity cost is a more constrained ability to deal with the social issues then it actually could do harm.

      • Jakeb

        “You’re naive if you think St Louis no longer being an NFL city is not a problem for attracting businesses.”

        “Saint Louis City will be able to better compete on the regional,
        national and global stage by doing a better job of educating its
        citizens, reducing poverty and providing a safer environment,….”

        It is entirely possible for both these statements to be true.

        And to be clear, I’m thrilled the Rams left given the price we faced to keep them.

    • Adam

      “You’re naive if you think St Louis no longer being an NFL city is not a problem for attracting businesses.”

      St. Louis sure did lure a lot of businesses while it was an NFL city.

  • Craig J

    Just stop it. We have a Dome. Play there. I’d much rather see us invest in the building we have vs adding another we don’t need.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I understand this comment, but the dome can’t be converted to an outdoor soccer stadium. Or rather, it could, but for more money than building a new outdoor 20,000 seat stadium. And doing so would take away an important amenity at the convention center.

    • jhoff1257

      The Dome is expected to turn a profit this year strictly because there is no longer a sports team there. The CVC has been able to book many events it normally wouldn’t have been able to when the Rams were in town.

  • John

    The upper left corner of the photo shows a failed sports stadium that had massive public subsidies – the former TWA Dome. Haven’t elected officials learned from Past mistakes?

    I am all for an MLS expansion to St. Louis and a shiny, new stadium, but not with public welfare assistance. if this is such a “great deal,” then the private investors should pool resources and figure out a way with a public tax burden (handout).

    Soccer won’t make or break St. Louis or change the attitudes and perceptions…that begins when City leaders LEAD the City to economic prosperity, safety and long-term growth. The soccer stadium is not the panacea to solve all of the City’s challenges. It is a nice-to-have amenity, not a “must have.”

    How did Columbus and other cities finance sports stadiums with no or little public financing? Where is the accountability and leadership of the elected officials in St. Louis?

    • John

      Correction: the above should read: “withOUT a public tax burden.”

  • SouthCity

    I own a home and a business in St. Louis city. I’m also a STLFC season ticket holder since the inaugural season. I’m really torn in two ways about this. My residence, my livelihood, and my passion are all impacted and I take that seriously.

    The main thought I wanted to share here is that I think MLS is a credible league. This is a league that attracts a uniquely diverse fanbase and is growing quickly on the support of millennials, a category that could be attractive to growing a healthy urban core. There are other ways to attract millennials, of course, (like jobs) but I would feel much better about MLS and their fans in my backyard than what the NFL had to offer. I believe this league and its fans will be good stewards and advocates of our city in ways we haven’t seen before with other professional franchises.

    I know the quick criticism of the league will be the expansion fee. $200M is too much, but everything we’ve heard so far is that won’t be the actual fee. It is the max and I would expect between $150M and $170M. There is stiff competition for the next franchise, but SC STL does have some leverage because this genuinely is an attractive market to MLS. I have to imagine there is some negotiating to happen still that could turn this into a more palatable deal for us taxpayers. I’m very curious to see what the timing of that negotiation happens to be.

    Despite giving the league the benefit of the doubt, and writing as a passionate STLFC fan, my vote today would still be ‘no’ based on what we know. I’d rather see investment in a more comprehensive plan for bringing more jobs and residents to St. Louis, and I fear what is the opportunity cost of locking up precious resources for this project. But I also believe that if SC STL can negotiate down the expansion fee to minimize the impact on city taxpayers, or accomplish the same with a more regional funding strategy, then we do have an opportunity to add something special to the region.

    Keep up the great work on the coverage and thoughtful discussion. It is important and worthwhile.

    • RJ

      I agree an MLS team and new stadium could be great for further development of West Downtown, however is there an advocate for the taxpayers to negotiate a better deal? You certainly can’t count on the politicians in the City to perform this task as they always seem ready to give taxpayers money away. I have issues with the fees and cost of the stadium. As a reference point of comparison the Minnesota franchise which is to be based in St. Paul is having a bumpy road financing their stadium with assistance from the State which will cost $150 million, so please explain what are we getting in St. Louis that will cost an additional $50 million for the stadium? The Minnesota franchise fee is $100 million not $200 million. This tactic by the league is how they raise the value of their existing franchises who paid a much smaller entry fee and that will be at our expense. Same process with the NFL only larger amounts of money. It seems to me the SC STL group should be looking for ways to lower the taxpayers expense if they want this to pass.

    • Goat314

      There is nothing about MLS that leads me to believe that the MLS fanbase is anymore “uniquely diverse” than any other professional sport. In fact, I’m willing to bet it attracts the same diversity of NHL hockey…meaning not so much.

  • HawkSTL

    Negotiating a better deal is not a bad idea if done correctly. But, calling the Rams’ bluff did not work well in the Dome negotiation and arbitration. That was when a team was already here. Proposing to call a league’s bluff that doesn’t have a team here? Well, be prepared to not have an MLS team if that is our stance. If you’re good with that, okay. If your goal is to get an MLS team, however, then that strategy should be rethought.

    • johnny1421

      Not calling the league’s bluff, it’s the owners who want to start a team here. I personally think they could make it work. They seem to want a $200 million stadium and want taxpayers to cover $120 million. If they can’t afford a substantially larger percentage of the stadium then that costs need to come down. San Jose is about to finish their $100 million stadium. If we did the same we would be talking about $20 million or less in public funding.

      • HawkSTL

        The MLS is only contemplating one ownership group in STL. So, it is dingenuous to make the point that the league and owners are separate. If the stadium deal is not financially viable or lucrative enough to make an expansion pitch to the league, it isn’t going to happen. Also, saying “I personally think they can make it work” isn’t based on anything unless you have something that is not publicly available.

        • johnny1421

          I’m willing to take the risk. I love soccer but I’m not willing to give the owners $120 million to build a $200 million stadium when other smaller cities have done substantially less public funding

          • HawkSTL

            Fair enough. But, that ‘s not poker. That’s my way or the highway. And, that doesn’t work well when you don’t have leverage. Note that the MLS currently is in 19 markets and has committed to expansion teams for 2 more (Minneapolis and Atlanta). St. Louis hasn’t been one of them. So, the MLS is not exactly dying to be here . . .

          • HawkSTL

            One additional thought — cheaper is not necessarily better. The Dome was built cheaply (when it opened, it was already subpar). So, going to the MLS, which is not exactly leaping to be here, with a cheap stadium seems to be shortsighted if the actual goal is to get a team.

          • Alex Ihnen

            The dome was lauded by sports stadium “experts” when it opened. It was said to be a great, perhaps the loudest (due to design) NFL home field, when the Rams were winning.

            Looking at the cost of recent MLS stadiums, $150M isn’t cheap. The league and game are a little different as well. Continuous action means fewer people going to the amenities around the stadium, etc. Cheaper isn’t better, but less fancy is probably OK.

          • HawkSTL

            You’re right about the cost of the MLS stadium and “experts'” view of the Dome when it opened. The latter was spin. Yes, it was loud. But, the minute you walked into the place (even on day 1, which I did), and you could see it was cheap. I think the better argument would be that the City should never own another stadium based upon the track record.

          • johnny1421

            It’s exactly poker, I’m calling SC STL’s bluff in that they’ll back out if this ballot initiative doesn’t pass. MLS does want a team here and SC STL will still have that option, they just have to pay for it themselves. They believed because the city/state were willing to give the rams $350+million for the new stadium that they could ask for $120+ million. The problem with that thinking is city residents didn’t have a voice in the rams proposal. The city residents probably would have voted no and I’m convinced city residents are going to vote no based on the current numbers.

          • Goat314

            City residents would have voted “YES” for Rams, because Americans love NFL…but MLS would definitely go down in flames, that’s why they are linking it to Metrolink and other public services, which is the worst public policy ever.

  • Jakeb

    Putting these numbers aside (and I agree that $200M ‘expansion fee’ (nothing more than the cost to buy the team) is a screw job), I don’t have a problem in principal with publicly financed stadiums. It worked for the Romans in 80 with the Colosseum and has been a part of every major civilization since. This kind of public amenity investment inevitable falls to government.

    The problem is when the use of the facilities is given away to for profit companies amounting to direct taxpayer subsidies of for profit companies. The lease the Rams enjoyed was outrageous. Both the Brewers and the Astros play in fabulously expensive tax payer built facilities essentially for free while pocketing concessions revenue, etc. If the taxpayers are asked to make this investment the lease must be structured so as to allow the taxpayers to recover the cost of building from fees paid to use the facility. Fee paid by every tenant.

    Finally, things like professional sports matter to a city’s economic health in ways that can be hard to measure. Yes, every deal ever presented to taxpayers has been oversold. Skepticism is entirely justified. But this doesn’t mean the economic impact is zero. Saint Louis competes at least nationally with other cities for businesses looking to locate jobs and facilities. Companies want to move where people want to live, and people want amenities that include cultural institutions and sports teams. No one is more bitter than I over our experience with the NFL. I’ve lived here my entire life save college under constant threat of abandonment by the NFL. I’m happy they left rather than transfer more money from public coffers to billionaires, particularly for football. But I’m not so naive as to think that St Louis ceasing to be a NFL city doesn’t negatively impact our ability to compete for business relocations. These are hard numbers to quantify, but the impact is real.

    I would love to see this stadium built and think it would be great for the city. I won’t have a problem voting for a stadium plan that pays for the stadium with user fees. I don’t see myself voting for a plan that gives away the use of the facility to any private for profit business. .

  • David
    • Jakeb

      As regular readers know, BPV has been reported on and discussed ad nauseam over a period of many years in this forum. The criticisms expressed in this piece mirror those leveled against BPV by Alex.

      • Alex Ihnen

        I’m not sure David’s suggestion was meant as a criticism. I would like to revisit BPV and the new incentives, but do struggle to think of something new to say. And as you mention, at least the numbers have been covered well elsewhere.

        • David

          Yes, it was more to the effect that the new incentives seem to be at least somewhat comparable to the MLS stuff you are discussing here. If they aren’t, I guess I don’t know quite how $56 million isn’t coming from the city for that phase II stuff but the money would be coming from the city for this MLS incentive.

          This article was about trying to get us to put it in a comprehensive picture right? Seems like another massive sports related tax incentive would make sense to compare. But that could just be me not knowing what I am talking about.

          • jhoff1257

            The only really comparable thing here is the amounts. $80 million (as of right now) for the MLS Stadium and last I heard around $65 million for BPV II. The difference is that BPV II will be adding a residential tower, office space, and retail. We’re talking about bringing jobs and people Downtown here. There will be several hundred permanent jobs at a new soccer stadium but those are going to mostly be low wage service positions. I’m no expert but I feel like BPV II has quite a bit more to offer the City then a soccer stadium does.

          • David

            Depending on the growth of soccer you are talking about adding the taxable revenue of several multimillionaires in the soccer player’s earnings in the city. That is significant and not considered in your summation of the low wage jobs.

            I don’t think I am going to make the argument for a stadium beyond that though. I am just curious about the tax incentive comparison. Saying there is residential does seem to get a pass, retail as well, but we have a lot of vacant office space and retail in downtown right now. Residential developments are occurring too to renovate long empty buildings. City subsidizing ballpark adjacent new buildings while we have giant empty buildings a few blocks away is something to think about as well.

          • jhoff1257

            Players aren’t included because players don’t account for the permanent jobs created here. Only 20 home games a year and you’re only talking a hand full of people when speaking about players, each team has a max of 30 and only 18 play on game day. Let’s take that argument over to the Dome, where football players (who make considerably more then MLS players do) were required to pay city and state taxes on each game check. The Dome was still losing $50,000 per GAME.

            As far as the office portion of BPV II the City is requiring any new office jobs to come from outside the City. The City said they will not subsidize the reshuffling of any jobs. Now there are certainly creative ways around that but for the time being the City is attempting to protect itself on that front. And those big empty buildings are starting to fill up quick…nothing wrong with adding a little new Class A space (Class A occupancy rates are high Downtown).

          • Alex Ihnen

            Earnings tax on players could suffer from the same thing as Rams players. If they live outside the city, and if the practice facility is outside the city, only a tiny fraction, like 20/365ths would go to the city.

          • SnakePlissken

            First, I’m against public subsidies for wealthy elitists.

            Second, I’ve barked about this a lot but I’ll do it again…

            I’d suggest the soccer stadium could potentially be another significant catalyst for Downtown West. Stadium, Choo’s Choo’s, sharks and ferris wheel to the South, historic lofts and Tap Room in the heart, NGA to the North, rebuilt Jefferson boulevard w/ (maybe) a north-south metro line with Midtown/Grand Center and Downtown within walking distance. Add several dozen low rise new construction apartment/condo buildings on the many vacant lots/parking lots within an already healthy stock of historic rehabs and you’ve got a new premier district in St. Louis.

            Hopefully, a developer exists in St. Louis that can build several modern glass mid rises with vegetative qualities. That is, if we don’t see a significant recession in 2020-2024…

          • jhoff1257

            Totally agree with you. I think a soccer stadium would be a great catalyst for Downtown West and other nearby areas. And despite my other comments here I’d love to see it happen, just not with the public kicking in nearly 60% of the cost. Forget Foundry trying to cover that $80 million. Look at the list of investors for SC, those guys collectively could probably find $80 million under the seats of their fancy cars.

          • Alex Ihnen

            So many catalysts, so little catalytic development. Catalysts catalyzing catalysts?

          • jhoff1257

            You make an excellent point and I’d like to rescind my previous comment :). We do have a lot of these “catalysts” that haven’t really given us the Downtown any of us want, don’t we?. I’m actually a little surprised I didn’t think of that first…I’ve made that point many, many times in the past lol.

            Having said that, I really would like to see the MLS come here and think this would be a fine location for a stadium. Just not at the number they’re quoting us.

          • Jeff Leonard

            I think you’re looking for a catalytic converter Alex? Badda bing!

          • rgbose
          • Alex Ihnen

            Depressingly still true 58 years later.

          • STLrainbow

            We should listen to the expert! If a stadium is built at the proposed site, Union Station would benefit from event activity as well as area bars such as Schlafly; maybe a couple new establishments would open, too, but I think it highly unlikely that we’d see broad redevelopment spill over into Downtown West.

            Also, I think the parking lots north of Market shown in the renderings are a key component of revenue generation for SC STL and are a feature rather than a bug. I’ve mentioned this before, but I really do not want SC STL to have their hands on this property if the stadium moves forward — better for the City to own that with specific intent for mixed-use redevelopment.

  • jhoff1257

    Here’s my question in this whole thing. When Foundry stated they’d be ok with covering the $80 million public portion of the stadium why did the MLS and SC STL basically tell them to get fu*ked? I understand that the leader of the Foundry group was a bit of ass in his letter to SC STL but big deal. SC basically said talk to the MLS and the MLS has said they’re not really interested in talking to Foundry. What I don’t understand is why the wealthy folks from Foundry can’t simply join the SC STL group and combine resources? You literally have someone step up to cover the rest of the cost and Peacock and his boys basically just shrugged. Something is fishy here…

    • Duncan Cooper

      I’ll give you a hint: they don’t have any resources.

      • jhoff1257

        From the St. Louis Business Journal:

        “Nicholas Mahrt, president of Foundry St. Louis and president and CEO of local nonprofit Commonwealth Leagues Utd., said his group has received a commitment from a Florida investor with a net worth of more than $2.5 billion willing to buy into the SC STL team.”

        • Alex Ihnen

          Either SC STL has not confirmed that the proposal is real and can be executed, or they don’t like the terms of the deal.

          • jhoff1257

            Which is all fine and dandy…but when someone offers to throw in an additional $80 million the response shouldn’t be an outright no. I don’t have a say in the matter either way but maybe STL taxpayers need to shut this down. Also if LA and NYC only paid $100 million in expansion fees why the hell would any sensible ownership group accept a $200 million fee for a market like St. Louis?

          • Jakeb

            “…if LA and NYC only paid $100 million in expansion fees why the hell
            would any sensible ownership group accept a $200 million fee for a
            market like St. Louis?”

            I agree with you on this point. It just doesn’t smell right.

    • Jakeb

      MLS demands very wealthy owners who can endure years of loses. MLS believes SC STL has those resources more so than Foundry.

      This is a business deal. I assume SC STL doesn’t want to be in business with the Foundry group.

      • jhoff1257

        Exactly. They’d rather screw over the taxpayer. I was for this when it first came out but my support is rapidly dropping. You have a potential investor that could eliminate the public subsidy and they’re just like no thanks. These guys are doing what’s best for them, not the community and that pisses me off.

        • Jakeb

          It’s probably more fair to say, they want to make money owning an MLS franchise and Saint Louis seems like their best opportunity to do that.

          For the ownership group this is not a philanthropic endeavor. They want to cut the best possible deal an so should those representing the taxpayers.

          • jhoff1257

            Absolutely agree. This isn’t for the City, it’s for them.

  • matt

    FYI -Tax Credit Application is missing.

    Good article – I have no idea why the public should care about the expansion fee. You decided you wanted to own an MLS team and were aware of what an expansion fee may be when you presented to the MLS board. Why would I help pay for that or factor that into the Private/Public discussion?

    This feels like a “We could probably pay for it but we mine as well ask STL public to pay for some if we don’t have to”

    • johnny1421

      Yea I’m really starting to think even if this gets voted down we’ll still get a team. They’ll scale back the stadium like Alex mentioned and be done with it

    • Alex Ihnen

      Link to Tax Credit Application now active. Thanks.

  • HixxinSoulard

    Coming off spending $~30MM for the failed riverfront stadium (that in retrospect had *zero* chance of over being built), incredibly disappointed that this is the plan being presented. It seems like a half-baked money grab. I’ll be calling the bluff, voting no and urging others to do so.

    • johnny1421

      I’m a soccer fanatic. Initially when I heard about the public portion I was confidently voting yes for it but more and more thinking about it it’s just a terrible idea. City has substantially bigger issues to fund/deal with. Pretty sure I’m voting no on this now and hoping it’s a bluff from the owners as well

      • Chippewa

        Aye. When this came out I was like, great! Even though I’m not a huge soccer fan, it would still be a fun and welcomed addition to the “stuff to do” scene around here.

        But…….there’s just too much wrong with this. What irks me is, SCSTL is composed of a large number of the same people from the Rams stadium project. We are seeing many of the same (dishonest, IMO) tactics from them regarding public funding. It’s quite disappointing and I’ll be voting no. This charade has to stop.