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City closes on Convention Center bond sale

City closes on Convention Center bond sale

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America's Center to undergo major expansion

America's Center unveiled a new project that will add more room and green space to the center. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS — Comptroller Darlene Green announced Thursday that the city had closed on the sale of bonds that will finance half of the $210 million expansion of the downtown convention complex America's Center.

The offering was oversubscribed and raised enough to cover the city's share of $105 million in bonds for the project. St. Louis County agreed last year to cover the other half of the project. It hasn't issued its bonds but has an existing account that can cover its share of the project's beginning stages.

Work is expected to start soon on the project that will add 92,000 square feet of exhibit space along Cole Street and a 65,000-square-foot ballroom along Ninth Street, as well as a new pavilion and public plaza on a surface parking lot behind the T-Rex business incubator. The project is slated for completion in 2023.

The city's share of the bonds is expected to be paid with the $6 million a year that now goes to debt on the Dome at America's Center, where the NFL Rams used to play. The bonds that financed the Dome are expected to be paid off next year.

The sale marks the end of political wrangling to get the financing issued. The project was first announced two years ago. Earlier this year, the issue was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about the impact on bond pricing. The city finally approved the bond issue in August.

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