The city of St. Louis would give the owners of a possible Major League Soccer team a 50 percent break on ticket taxes collected at a new stadium in downtown St. Louis, according to documents set to go before the Board of Aldermen this week.
The city would set aside the other half of the ticket taxes to pay for future stadium improvements. The soccer team’s projected owners — World Wide Technology chief executive Jim Kavanaugh and Enterprise Holdings’ Taylor family — would also get a full tax exemption on stadium construction materials, free use of land just west of Union Station on Market Street, and as much as a $30 million tax break from the state, according to the documents. A 3 percent sales tax on stadium goods would go toward backing construction bonds.
City officials said the incentives are a great deal.
“This is $400 million in private investment,” Mayor Lyda Krewson said on Tuesday. “There’s a huge amount of support in St. Louis for this.”
Details of the city incentive package began to trickle out Tuesday morning, first with the release of an agenda by an arm of the city’s development agency, then with a resolution set to go before the Board of Aldermen on Friday.
Together, they signal that the soccer team owners are preparing their application to MLS for an expansion team. City officials expect it to be filed as soon as early December.
Kim Hennen, a spokeswoman for the ownership group, declined to comment. MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche said he had no updates on expansion opportunities.
Last year, an effort headed by Kavanaugh and Schnuck Markets Inc. President Dave Peacock died at the ballot box, when city voters rejected a citywide sales tax that would have provided about $60 million toward construction of a stadium.
Kavanaugh and the Taylors surprised the region with an announcement last month that they would pursue a team anew.
The group is pitching a privately financed $250 million, 20,000-seat stadium just west of Union Station, in roughly the same location as the earlier plan. City leaders expect expansion fees to add $150 million to the price tag.
The league has said it is interested in growing to 28 teams and, with the coming additions of Cincinnati, Miami and Nashville, Tenn., has two slots left. Detroit, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas are also reportedly interested.
A city economic development agency, the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, is scheduled to meet on Thursday. It will discuss a proposal to apply for a Missouri Development Finance Board tax credit of up to $30 million for the new stadium. The state development board would have to approve such a tax credit before it is issued. The state board is scheduled to meet in December.
The city development board will also consider a measure on Thursday that essentially gives the Taylors and Kavanaugh a full tax exemption on stadium construction materials.
The city development agency and the team owners are still working out details of the stadium land lease. The agency said the owners would pay it back for its work.
The resolution set to go before the Board of Aldermen is more of an outline of the city ordinances that would need to come before the board if the Taylors get a team. It will be introduced to aldermen on Friday, and come up for a vote in later weeks.
Aldermanic President Lewis Reed will introduce the resolution. Tom Shepard, Reed’s chief of staff, said 10 of the board’s 28 aldermen have already thrown their support behind it.