$175 million America's Center expansion wins first round approval from St. Louis aldermen

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday gave initial approval to a $175 million plan to expand and upgrade America’s Center downtown, something supporters say is necessary to boost tourism and attract more conventions to the city.

Under the plan, first announced in October, the fund used to service the debt issued in 1991 to finance the Dome at America’s Center — built for the National Football League Rams, which left in 2016 — will be used to service new, 40-year bonds issued for the America’s Center expansion. The Dome debt is set to be paid off in 2021. St. Louis and St. Louis County each contribute about $6 million a year to that fund through hotel taxes, and the state contributes $12 million.

The bill essentially extends the city’s and county’s current $6 million payments for up to 40 years, said sponsoring Alderman Jack Coatar, whose 7th Ward includes downtown. But the plan depends on the St. Louis County Council’s authorizing the same financing.

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