St. Louis soccer stadium wins early support for tax incentives

Aldermen grilled the ownership group, represented by Enterprise Holdings Foundation Executive Director Carolyn Kindle Betz, on stadium financing, maintenance, construction worker pay and the as-yet-unknown costs of stadium ownership. Kindle Betz and other team representatives said repeatedly that the city would not be on the hook for extra costs.

“I don’t know any other way to say it,” said Thompson Coburn attorney Bill Kuehling, who is working for the owners. “The team will be responsible for all costs under that lease.”

The proposal passed on Wednesday is just a first step. It must win approval by the full board, perhaps as soon as Friday. And, as a resolution, it outlines only a plan — it doesn’t create the laws required to secure tax incentives. Aldermen will have to vote on those later.

Still, it provides a set of incentives that the city and ownership group have agreed upon. It includes a full exemption on construction material sales tax, free use of the site — state highway land just west of Union Station on Market Street — plus a 50 percent break on ticket taxes and the addition of a 3 percent sales tax on goods sold at the stadium. It also recommends funneling the other half of the ticket tax into a city fund to support future stadium improvements.

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