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St. Louis MLS franchise gets $5.7M in tax breaks for stadium

St. Louis’ Major League Soccer franchise has received $5.7 million in state tax credits to help pay for the construction of a soccer complex on the western edge of downtown.

The Missouri Development Finance Board voted unanimously to give the team’s ownership group the tax break, three months after Gov. Mike Parson’s administration blocked the project from receiving $30 million in tax credits, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“I feel a lot better about this project,” said board chairwoman Marie Carmichael. “It is certainly more doable.”

The agreement will help the team’s owners pay for the rerouting and installation of utilities.

Although board treasurer John Mehner voted in favor of the project, he raised concerns about beginning it at a time when the world is battling the coronavirus.

He suggested waiting at least two months before taking actions on the tax credits.

“I’m worried about the optics, and whether this is the exact right time to take action,” he said.

Otis Williams, director of St. Louis’ Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, urged the board for its approval so that stadium could be ready for the start of the 2022 season.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, who sits on the development board, said he views the board’s action as sending a signal to people dealing with the coronavirus outbreak that the state is committed to job creation.

“We want people to understand we will get through this,” Kehoe told board members.

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