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St. Louis unveils expanded MLS stadium plan

The new plan will have the mixed-use stadium site cover about 30 acres, anchored by a stadium that will seat 22,500 fans.

The proposed stadium for St. Louis' MLS expansion club will seat 22,500 fans and sit 40 feet below street level. (MLS4TheLou rendering)

When Major League Soccer comes to St. Louis, the people behind the club want the stadium to be bigger and better than originally planned.

The ownership group for the team, which is expected to begin play in MLS in 2022, unveiled plans Thursday for an expanded stadium plan. The new plan will have the mixed-use stadium site cover about 30 acres between 20th and 22nd streets in St. Louis. Around the stadium will be retail, restaurants and meeting spaces open year-round.

“Our vision is to create a district around our proposed MLS stadium that will get people excited to visit Downtown West, not only before and after games, but on non-game days as well,” team owner Carolyn Kindle Betz said in a statement. “We believe this district will not only be the heart of St. Louis soccer, but a special piece of downtown that will fuel the renaissance currently underway.”

The stadium will also be available for use for concerts, college sports, high school sports, camps and other entertainment.

The stadium itself will be open air with a canopy design and seat about 22,500 fans, with the ability to expand to 25,000. Every seat will be within 120 feet of the pitch, which will sit 40 feet below street level to create what the club called a “unique urban footprint.”

The main stadium entrance will be less than 250 feet away from St. Louis’ Union Station. The club will house its team offices and training facility just west of the station.

“Since awarding Major League Soccer’s 28th team to St. Louis in August, it is obvious the MLS4TheLou Ownership Group has been working hard to create a world-class stadium along with adjacent training fields and team headquarters in a single downtown location, which is unprecedented for MLS,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “While there is work to be completed, we commend all who have been engaged in this process and we believe this comprehensive stadium plan will not only deliver great benefits to St. Louisans for years to come, but also serve as a model for future professional sports teams in the U.S.”

The majority female ownership of the St. Louis club is 100 percent based in the city. Their proposal for the stadium is “overwhelmingly” privately financed and the ownership has “no intention” of requesting tax dollars from the city, according to the club. The ownership has agreed to purchase and own the stadium and land, instead of leasing it from the city.

The stadium plan will cost north of $250 million, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

“We are very excited the ownership group is moving forward with its plan to own both the stadium and the practice facilities for the City of St. Louis’ new MLS team,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said in a statement. “I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen of the plans so far and am very much looking forward to spring 2022. People from all over St. Louis will benefit from this new addition to our City and this new soccer team that will represent the best of St. Louis.”

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