A Missouri lawmaker pushing legislation to fund Scottrade Center renovations in St. Louis is hopeful, with the session’s final week starting.
The 2017 Missouri legislative session ends Friday at 6 p.m. in Jefferson City.
State Sen. Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) has legislation that would allow state funding for land clearance projects “related to tourism infrastructure facilities.”
The Schatz bill would allow up to $6 million in state funding annually to pay for renovations at the Scottrade Center, which was built in 1994.
Schatz tells Missourinet he’s “cautiously optimistic” heading into the final week.
The Senate Economic Development Committee approved the bill in March, on a 9-2 vote. State Sens. Dan Hegeman (R-Cosby) and Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) voted against the bill.
The Schatz bill is now in the Senate, where its biggest opponent may be time. REAL ID, Blue Alert legislation and charter schools are just some of the major issues still unresolved in the Senate.
State Rep. Jean Evans (R-Manchester) tells Missourinet a similar bill was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 302 in the House. SB 302 involves “advanced industrial manufacturing zones.”
Scottrade is where the NHL’s Blues play.
Supporters are asking the state for about $65 million to help fund improvements. Schatz and other bill supporters say the 23-year-old facility’s plumbing and mechanical systems are failing.
Blues CEO Chris Zimmerman testified before the Missouri Senate Economic Development Committee in March. He told senators the Scottrade Center’s plumbing and electrical are failing and that piping throughout the entire facility “is deteriorating.”
The Scottrade Center, which used to be called the Savvis Center, has hosted more than 32-million guests.
During that March hearing, Zimmerman provided senators with a packet, which said that hot water pumps at Scottrade “are at the end of their useful life”, and that the water heaters throughout the building are original 1994 and “do not have enough capacity during large events.”
The packet also noted that Scottrade Center building lighting controls are “operating from Windows 95” and that the building still has its original 1994 emergency power generator.
Schatz testified in March that Scottrade generates $170 million in direct spending annually by 1.2 million annual visitors. He also testified that the facility generates $11 million annually in tax revenues for the state.
The “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” has reported that the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved issuing $64 million in bonds, and that the Blues ownership group plans to chip in $50 million over the next 20 to 30 years.
Zimmerman’s March packet notes that the city-owned Scottrade Center has been 95 percent funded and maintained by Kiel Center Partners, the entity which owns the Blues franchise and leases and operates Scottrade and the Peabody Opera House.
The packet says that through four different ownership groups, including the current group led by Tom Stillman, the private investment in the facility by the Kiel Center Partners has been about $180 million.