The proposal, outlined at a Jan. 2 news conference, would use St. Louis tax revenue that the Scottrade Center generates to finance $67.5 million in bonds to pay for improvements to the 21,000-capacity building.
Blues Chaiman Tom Stillman said the upgrades to the 22-year-old venue are badly needed or St. Louis could lose out on big draws like the NCAA wrestling championships, basketball regionals and concerts.
The bonds would be repaid by a new 1 percent sales tax collected solely at the Scottrade Center and the Peabody Opera House next door, Mayor Francis Slay said.
"If we want to continue to bring people into our city, who will enjoy their visit and spend their money, we must upgrade our aging hospitality infrastructure assets," Slay said.
The announcement came one day after Gov.-elect Eric Greitens reiterated his opposition to state funding of another downtown St. Louis project, a proposed $200 million soccer stadium considered the key to attracting a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. Investors wanted $40 million in state tax credits, along with $80 million in city funding if voters approve.
Stillman said the Blues and team owners have spent $237 million on improvements over the years, and would continue to help fund future upgrades even with the public money.
The improvements range from new refrigerant piping for the hockey rink to exterior renovations to upgraded locker rooms and seating upgrades. Stillman said events at the Scottrade Center have generated more than $100 million in tax revenue for the city.
The arena "is really at a crossroads," Stillman said. "If we renovate it, modernize it, make it competitive again, it will continue to have a major effect on our local economy for years to come, also on our quality of life as St. Louis citizens."