St. Louis group unveils plans for MLS expansion team and new stadium

A Missouri ownership group announced formal plans on Thursday to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to St. Louis and build a new downtown stadium.

The group, known as SC STL and led by Paul Edgerley, also plans to acquire Saint Louis FC, which plays in USL.

St. Louis moved among the top contenders to join MLS in January when the NFL's Rams decided to move to Los Angeles.

Commissioner Don Garber, who has outlined a plan to grow the league to 28 teams, visited the city last year and said in April that the league believes St. Louis is "MLS-ready" and could play as early as 2020.

In Thursday's announcement, Garber said: "With its rich soccer heritage, St. Louis has always been a market of great interest to Major League Soccer and SC STL is the ideal ownership group that will provide St. Louis the best opportunity for a future expansion team."

"We have had very productive meetings with lead investor Paul Edgerley and his partners and will continue to do so as they work to bring an expansion team to St. Louis. Their downtown site is the ideal location for a new stadium and we look forward to helping them make it a reality."

The group plans to build a stadium just west of Union Station, within a mile of the Cardinals' Busch Stadium and the Blues' Scottrade Center. SC STL already has the exclusive option to purchase the land from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Renderings designed by HOK showed a 20,000-seat venue with the ability to expand to 28,500 seats.

It's expected to cost $200 million, and while the group plans to "fund much of the construction" a vote on public funding is expected next April. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that the public could be asked to pay 40 percent -- $80 million.

The group said it will cover the league's expansion fee, which is expected to be between $125-135 million.