ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – St. Louis Blues executives and city leaders are asking taxpayers to help pay for what they claim is a must-have $138 million renovation of the Scottrade Center. On Thursday morning, they will make their case at a Ways and Means Committee hearing in the city.
Blues executives are adamant Scottrade is in dire need of renovation. Alex Rodrigo, group vice president of operations for Scottrade and arena general manager, says the team makes up a portion of all that goes on there.
“Of 128 events a year, 40 percent is the Blues, 60 percent of everything else that goes on in this facility is non-Blues,” Rodrigo says.
That portfolio includes Missouri Valley Conference basketball, SEC events, NCAA basketball championships, NCAA wrestling, shows like the Harlem Globetrotters and concerts like Bon Jovi.
Rodridgo is concerned because nothing has been update at Scottrade.
“We have all the original equipment in this facility from 23 years ago,” he says. “In some cases, we have late 80s technology and that doesn’t cut it anymore.”
Rodrigo says the industry has changed and vendors who bring in shows are telling them that Scottrade needs to evolve to keep business and grow it.
“We're at risk of losing shows if we don’t continue to maintain the building,” he says. “We have to remain competitive at the end of the day.”
Lewis Reed, president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, tells me that he is 100 percent behind using taxpayer money for renovations. Right now the city gets $4 million annually from Scottrade and Reed sees that as investment now.
“We would pledge that three years after renovations begin and that would equal over time to be about $67 million or so from taxpayers,” he says. “However, that money will come back and so many people will benefit from having Scottrade operating at a high level.”
It is a busy place. Tuesday and Thursday nights are Blues hockey; the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform Wednesday evening. This kind of schedule is regular.
Getting behind the renovations is something Reed sees as a necessity.
“That would generate more traffic in Scottrade, fill hotels, help local restaurants, and small businesses through downtown and in region,” Reed says.