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State set to loan St. Louis tourism agency $8M

Kansas City's tourism agency is in line for a $5 million loan
Credit: SLBJ
America's Center

ST. LOUIS — A Missouri board is set to loan $8 million to Explore St. Louis, whose finances have been devastated by pandemic shutdowns.

The Missouri Development Finance Board approved the move in a preliminary vote Tuesday. It will require a second vote.

State documents say Explore, which operates the downtown St. Louis convention facility known as America's Center, has been working with Stifel Public Finance to finance shortfalls in 2020 operating revenue.

"The negative impacts of this pandemic have been felt to varying degrees by all sectors of the economy, but have especially impacted the tourism and convention industries as a result of the decrease in the targeted tax revenues generated and fee income earned from these activities," the documents said. "These taxes primarily consist of hotel/motel, car rental, and other sales taxes that are the primary source of funds supporting these operations."

The board would issue 10-year revenue bonds. Kansas City's tourism agency is in line for a $5 million loan.

Explore in March implemented pay cuts, layoffs and furloughed hundreds of workers, as conventions were canceled.

In a bright spot for the organization, though, the city of St. Louis in August moved forward with issuing bonds for an expansion of the America's Center.

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