Scottrade Center officially opened on October 8, 1994
Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, Scottrade Center is one of the finest sports and entertainment complexes in the country, with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment and an unprecedented commitment to quality and service. Scottrade Center officially opened on Saturday, October 8, 1994.
Scottrade Center is a contemporary, 12-story glass and concrete structure located in the heart of downtown St. Louis. The home of the St. Louis Blues Hockey Club, Scottrade Center also features a full range of arena programming, including concerts, ice shows, family shows and other sporting events. Scottrade Center plays host to approximately 175 events per year, bringing nearly 2 million guests to downtown St. Louis annually and ranking it among the top arenas in the country.
The arena rests on the former site of Keil Auditorium, built in 1932 as a municipal auditorium for the citizens of St. Louis. Designed by St. Louis architects Louis LaBeaume and Eugene S. Klein, Kiel Auditorium served St. Louis for six decades as a center for conventions, public meetings, expositions, sports events and musical performances.
According to a 1934 mayoral proclamation, Kiel Auditorium, and the adjoining Kiel Opera House, was “designed to enrich the peoples’ lives and increase their enjoyment and … add to the attractiveness and popularity of our city as it will bring to us great conventions and cultural activities.” Originally known as the Municipal Auditorium, Kiel Auditorium was officially names in honor of former St. Louis major Henry W. Kiel on March 26, 2943. Kiel, a strong supporter of the arts, had encouraged the idea of a municipal auditorium and helped that concept become a reality.
Kiel Auditorium served as the home court of the St. Louis Hawks professional basketball team and the Saint Louis University Billikens basketball team. Among the many stars who performed at Kiel Auditorium were Jack Benny, Neil Diamond, Duke Ellington, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, the Jackson Five, the Supremes, Billy Joel, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder.
In 1985, the then-owner of the St. Louis Blues hockey team contemplated relocating the team out of St. Louis. The pending move prompted members of the St. Louis business community to formulate a plan to purchase the Blues and keep the club in St. Louis. In 1990, however, it became evident that the long-term viability of the Blues required building a new hockey arena, one in which there was common ownership between the team and the facility. Also obvious was the need to replace the St. Louis Arena, a sixty-five-year-old building that lacked many of the amenities needed for a first-class professional sports team, as well as to attract other events to St. Louis. As a result, a group of major St. Louis corporations, all members of the prominent Civic Progress organization (an organization formed in 1953 and comprised of the chief executive officers of the region’s 26 largest corporations), formed a limited partnership called Kiel Center Partners, LP, to develop the project.
A variety of alternative sites were explored, and ultimately the site of Kiel Auditorium was selected, due to the availability of tax-exempt financing through the Transition Rule in the 1986 Tax Reform Act. With the formation of Kiel Center Partners, $62.4 million in tax-exempt bonds were issued prior to the Transition Rule’s December 31, 1990 expiration date and the decision was made to demolish the old Kiel Auditorium and Garage.
The City of St. Louis then agreed to lease the site and assign certain development rights to Kiel Center Partners, including a 25-year real estate tax abatement. With site control secured in 1991 through leases with various city agencies, arrangements were made for the city’s participation in demolition, site preparation and construction of a new parking garage. Also in 1991, Kiel Center Partners delivered its formal developer readiness notice to city officials and demolition of Kiel Auditorium and Garage officially began on December 14, 1992. Kiel Center opened just 22 months later on October 8, 1994.
In 2006, naming rights for the building were sold to Scottrade®, a St. Louis-based leading branch-supported online brokerage. The building is now known as Scottrade Center.