St. Louis May Soon Welcome Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of Its Own

Aldermen are weighing a tax abatement for the project, planned for JeffVanderLou

Mar 19, 2024 at 2:03 pm
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City (shown above) is planning a St. Louis affiliate.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City (shown above) is planning a St. Louis affiliate. FLICKR/BASEBALL OOGIE

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is considering a bill that would provide tax abatement and a blighting study for the JeffVanderLou area — where a new Negro Leagues Baseball Museum hopes to open.

The museum, planned for 2423 North Spring Street, will be an affiliate of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City that will emphasize the role of the St. Louis Stars as well as other prominent Black baseball players who contributed to the city, developer Guyton Harvey said during a committee meeting on Tuesday.

The Stars were originally known as the Giants before the team was sold to a new owner, according to the museum. Overall the team won the Negro National League pennant (in 1928, 1930 and 1931) and the Negro National League Second Half Chamionship in 1925 and 1939.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is also developing the nearby Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center, which will hold a Sports Science Center, research library, technology center, exhibit space with a changing gallery, an event center and office space, according to documents provided by the St. Louis Development Corporation, which helped present the project.

Ward 11 Alderwoman Laura Keys sponsored the bill that would provide up to 15 years of tax abatement to three developments proposed in the JeffVanderLou area including the construction of 34 senior housing units and retail and a commercial building that would house the baseball museum. 

This bill was heard at the board’s Housing, Urban Development, and Zoning Committee on Tuesday. 

Aldermen recently passed Board Bill 174 — which went before this same committee during its legislative process — that would approve blight redevelopment in this area, teeing up the board’s use of eminent domain against Paul McKee’s developments. Bill 174 will impact 821.4 acres in the St. Louis Place, JeffVanderLou and Carr Square neighborhoods, RFT previously reported

Keys’ Board Bill 211 would impact scattered sites in the JeffVanderLou area and it is anticipated that at least three redevelopment projects will take place in the area of these scattered sites around Rumbold Park.

These are the proposed development sites for the JeffVanderLou project. - Screenshot from SLDC and the Board of Aldermen
Screenshot from SLDC and the Board of Aldermen
These are the proposed development sites for the JeffVanderLou project.

The implementation of the plan would result in the creation of 25 jobs in the area, according to the plan provided to aldermen. The discussions surrounding this plan have spanned two years, according to the documents. 

“The application for tax abatement for the project was submitted to SLDC (St. Louis Development Corporation) in September 2022,” the group stated in the documents. “The project was presented to the LCRA board in October 2022 and the Redevelopment Plan and Blighting Study were approved.”

Now the project must be approved by the full Board of Aldermen. 

The first phase of the redevelopment project would be the construction of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Harvey said. The second phase would create 34 to 40 affordable senior housing units and the third phase would allow for home construction and retail spaces.

In addition to the museum development at North Spring and St. Ferdinand Place, the senior housing would be on Prairie Street. Essentially, the entire project would wrap around Rumbold Park. 

Harvey said he is in discussions with a community health entity as well for the commercial space but did not say which entity.

Bill 211 was passed out of committee with a “do pass” recommendation to the full board.

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