From a Moody’s analysis accompanying an upgrade of some municipal general obligation bonds:
Moody’s expects the city’s economy will continue to see modest near term expansion due to its central role in a 16 county metropolitan area with a population of approximately 3 million and continued efforts to reinvest in the downtown region and city neighborhoods. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city’s population increased to approximately 350,759 through 2007, a modest 0.7% increase from 2000. City officials indicate the population gain, beginning in 2003, is the first for the city in more than 50 years, and largely reflects in the in-migration of young professionals. Significant redevelopment constructed or underway in the city’s downtown supports this population gain, including a recently constructed $400 million St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium; a casino and hotel which opened in late 2007; a $300 million residential and commercial development, Ballpark Village, that is expected to surround the new baseball stadium; and a $60 million medical research facility constructed by St. Louis University. Approximately $5.1 billion of new investment in downtown has taken place since 2001 or is currently underway. The development, coupled with natural appreciation, has helped generate a 4.8% average annual growth in the city’s sizeable $15.5 billion tax base since 2002. While development in the city has slowed recently with projects being scaled back in line with national and regional housing trends, Moody’s notes that the city is not facing a material increase in foreclosure trends.