ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Should stalled developer Paul McKee get help from taxpayers if he buys the Bottle District? A free market think tank says, no way.
The Show-Me Institute, which helped kill state tax breaks for the China Hub, is now opposing a proposed $51 million tax increment finance package for McKee before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.
“This is really some very valuable property in downtown St. Louis,” said Show-Me Institute Policy Analyst David Stokes, “It’s just north of downtown. The new bridge is what’s making it so valuable. Why we have to subsidize development there, I would argue we’re already subsidizing it by spending hundreds of millions of dollars for a new bridge.”
Aldermen are scheduled to debate the TIF plan on Friday. It passed out of committee 9 to 0. Aldermanic President Lewis Reed is sponsoring the bill, saying it’s needed to get the long-vacant Bottle District developed.
The 17-acre tract north of the Edward Jones dome is now famous for tailgate parties. It gets its name from the old Vess Soda bottle sign that motorists can see from Interstate 70.
McKee wants to buy the site from the current owner Clayco, and develop it as part of his stalled Northside project. The Northside project has been bogged down in court challenges for more than a year, while hundreds of properties McKee acquired sit vacant and some crumbling.