ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)– Paul McKee gets what he asked for from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen — a $51 million tax break to buy the vacant Bottle District just north of the Edward Jones dome.
The plan passed with 20 yes votes, three no votes and two abstentions.
Supporters argued that McKee is capable of delivering on a $190 million plan to build offices, a hotel, shops and restaurants on the 17-acre site.
Opponents, including Alderman Tom Villa, voiced concerns about McKee having overextended himself with the long-stalled northside redevelopment plan.
“What has transpired to date, other than a lot of acquisition, I don’t see much else happening,” Villa said, “I think there’s a district possiblity in this economy a lot of things are going to languish.”
Alderman Scott Ogilvie also voted no.
“I’m concerned given the financial situation of McEagle that we hear about in the news, that this Bottle District project, since McKee is now the designated developer on that project, could potentially delay the rest of the northside project,”Ogilvie said.
Earlier in the week, the free market think tank the Show-Me Institute questioned whether such a prime piece of downtown real estate, adjacent to the new Mississippi river bridge, needs a tax break.
But no aldermen seemed to share that concern.
“Business people have to have an incentive for them to step in,” said Alderman Freeman Bosley Senior.
Alderwoman Jennifer Florida, who also voted yes, was asked if such a pretty daughter needs a dowry to get married.
“Sometimes,” she said.