McKee Wants Help Getting More Taxpayer Money
ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Developer Paul McKee is asking the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to help him qualify for more state tax credits by lumping his plans for the Bottle District with his stalled Northside Redevelopment Project.
McKee wants the Bottle District — a 17-acre empty lot north of the Edward Jones Dome — formally joined to his Northside Project in order to qualify for Distressed Area Land Assemblage tax credits. The designation would allow McKee to recoup half of the $3 million he spent purchasing the Bottle District from taxpayers.
In December, the Board of Alderman approved McKee’s first request for $51 million in tax increment financing for the Bottle District project. His plans call for restaurants, stores, offices and a small hotel on the site.
This week, the Missouri Supreme Court announced it will hear oral arguments November 28 on McKee’s Northside Project TIF case. Two lower courts have already ruled against McKee, saying his project is too big and lacking in specifics to qualify for a $390 million TIF approved earlier by the Board of Aldermen.
Alderman Scott Ogilvie says the board should wait and see what the Missouri Supreme Court does with McKee’s TIF case, before adding more land to it.
“I cannot imagine why it is in any of our interest to add more property to it, making it bigger, when that was part of the legal issue with it in the first place,” Ogilvie said.
Alderman Tom Villa also has some concerns about the bill.
“I think that developer is spread awfully thin,” Villa said, “Mr. McKee has taken on a gargantuan task. He is applauded in some circles, and questioned in others, and I am somewhere in that circle of those questioning him.”
The plan is sponsored by Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard, whose father reportedly runs a nonprofit housing agency that is working with McKee on the Northside project.
Many alderman declined to comment on McKee’s latest request, saying they hadn’t read the bill yet.
Alderwoman Phyllis Young expressed her support for helping McKee get more tax credits for the Bottle District.
“I think this is a preparatory step,” Young said, “and getting the development underway. If the courts throw it out, our legislation will be thrown out. No harm.”