Paul McKee’s Bottle District Tax Break Blocked by Board of Aldermen
ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–With his northside redevelopment plan tied up before the Missouri Supreme Court, developer Paul McKee was dealt a fresh blow by the board of aldermen.
Aldermen voted down a plan that would have let McKee attach his Bottle District property to the northside project — a move that would have qualified him for $1.4 million in state tax credits.
Aldermen Antonio French was among the McKee skeptics, urging a pause in the decision until the state high court can rule on the validity of the city’s tax increment finance package underpinning McKee’s northside project.
“I don’t buy that’s what’s good for McKee is good for St. Louis,” French said, “We have seen $30 million transferred to Mr. McKee from the state for his project, and we have not seen $30 million in development because of it.”
Alderman Freeman Bosley Senior also urged a delay, complaining that 46 percent of McKee’s northside project touches his ward, yet McKee has not paid him the courtesy of explaining it.
“No one has ever sat down with me and explained what it was they were trying to do,” Bosley said.
McKee’s ally on the board, alderwoman Tamika Hubbard, told reporters after the defeat of her McKee Bottle District bill that it doesn’t mean the board has turned skeptical toward McKee in general.
“I don’t think it was skepticism, I think there were some procedural concerns,” Hubbard said, “and I believe we’ll work them out and the bill will pass. Thank you.” Hubbard then walked away.
Privately, aldermen said afterward that Hubbard has exhibited an “overly independent” style since she took office, and she was getting her comeuppance as a “rookie” for trying to push through a bill that many just wanted to delay for a week to resolve some questions.
Several aldermen were absent during the close vote, so McKee is expected to get a chance for reconsideration next week.