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Paul McKee Grinning as Mo Supreme Court Rules His Way

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Developer Paul McKee at state appeals court, (KMOX/file photo)

Developer Paul McKee at state appeals court, (KMOX/file photo)

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ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Developer Paul McKee was planning  to celebrate by having “a quiet evening at home with my wife,” after the Missouri Supreme Court reversed two lower court rulings to give McKee the tax breaks he wants for his northside redevelopment plan.

The three-year long court fight centered on whether McKee’s sprawling plan for 1,500 acres of north St. Louis included enough specifics to qualify for the city’s $390 million tax increment financing.

“I think the important thing is we can say we’re open for business on the northside,” McKee said.

Plans call for using the TIF money to build infrastructure — roads, sewers, street lights, and sidewalks — where McKee will build new homes, parks and business centers.

“We do have people interested in doing things all over the entire site,” McKee said, “But the most pressing area is at the foot of the new (Mississippi River) bridge. The new bridge is coming along so well.”

McKee says he has so far purchased 75 percent of the land needed for his project, and needs to assemble 25 percent more of the pieces. He has recently been lobbying the Missouri legislature to expand a distressed land assemblage tax, which was created for his northside project.

The ruling is a victory for McKee’s attorney Paul Puricelli who says the lower courts failed to see the specific projects in the plan that qualified for the TIF.

“There were some very specific projects in the redevelopment agreement,” Puricelli said, “There were projects laid out in there for demolition of abandoned structures, for environmental remediation of property within the redevelopment area, things that had to be done by a date certain.”

An attorney for residents who sought to stop TIF funding calls the ruling disappointing.

The $8 billion development is expected to eventually include 10,000 homes, office and retail space in a two-square-mile area north of downtown.

Copyright KMOX

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