Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s still negotiating with them, but the city of St. Louis is preparing to move forward with eminent domain against the owners of several acres on the proposed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency site, including developer Paul McKee.

St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director Larry Williams says with the deadline for having the land under one owner in March, it’s time to move forward.

Williams says the city is being very careful and compassionate in the negotiations.

“In one case, an owner who really likes her home. They’ve been able to find a location, we’re going to be able to move that house.”

Of the 110 property owners on the 99 acre site at Jefferson and Cass, Williams says the city’s reached agreements with 76 of them.

He says they’re negotiating with 15 and preparing to start eminent domain proceedings against 19.  He says those numbers are constantly changing as more agreements are reached.

Williams says the city is hoping to avoid using eminent domain, “but in some cases, the owner has a position that they just want to wait or have been convinced this is not the right thing to do.”

One of those owners, so far, is McKee who owns 339 of the 368 properties in question.

Williams says talks with McKee are, “not adversarial. We just have not come to a deal.”

He says a bill affirming the beginning of the eminent domain process will go before the Board of Aldermen on Friday.

Williams says he is confident the city will be able to do what it has to to keep the NGA and its 3,100 employees in the city.

If it does not, the city will not purchase the properties.

The NGA is also considering a site near Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Ill. It’s expected to make its selection next March.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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