Jury trial begins over McRee Town compensation
By Bill Raack, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – The first of possibly several jury trials will begin today (Monday) to determine if a former landlord in the McRee Town neighborhood was fairly compensated by the city for his property.
The 12 block area of south St. Louis was redeveloped and renamed Botanical Heights last year after more than 100 families were displaced. Jim Roos owned some of the buildings that were bought and torn down. He says he is pursuing fair compensation for the homes.
"And there's no way to measure what's fair compensation," said Roos. "Particularly if it's a home that you've owned and lived in. How can you measure that? Yeah, if you want to sell it you can measure what somebody might pay for it but how can you measure what it's really worth to us?"
Roos says the Missouri Botanical Garden's not for profit development agency paid an average of $25,000 per unit. But George Robnett, the executive director of the Garden District Commission, says it was much more than that.
"It was all based upon an appraisal done by an independent appraiser, reviewed again by another independent review appraiser and then of course if was up for negotiation but our starting point of offering anything for a parcel of property had to be, at minimum, the fair market value," said Robnett.
The Garden District Commission spent $4 million to relocate the homeowners.