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Board approves McKee TIF bill with contingencies

An artist's rendering of the Green Leaf Market and ZOOM Store to be built at Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street. April 2016
courtesy Northside Regeneration
An artist's rendering of the Green Leaf Market and ZOOM Store to be built at Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street.

The St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment will allow the release of a $2.8 million tax increment financing note for developer Paul McKee’s planned grocery store and gas station.

But that’s only if the Board of Aldermen will amend language in a related bill. That legislation creates a Community Improvement District for McKee’s two stores and levies a one percent sales tax. The $20 million project includes the GreenLeaf Market and ZOOM Store and is expected to create more than 70 jobs.

Comptroller Darlene Green expressed concerns about the tax when the E&A met on Wednesday. The board, which also includes Mayor Francis Slay and Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, agreed to defer voting on the measure until Thursday.

Green said the 40 year length of the Community Improvement District and the tax was too long. The amended language the E&A board agreed to Thursday instead ties it to the length of the TIF, which sunsets at the end of 2032 and can only be extended by petition.

“I’m very happy to say the one percent charge will end at 16 years instead of being allowed to go all the way out for 40 years,” Green said after the meeting.

The comptroller said she looked at other Community Improvement Districts in the city to make sure this deal was similarly structured. She said she found a CID in south city that tied the end date of its tax to a developer’s TIF.

“That shows you that it could be done,” she said, “that the developer didn’t need a total of 40 years, so just by doing due diligence and approaching the developer with more reasonable terms it was achieved.”

On Wednesday Green had also voiced concern that McKee, two of his employees and an SLDC employee will make up the Community Improvement District board and asked that the mayor be able to appoint community members.

Attorneys for SLDC said in Thursday’s meeting that Missouri state statute requires that the CID board consist of residents, property owners or business owners within the district. In this case the only property owner is Northside Regeneration.

Both board bills will go before the Board of Aldermen on Friday.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.