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TIF Commission approves $3.8 million TIF for Dogtown apartment project

Rendering of the proposed apartment building at Clayton Avenue and Graham Street.
Courtesy of Pearl Companies
Rendering of the proposed apartment building at Clayton Avenue and Graham Street.

Updated with TIF Commission's vote Wednesday

A $26 million apartment building project has received the first round of approval for tax incentives from the city of St. Louis.

The Tax Increment Financing Commission approved a $3.8 million TIF for the project at Clayton Ave. and Graham St. on Wednesday. 

The developer, Indianapolis-based Pearl Companies, is proposing a building with 100 apartments, underground parking, and 16,000 square feet of retail space. Brad Richey, principal of Pearl Real Estate Companies, said they expect to have an agreement with an unnamed grocer finalized soon.

“It’s close. We’ve been in discussions with them for some time,” Richey said. “They’re doing their due diligence and we’re doing ours just to make sure it’s a good fit for both of us, but it’s moving in a positive direction.”

The TIF Commission heard testimony for about two hours before taking a vote, with six commissioners voting in favor and one abstaining. Alderman Scott Ogilvie (D-24th Ward) said the project has neighborhood approval and adds an amenity where there’s been a vacant lot for the last 10 years.

“Right now the lot is paying an almost absurdly low property tax rate and if this building is completed and the retail space is opened on the first floor, it generates more property tax right away,” Ogilvie said.

Currently, the property tax revenue for the city is about $3,500 annually.

The St. Louis Development Corporation said the project would provide more than $3 million in revenue for the city over the TIF’s 23-year length, compared to just $15,000 in property taxes if the project does not get built.

The Board of Aldermen must still approve the TIF.

Original story 

A planned $26 million apartment and retail development in St. Louis’ Dogtown neighborhood could remake a long neglected spot.

Pearl Companies, of Indianapolis, is proposing a five-story apartment building at the corner of Clayton Avenue and Graham Street. The project includes plans for 100 apartments and about 16,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, which could include a grocery store.

The developers will go before the Tax Increment Financing Commission on Wednesday, seeking $3.8 million in financing.

Pearl Companies is taking with a grocer and is close to signing a lease, according to Alderman Scott Ogilvie, a Democrat who represents the 24th Ward.

Ogilvie said the less than one-acre site has been vacant for a decade.

“The change from vacant lot and barbed wire fence to 150 residents and hopefully a grocery on the [first] floor will obviously be a very beneficial and welcome change to the entrance to the neighborhood,” he said.

Ogilvie said the developer is seeking tax increment financing from the city to help pay for planned underground parking. TIF allows developers to take the increase in tax revenue and put that toward paying off development costs.

“The underground parking is expensive and in this case, the tax increment financing would basically, one-to-one, offset the cost of the underground parking they have to build to make it work,” he said.

A community association approved the plan several months ago. A previous apartment proposed in 2013 by another developer was opposed by residents, in part because of parking issues.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

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