Bottle District
4:07 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Aldermen approve McKee effort to buy Bottle District site

Paul McKee's redevelopment footprint in north St. Louis is a major step closer to growing by 17 acres.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen today approved a measure that allows McKee to purchase the Bottle District site just north of the Edward Jones Dome, and tap into the $51 million in tax increment financing already approved. McKee will develop a $190 million mixed-development project along with current owners Larry Chapman and Clayco, the construction company.

The team worked together on NorthPark, a 550-acre site near Lambert Airport. And that, says the measure's sponsor, Lewis Reed, will make the Bottle District project successful.

"They have the experience in developing along Interstate 70 now, and they know the markets, they know the types of businesses that are going to be looking to relocate there," Reed said.

The measure faced limited opposition, with just three aldermen opposing it, though two abstained. Ald. Scott Ogilvie was among those voting no. The plans for the Bottle District itself seem reasonable, he said, but he's worried McKee is spreading himself too thin.

"The question I have is, if he's more involved in these three projects at the same time, will they have the financial wherewithal to move forward on the biggest project of all, which is the Northside project," Ogilvie said.

He also expressed concern that focusing on the Bottle District would further delay work on the $8.1 billion plan for the northside, which is tangled up in a legal fight.