The topic of development incentives is one that’s complex and controversial.
Are incentives such as tax abatements and tax increment financing (TIFs) fair? Would building or renovation projects typically awarded such incentives get built if they weren’t offered?
Those are just two of the questions explored in Jack Grone’s recent reporting. Grone is the editor of McPherson, an independent journalism startup in St. Louis.
Of particular interest to Grone is the Chase Park Plaza – a hotel and condominium tower in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood – which he noticed after 35 years of full or partial tax abatement is now back on the city’s tax rolls.
“The Chase Hotel ... and the Park Plaza condominium tower are together generating around $3 million in property taxes for the city each year,” Grone told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Wednesday. “[The Chase] has had its ups and downs and it really epitomizes, I think in many ways, the ups and downs the city of St. Louis has had,” Grone said of the towering iconic structure, the hotel of which was built in 1922 and the Park Plaza in 1929.
One of Grone’s striking findings is that the assessed value of the Chase Park Plaza is higher than many of the city’s neighborhoods.
“The Park Plaza condo tower – just on its own – if you look at its assessed value, is worth more than 29 of the city's 79 neighborhoods,” he said.
That fact highlights disparities and disinvestment in many parts of St. Louis but also points to a prosperous area of the city that might not be as prosperous if it weren’t for incentives.
As Grone and Marsh discussed, the reasons people support or oppose various tax incentives are broad and varied. Catch their full conversation:
Do you have a comment or question about tax incentives in St. Louis? Give us a call on our news and talk show line at (314) 516-6397. Leave us your name and where you’re calling from.
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