City Foundry and Midtown Redevelopment projects move forward

Dec 7, 2016

Two major redevelopment projects in St. Louis’ midtown got approval from an aldermanic committee on Wednesday.

City Foundry covers about 14 acres just east of IKEA. The Midtown Redevelopment, spearheaded by Saint Louis University, includes nearly 400 acres along Grand Avenue.

The City Foundry is a being developed by Cortex and the Lawrence group in four phases that could cost up to $340 million. The plan includes food, retail, office space and apartments.

The first phase of the project came before the Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee on Wednesday. The $134 million project calls for renovating the foundry that Federal-Mogul closed in 2007. Developers want to turn it into a food hall with up to 20 food stalls and unique retail.

“This is going to give us a chance to really create a very special environment,” said Alderman Joe Roddy (17th Ward), who sponsored the two bills. “It’s going to very vibrant, mixed use. It’s going to be dense. It’s going to be exciting,”

Slightly more than half of the project’s funding would come from public sources. Much of that is in state and historic tax credits, and in state Brownfield tax credits for environmental cleanup.

Developers are seeking $19 million in tax increment financing, about $18 million in special taxes through a Community Improvement District and Transportation Development District, as well as a full tax abatement over 10 years, followed by a 50% tax abatement for five years following that.

The HUDZ committee voted 5-1 with one abstention for the two related bills. Alderwoman Megan Green (15th) was the lone vote against the proposals. Alderman Jack Coatar (7th) abstained, saying his law firm had done work on the project.

Midtown Redevelopment Plan

Saint Louis University’s redevelopment plan for nearly 400 acres also is moving forward.

The area includes SSM Health’s planned $550 million new hospital, as well as the City Foundry project.

The Midtown Redevelopment Plan covers 395 acres, including SSM Health's planned $550 million new hospital.
Credit courtesy St. Louis University

SLU is seeking to enter into a Chapter 353 agreement with the city, so that it can act as the master planner for the area, including the ability to offer tax abatements.

The redevelopment area extends into both Alderman Roddy’s 17th Ward and Alderwoman Marlene Davis’ 19th Ward.

Roddy said the city is entering into a partnership with two big entities, Saint Louis University and SSM Health.

“We’re codifying an agreement between them and the city that they’re committed to staying in the area, that they’re going to make significant investments in additional staff, development of a redevelopment plan and site assemblage money and so forth,” he said.

SLU’s chief financial officer, David Heimburger, told the committee the plan calls for demolishing eight to 10 buildings within the area, including the Pevely building. He said there are no specific plans yet for the site, except that it will be used for an academic building.

Heimburger also said the university intends to sell land in the Gate District West neighborhood for a possible housing development.

"(Former SLU President) Father Biondi over 25 years has acquired a lot of those residences there and he has demolished the homes there and it’s all green space now. In fact in that residential community we own probably half the land. As part of our master plan we’ve determined we don’t need that as part of the academic space of the campus”, he said.

Heimburger said the university realized it doesn’t need the land and wants to be a good neighbor.

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