St. Louis developer Paul McKee’s NorthSide redevelopment plan took center stage today at the Missouri Supreme Court.
He’s been seeking nearly $400 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from the city – but the project has been on hold since Circuit Judge Robert Dierker ruled two years ago that its details are too vague to justify awarding TIF dollars and for declaring two square miles of north St. Louis as blighted. Cheryl Nelson is one of the plaintiffs. She says McKee’s project has wrecked the property value of her home.
“We have brand new homes that are there; they should not have been included in the NorthSide Regeneration Project," Nelson said. "We are educated people and we support redevelopment, but not at the risk of moving us out and relocating us and taking our property.”
McKee’s attorney, Paul Puricelli, says that Nelson’s home had been blighted for years when she bought it, and that there are “hundreds and hundreds of buildings falling down” in north St. Louis. Attorney Gerry Carmody, representing the city of St. Louis, blasted Dierker’s ruling and accused him of redefining the term "redevelopment project."
“And then (he) utilized that new definition that he had created, words that he had added to the statute, as the basis to invalidate two city of St. Louis ordinances, whose objective was to eliminate blight and to transform a large portion of north St. Louis," Carmody said.
The State Supreme Court took no action following today’s hearing.