Northside Regeneration Initiative
3:28 pm
Wed January 5, 2011

NorthSide developer McKee releases "open letter" to St. Louis

NorthSide developer Paul McKee, Jr. has released "An Open Letter to the People of St. Louis" regarding the progress, process and questions surrounding the Northside Regeneration Initiative.

This comes with the announcement that McKee has gotten an additional $8 million in state tax credits for the $8 billion, that's billion with a "B," Northside project.

The allocation of public tax funds to the project is "obscene" according to Irene J. Smith, the attorney who represents north St. Louis residents Barbara Manzara and Keith Marquard in a Cole County lawsuit against the project, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.

There are currently two suits against the NorthSide project, and if either of them are successful, McKee must repay the cash value of the credits within 30 days of a final court judgment, the Business Journal explains.

Last year a judge threw out an agreement McKee had with the city of St. Louis for nearly $400 million in tax increment financing, saying the plans were not detailed enough.

That suit is now pending in the state Court of Appeals.

In his letter, McKee cites theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer for his reasoning to select the Northside area for his development project. The quote selected by McKee by Bonhoeffer is the following:

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."

McKee also says the “large-scale neglect, broken infrastructure, and hazardous environment” are an “evil” surrounding North Side residents that’s unacceptable.

McKee calls himself and his team at McEagle Properties “job enablers” and lists several proposed projects within the plan that he says would create hundreds of jobs.

You can read the full letter for yourself below. What do you think about the development project? The letter?