Business
9:49 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Northside Regeneration Moves Forward To Board Of Aldermen

The St. Louis Tax Increment Financing Commission voted to activate the last two phases of the Northside Regeneration project Wednesday morning, which has more than $190 in TIF funding.

Six commissioners voted yes with one, Ken Hutchinson, abstaining.

It now will move to the Board of Aldermen where the Housing, Urban Development, and Zoning committee likely will hear it.

Paul McKee told the TIF Commission at the meeting he has two major industrial users interested in moving into the area bringing a total of 250 jobs.

"TIF helps recruit jobs," McKee said.

He also revealed a plan for a Master Association, in which residential and commercial property owners could create and maintain design standards and public areas.

McKee says that piece of the plan must wait first for aldermanic approval.

The project had been stalled for more than three years after a lawsuit challenged the nearly $400 million TIF the Board of Aldermen approved in 2009 for Northside Regeneration.

After the Missouri Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the financing was constitutional, “it’s like the lights came on the north side,” McKee said of commercial interest in the $8 billion project.

While there was no public comment the seats were filled, and several residents wore black T-shirts with “Barking Dogs” printed across the front. It was a reference to McKee’s borrowing a famous Winston Churchill quote at last TIF Commission meeting that “you’ll never get to your destination if you worry about every barking dog along the way.”

Zach Chasnoff with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) handed out fliers outside the room.

He said his group will not try to fight the TIF bill as a whole, but rather seek amendments from the Board of Aldermen that will benefit residents.

Chasnoff says those include:

  • Grandfathering current property tax rates so residents aren’t priced out of their homes later
  • Striking a section of the bill he says allows eminent domain in some circumstances
  • Earmarking a percentage of the TIF to go toward individual residential improvements
  • Creating a citizens’ advisory board

"I think we can get the amendments attached," Chasnoff said. "I don’t think they’re huge crazy asks."

The amendment to the TIF bill likely be filed at the Board of Aldermen Thursday, and McKee says he hopes to see it in committee next week.

Follow Maria Altman on Twitter: @radioaltman