St. Louis Public Radio News
7:02 pm
Mon February 15, 2010

One of two suits against Northside project in court Tuesday

St. Louis – One of two lawsuits over developer Paul McKee's proposal to rehab two square miles of North St. Louis goes in front of a judge on Tuesday.

McKee says the $400 million in tax increment financing approved last year is crucial to the $8 billion makeover. He wants to build hundreds of homes and businesses over the next 20 years.

But some north St. Louis residents filed suit in October, saying the city's TIF Commission and the Board of Aldermen did not closely examine McKee's finances and ignored complaints from the public.

McKee's attorney, Paul Puricelli says public officials vetted the proposal thoroughly.

"It's not as if there were, the Board of Aldermen woke up one day and had a hearing and decided to move forward," he said. "This was a very lengthy, very careful process that the city engaged in."

But plaintiff's attorney D.B. Amon said the commissioners and aldermen did not have information that's required by law when they made their decision.

"What are you going to build, what are you going to put in that location and this location, with in the redevelopment project areas," he said. "So the plan that is submitted is completely void of all of that."

Amon wants Judge Robert Dierker to halt the project and force McKee to start over. In December, Dierker denied an immediate injunction, but said the suit raised interesting questions.

A separate lawsuit challenges state tax incentives that McKee received on New Year's Eve.