St. Louis agency approves issuing bonds for NGA project | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis agency approves issuing bonds for NGA project

Oct 18, 2016

St. Louis’ Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority has authorized issuing up to $120 million in revenue bonds.

The money will be used by the city to acquire and prepare the north St. Louis site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility.

LCRA’s commissioners approved the move at a special session on Tuesday.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street. The agency plans to build a new facility by 2023 on St. Louis' north side.
Credit NGA

The bonds will help the city pay back $33 million in loans to purchase the land, the latest of which is a $10-million loan taken from the Missouri Development Finance Board this month.

The debt also includes $13 million in municipal bonds city officials had said would be paid back once the city sold the land to the federal government. But the city changed course last spring and offered the land for free.

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The debt service on the bonds must be paid back over 30 years.

Peter Czajkowski, director of Public Finance at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, which is selling the bonds, said it will likely take less time.

“I expect the financing agreement will have annual revenues that exceed the debt service that will allow the bonds be redeemed slightly faster than 30 years,” he said.

That financing agreement uses $1.5 million in city earnings taxes from NGA employees annually, as well as $5.75 million in state withholding taxes from the same employees.

That amount could go up if the NGA hires more than the current 3,100 workers or salaries rise.

The bonds are expected to be issued in late November, according to Czajkowski.

First, he said, LCRA has to finish purchasing land within the 100 acre site. Next, LCRA and the federal government must enter into an option agreement that sets out what the city has to do before transferring the land to late next year.

LCRA also approved documents regarding that option on Tuesday.

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