Paul McKee | St. Louis Public Radio

Paul McKee

A drone photo from September 11, 2018, shows the site of the new headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Zach Dalin Photography

The city of St. Louis has cleared another hurdle in its effort to secure the land needed for the new headquarters of a federal spy agency.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer on Tuesday condemned the 97-acre site in north St. Louis, where the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s western headquarters will be built. The decision makes it more difficult for others to claim they have any legal rights to the property.

A drone photo from September 11, 2018, shows the site of the new headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Zach Dalin Photography

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved a plan to again use eminent domain to secure the new site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters.

The federal government asked for the condemnation process to ensure the city can turn the 97-acre site over to them by a Nov. 14 deadline. But some aldermen questioned if they had enough information to make the correct decision.

This composite photo taken on April 10, 2018, shows the planned new site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. McKee owned nearly 60 percent of the land in the 97-acre site.
File Photo | Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

An eminent domain bill meant to secure the land needed for the headquarters of a federal spy agency cleared a committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Wednesday.

Officials say the move is necessary to protect the city against a lawsuit that seeks to take back some of the land in the 97-acre planned location of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s $1.75 billion facility.

This composite photo taken on April 10, 2018, shows the planned new site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. McKee owned nearly 60 percent of the land in the 97-acre site.
File Photo | Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5 p.m. with comments from St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director Otis Williams.

The city of St. Louis is working to show it controls the 97 acres slated for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new headquarters — a $1.75 billion development project.

Alderman Brandon Bosley is sponsoring a bill that would allow the city to use eminent domain on land it already owns. Bosley’s 3rd ward comprises just under half of the NGA project footprint, as well as some of its surrounding neighborhoods in north St. Louis.

Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Paul McKee amassed more than 250 acres in north St. Louis as part of his $8 billion redevelopment plan.

In June the City of St. Louis announced that McKee's Northside Regeneration had defaulted on its agreement with the city after nearly a decade. McKee vehemently denies that.

St. Louis Public Radio examined two specific accountability measures included in those agreements that were ostensibly meant to track maintenance and complaints for McKee’s properties. What the reporting found was that only portions of the requirements were met, and the city did little to ensure that the developer followed through completely.

Developer Paul McKee owns much of the land in this picture, looking north from the intersection of Cass and Jefferson avenues. After nearly 10 years, the city of St. Louis wants to cut ties with McKee and his NorthSide Regeneration initiative.
File Photo | Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

In 2009, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved developer Paul McKee’s $8-billion plan to transform nearly two square miles of north St. Louis. In exchange for $390 million in tax incentives, McKee promised new housing, parks, schools, churches and major employment centers.

Nearly a decade later, with very little work completed, the city tried to cut ties with McKee. But a 2016 agreement, struck with very little public input, could complicate that effort, and has already led to litigation.

Piles of concrete and brick line a fence separating the former Pruitt-Igoe housing development from the Gateway school complex. Parents and staff at the school say placing the rubble there stirred levels of dust high enough to sicken students and teachers
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Health problems at a north St. Louis school have gotten the attention of federal officials.

That’s after many parents and teachers blamed respiratory problems on dust from debris brought near their school from the site of the new headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

NGA Director Robert Cardillo and Mayor Lyda Krewson spoke Thursday and discussed the handling of the debris.

June 27 2018 HUDZ meeting.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis aldermanic committee approved a resolution Wednesday that calls for federal and state authorities to investigate developer Paul McKee.

Paul McKee on March 28, 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Original story from 06/13/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/15/18.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. June 13 with comments from NorthSide Regeneration — The state of Missouri has sued developer Paul McKee, accusing him of misusing tax credits for his 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

Developer Paul McKee owns much of the land in this picture, looking north from the intersection of Cass and Jefferson avenues. After nearly 10 years, the city of St. Louis wants to cut ties with McKee and his NorthSide Regeneration initiative.
File Photo | Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10 p.m. Tuesday with comments from NorthSide Regeneration — After nearly 10 years, the city of St. Louis wants to cut ties with developer Paul McKee and his NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

Paul McKee on March 28, 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis alderwoman is pushing for state and federal law enforcement to investigate St. Louis developer Paul McKee, whose 1,500-acre redevelopment project in north St. Louis has received millions in development incentives.

The investigation would pursue allegations that McKee inflated property values to gain more state tax credits when he purchased buildings, Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, said. Spencer introduced a resolution Friday calling for the investigation.

Piles of concrete and brick line a fence separating the former Pruitt-Igoe housing development from the Gateway school complex. Parents and staff at the school say placing the rubble there stirred levels of dust high enough to sicken students and teachers
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

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Demolition and excavation work for a new federal intelligence agency headquarters in north St. Louis received environmental scrutiny and regulation that officials said is “above and beyond” what’s required.

When some of that demolition material from the site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s West headquarters was moved across the street, and next to a public school, little if any monitoring occurred. Parents and staff at the Gateway school complex on North Jefferson Avenue, point to the 30-foot piles of rubble they say brought high levels of dust and caused breathing problems and other ailments at the school over several months.

Parents and staff blame illnesses inside the Gateway school complex on debris brought over from the site of the planned National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters. The piles tower over a fence next to the school. May 6, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Isaiah Carson was happy and healthy on an early April afternoon as he worked on spelling with his dad at the family’s kitchen table.

That wasn’t the case a few months earlier when he started having trouble breathing. He was wheezing and had a shallow cough.

Isaiah, who’s 5, would lie in bed with his parents at night, unable to sleep. His father, Michael Carson, felt helpless. “He scared me to death,” Carson said.

Historical papers and religious items dated back to 1896 filled the time capsule found under the Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel. Photo from March 28, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A hobby preservationist cracked open a time capsule from 1896 this morning to find a well-preserved collection of Catholic religious items and historic papers.

Jim Meiners found the copper box in the foundation of the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel, which was demolished with the Clemens House after the property caught fire last year.

“It would’ve been put there when the building was built, and we don’t know what’s in it,” he said before cutting into the lead seal on the box.

Environmental Protection Agency workers met with city health officials at the Clemens House before learning they did not have authorization to test the site for asbestos.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday with comments from Mayor Lyda Krewson – The day after a recent four-alarm fire engulfed the historic Clemens House on Cass Avenue, neighbors got together with brooms and shovels to start cleaning up the debris left scattered across their yards.

“We started talking and started looking and then we decided — wait a minute, we don’t know what we’re sweeping up here,” said Larry Chapman, a retired carpenter who lives on Helen Street.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Tuesday that her office will audit two Community Improvement Districts in the St. Louis region.

Those include the BaratHaven Community Improvement District in St. Charles County and the North Oaks Plaza Shopping Center in north St. Louis County.

(courtesy M Properties)

Northside Regeneration’s plans for the old Pruitt-Igoe site became public this week, including a $72 million complex of medical buildings, commercial and office space and two hotels.

Developer Paul McKee’s company bought the 34-acre site from the city for $1 million last summer. Northside Regeneration had held the option for several years, and McKee previously received state approval to build a three-bed urgent care facility within the former federal housing site.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

South Grand Boulevard is known for its many international restaurants.

“We have 14 countries represented here within our six blocks,” said Rachel Witt. "That’s more than Epcot in Disney World.”

Witt is executive director of the South Grand Community Improvement District, one of the early CIDs in St. Louis. 

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The financing package for part of Paul McKee's massive Northside Regeneration Project has gotten the first of two rounds of approval from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Aldermen on Friday finalized the language for bills authorizing $2.8 million in tax increment financing incentives, and the creation of a new community improvement district, funded through a 1 percent sales tax. A final vote could come next week.

An artist's rendering of the Green Leaf Market and ZOOM Store to be built at Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street. April 2016
courtesy Northside Regeneration

The St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment will allow the release of a $2.8 million tax increment financing note for developer Paul McKee’s planned grocery store and gas station.

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