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Bill Making Bottle District Part Of McKee's Northside Revived

Bottle_district.jpg
(via Flickr/pasa47)
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The Board of Aldermen has approved legislation allowing Paul McKee to purchase the Bottle District site. McKee has plans for a $190 million mixed-use project.

What better time than just after Halloween for the Board of Aldermen to raise a bill from the dead.

A week after it failed to clear a procedural hurdle, a bill that makes the Bottle District north of the Edward Jones Dome part of Paul McKee's larger plan to redevelop the north side is on its way to Mayor Francis Slay. It allows the developer to tap into another $1.5 million in state tax credits for the project. 

The rapid  and overwhelming reversal  is not unexpected. Most of the aldermen who either voted "no" or did not vote at all last week did not object to the measure itself. They were instead supporting Freeman Bosley, who complained he didn't know enough about McKee's overall idea for the area. About 46 percent of the Northside Regeneration Initiative is now in Bosley's ward.

Bosley says any fears were abated after a conversation with McKee.

"I have his commitment that whatever they're going to do in the 3rd Ward, we're going to have conversations about that first," he said.

Ald. Scott Ogilvie was one of the few who consistently opposed joining the two sites on policy grounds. Doing so, he said, could jeopardize development of the Bottle District.

"I think there's the possibility that [the Bottle District] will move ahead without the credit," he said. "And what I worry about is that tying these two things together is going to create problems for this project after the Supreme Court rules."

Two lower court have ruled against McKee's plan for his original redevelopment footprint (excluding the Bottle District.) The state Supreme Court will hear the case later this month. McKee's attorneys say any ruling won't affect the Bottle District.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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