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For first time, McKee explains development plan to north St. Louis residents

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The first of the holding companies Paul McKee used to quietly buy parcels on the near north side was named \"Blairmont,\" after Blair and Montgomery streets. \"Blairmont\" is also the name McKee's critics have given to the project.

By Maria Altman, KWMU

St. Louis – Developer Paul McKee faced residents of north St. Louis Thursday night for the first time to talk about his massive redevelopment proposal.

More than 250 people attended the meeting at Central Baptist Church. McKee apologized almost immediately for remaining quiet for the five years during which he bought up more than 900 parcels.

"I don't believe we could have purchased the land the way we did unless we did it this way," McKee said."Win, lose or draw, that's the horns of the dilemma we were in."

One man in the audience responded by calling McKee a liar in an expletive-filled tirade. It was the night's only disturbance.

McKee later explained he did not want to talk about the project until he knew he could make it a reality.

The $5.4-billion dollar would include four business campuses, mixed-income housing, and retail.

McKee plans to submit his request for tax-increment financing to the city next week. He is also seeking state and federal money.

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