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Sunset Hills shopping center gets OK from aldermen

Developer Novus plans to keep only a Denny's and a Hampton Inn on the corner where it plans to build a shopping center. (KWMU staff)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

Sunset Hills, MO – A controversial shopping center will be built in the St. Louis suburb of Sunset Hills.

That city's Board of Alderman approved the development Tuesday night.

St. Louis developer Novus wants to build the $165 million dollar project on the east side of Lindbergh Boulevard, just south of I-44.

But that will require condemning and removing several commercial buildings and more than 250 homes in the Sunset Manor subdivision.

Will Day lives there; but he says he's looking forward to moving. "For my particular family, we'd be better off with a little bit larger home," he said Tuesday night.

"The generous offer that's been made to us by the developer would allow us to move into a little bit nicer home because we won't have the fix-up costs that are normally associated with selling a home on the regular open market."

But other homeowners in the buyout area say they haven't gotten such a good deal. "I've been there for 21 years, I have 3 years to pay on my mortgage, and I don't see anybody offering me anything," says Kathy Tripp. "And it's not so much even about money, as it is about our rights as property owners."

Opponents also spoke out against the $42 million tax-increment financing plan that's part of the deal between the developer and Sunset Hills. The board took two votes, one to approve the TIF plan and the other to approve Novus as the developer. Those votes passed 7-1 and 6-2, respectively.

Plans call for demolition to begin in October, with the shopping center opening in April 2007.

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