The St. Louis board responsible for the city’s real estate and financial decisions on Wednesday granted NorthSide Regeneration an extension on its troubled north St. Louis urgent care development.
The Board of Estimate and Apportionment has given developer Paul McKee until August 2020 to secure financing for building the roads and part of the HealthWorks Hospital facility. The board also bumped the development’s next construction deadlines from June 2021 to September 2021. The full health facility project must still be completed by June 2023.
The decision comes just a few months after the city’s Board of Aldermen extended deadlines for an agreement that made the project eligible for tax incentives. The three-bed urgent care facility was initially scheduled for completion in March 2019, but its developers failed to get financing or start significant construction by that time.
“We want the projects done within the northside area, and we are strong supporters of anything that will get done and so we are happy to work with anyone that can get it done,” said St. Louis Development Corporation director Otis Williams.
Williams said the new agreement is a “win for the city” and decreases some of his organization’s concerns that the project wasn’t financially feasible. The new extension requires the developer to secure financing instead of just providing letters of interest from investors and banks.
Not all members of the Estimate and Apportionment board supported the extension. Comptroller Darlene Green said in the meeting Wednesday that she thought the full Board of Aldermen should vote on any changes to the development agreement. Green abstained from voting. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed voted for the extension.
Reed said he’s glad the urgent care got an extension despite opposition from some aldermen.
“You can’t say you support health care north of Delmar and do everything you can to absolutely stop it, especially with no background and no history of the challenges that exist within the community,” Reed said.
A much-delayed project
NorthSide Regeneration and two co-developers — HGP Hospital Corporation and NS QALICB — submitted letters indicating interest in financing the project. But Williams said in January that the letters weren’t sufficient to prove that the project had funding.
A 2017 development agreement between NorthSide and the city originally made the project eligible for about $8 million in tax incentives.
An extension last year again made NorthSide Regeneration and its co-developers eligible for tax incentives. They faced a new deadline of Dec. 31, 2019, for providing financing, and a deadline of June 30, 2021, for completing the first phase of construction.
Williams argued in October that the project wasn’t financially feasible and that renewing its tax incentives without revising them further could cause significant financial losses for the city. The Board of Aldermen voted that month to re-approve the agreement as written.
The developer and the city Wednesday altered financial details of the agreement as part of the extension. The developers agreed to forgo any revenue from the site of the Major League Soccer complex, which was initially included in the urgent care’s tax increment financing district.
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Reporter Corinne Ruff contributed to this report.
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