Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mayor Reconsiders; Will Back Theater

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mayor Reconsiders; Will Back Theater

Article excerpt

St. Peters Mayor Tom Brown planned to lobby for the proposed 24-screen AMC Theater Complex and general entertainment center east of Mid Rivers Mall before the Tax-Increment Financing Commission Monday night.

This is a turn-around as Brown has had misgivings about the project, proposed by Landon Development Corp. of Southfield, Mich. Brown said he is satisfied with the numbers for projected tax revenue compiled by Tim Wilkinson, director of finance for the city.

Landon had projected that the AMC Theater complex would generate $27,659,688 in annual sales.

Wilkinson found that AMC's 24-screen theater in Dallas, which hasn't been open for a full year, is projected to do $19,320,000 in its first year.

After checking the 1995 annual report of AMC Entertainment Inc., and with an analysis prepared by NatWest Securities Corp. and an investor analysis report on AMC by Smith Barney, Wilkinson concluded that the St. Peters' 24-plex theater would generate $9 million to $19 million in sales. He said his best guess was $14 million.

He said if the theater draws 100,000 people a screen, as some reports indicate the mega theater is doing in Dallas, that would mean 2.4 million people would visit the complex annually.

Also planned are a major bookstore, such as Borders Books or Barnes & Noble; a major home furnishings store, such as Bed Bath & Beyond; plus another 12,500 square feet of retail space for other stores.

The 88,511-square-foot theater, which would be the largest in the St. Louis area and one of the largest in the country, would be the hub of the development. Four upscale restaurants also are planned for the area.

The total cost of the development is about $75 million. The real estate taxes would be $666,852. The sales taxes generated, as estimated by Wilkinson, are $1,370,000 - about $409,000 less than original projections.

The St. Peters Board of Aldermen unanimously voted in favor of the Landon project on Jan. 11. Brown refused to sign the ordinance, however, asking that Wilkinson come up with an independent review of the projected sales and tax revenue.

Brown said the projections are less than advertised "but still strong enough to pay out the project and create new revenue for our taxpayers."

"It had been my hope that the area could be used for a major shopping center that would complement Mid Rivers Mall," Brown said. …

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