Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bosley Sr. Uncuffs Bottle District; Aldermen Revive Bill to Merge Area with NorthSide, Free Up State Tax Credits

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bosley Sr. Uncuffs Bottle District; Aldermen Revive Bill to Merge Area with NorthSide, Free Up State Tax Credits

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS Sometimes, a simple conversation can be worth $1.5 million. It was this week.

A chat with developer Paul McKee was what it took to get Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. to change his tune and revive a bill he had shot down last week that will let McKee tap nearly $1.5 million in state tax credits for his NorthSide Regeneration project.

Indeed not just revive it, but push the thing all the way through the citys Board of Aldermen in a quick series of votes on Friday.

The bill was a measure to combine the long-vacant Bottle District site with McKees massive NorthSide plan, which would make McKee eligible for Distressed Areas Land Assemblage tax credits to reimburse his $12 million purchase. A bookkeeping fix is how McKee and city officials had described the bill, and it sailed through a committee hearing last month.

But apparently no one had briefed Bosley, whose 3rd Ward includes nearly half of NorthSides two-square-mile project area. And so last week, as the

measure moved through votes before the full board, the veteran alderman proposed tabling it until he could talk with McKee.

No one has ever sat down with me and said what they were trying to do, Bosley said at last weeks meeting. I dont see anything wrong with just holding this bill.

The bills sponsor, Alderman Tammika Hubbard, declined to do that. So when the bill came up for a vote, Bosley voted no. Seven colleagues joined him,

and with more than half the board either abstaining or absent, that was enough to derail the bill.

It was a highly unusual break of the City Hall tradition of aldermanic courtesy, in which members dont block projects in other wards. And it was a rare rebuke of a big-dollar development deal, one thats had the strong support of both Mayor Francis Slay and Aldermanic President Lewis Reed.

But it didnt last long.

Aldermanic rules hold that a bill that is voted down on the fl oor can be revived a week later if an alderman who cast a no vote requests it. And 20 minutes into Fridays meeting, Bosley stood up and did just that. …

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