Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tax Credits McKee Uses Could Also Go to State Penitentiary Site

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tax Credits McKee Uses Could Also Go to State Penitentiary Site

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * The area around the old state penitentiary in Jefferson City could get a shot in the arm which means St. Louis developer Paul McKee might get a little less money than he hoped under the latest state tax credit overhaul.

On a 120-31 vote, the Missouri House gave first-round approval Wednesday night to a bill that would extend the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit Act for an additional six years.

But the House added a twist: Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, sponsored an amendment making the historic prison site on the river bluffs east of the state Capitol eligible for the land assembly program.

"It makes sure that we give incentives to make it a jewel for the entire state," Barnes said.

The House bill also would make a former mall site in Kansas City eligible for the land assembly program. That idea, which broadened support for the bill, was proposed earlier.

Now, if the prison project gets off the ground in time, three projects including McKee's NorthSide Regeneration in St. Louis would share up to $30 million a year in tax credits until an additional $95 million was exhausted.

So far, McKee has been the only one to use the land assemblage act. He has drawn more than $41 million to buy 2,200 parcels of land and pay borrowing costs. He envisions a massive makeover of a two- square-mile area north of downtown.

But the subsidy program is set to expire in August, and McKee has said he is 500 parcels short of the land needed for contiguous sites. So he hired a team of lobbyists to press for the tax credit program's renewal.

Brian Schmidt, a former legislative tax analyst who is on McKee's team, said Thursday that McKee supports broadening eligibility.

"He's extremely happy that the House extended the tax credit," Schmidt said. "And if the Jefferson City project, if they meet all the qualifications, then that's great, too. He's a big proponent of redeveloping distressed areas."

The House also attached an amendment to require McKee to submit quarterly reports showing his progress in meeting development deadlines specified in his redevelopment agreement with the city of St. …

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