Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kroenke, Partner Want Tax Dollars for Huge Maryland Heights Development

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kroenke, Partner Want Tax Dollars for Huge Maryland Heights Development

Article excerpt

A business partner of Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke is seeking to develop 1,800 acres of Maryland Heights flood plain into a vast retail, entertainment, office, residential and sports district.

The City Council on Thursday night began the formal process that would allow for tax incentives to aid in the redevelopment, voting to advertise a request for proposals.

The development would be one of the largest, if not the largest, mixed-use ones in the region.

Kroenke attorney Alan Bornstein, a key member of the billionaire sports mogul's staff, pitched the project to a Maryland Heights economic development committee in January, just days after he helped move the Rams to California.

Officials insisted on Thursday that the city would be just as open to any other proposal as Bornstein's.

But Bornstein is the first since 2008 to come forward and offer to redevelop the area, even though the city has been trying to redevelop it for more than a decade, City Administrator Tim Krischke said.

Krischke said he thinks it's a good thing for the city that Bornstein has shown an interest in redeveloping the area.

After it's done collecting all the proposals for the site, the council could decide to pitch in tax incentives to aid in the redevelopment a likely move, considering smaller redevelopment projects for the city have gotten incentives.

At the January meeting, Bornstein told the committee that he already owned 425 acres of the proposed redevelopment area, had an additional 230 acres under contract and was in discussion with property owners to secure the remaining 1,100, according to meeting minutes.

He also suggested that the project would require significant tax incentives, saying that a "public/private partnership would be necessary," according to the minutes.

Krischke said there's a good chance the City Council will eventually decide to dole out incentives for whatever redevelopment project is chosen.

"It's premature to say," he said. "This is an oddity. This is an extra-large project."

The city's last big redevelopment project, a rebuilding of a campus for World Wide Technology, was significantly smaller, and it got three different kinds of incentives: tax-increment financing, transportation district funding and community improvement district funding, Krischke added.

An 1,800-acre development also would be far larger in size than similar developments in the St. Louis area.

NorthPark, by developer Paul McKee's McEagle along with Clayco, covers 550 acres in north St. Louis County. The project includes Express Scripts facilities, a hotel and a million-square-foot distribution center under construction for Schnuck Markets. NorthPark is getting tax-increment financing.

Also getting TIF help is Premier 370, a business park in St. Peters. The project, which has struggled to attract development, covers 850 acres, including a city park and a 140-acre recreational lake. …

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