Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hazelwood, Developer, Reach Tentative Agreement on Youth Sports Complex

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hazelwood, Developer, Reach Tentative Agreement on Youth Sports Complex

Article excerpt

HAZELWOOD - The City Council and an investment group led by former newscaster Dan Buck have tentatively agreed on plans to redevelop the St. Louis Outlet Mall into a $92 million youth sports complex, and are eyeing a late October closing date.

Not every hurdle to the POWERPlex project has been cleared. The city and developer still must persuade banks and investors to lend them tens of millions of dollars. And a group of investors are still owed more than $30 million for improvements to the failed mall more than a decade ago.

The bonds were supposed to be paid back with sales taxes generated within the transportation development district, or TDD, established in 2005. With most stores in the mall long closed, the district has no means to pay its debts.

Now the city and developer have a written agreement in hand to show banks and investors how old debts would be satisfied and the new deal would unfold. Notably, the city has struck a tentative agreement with bondholders to accept a partial payment from the city in exchange for releasing any claim to the property, said Hazelwood economic developer David Cox. The terms of that agreement have not been released.

A Boston-based lawyer who represents most of the bondholders could not be reached on Thursday.

If Buck's group, Big Sports Properties, and the city can secure financing, the council could vote on a development agreement on Oct. 17, and construction then could begin on the POWERPlex Project by the end of the year. City officials hope the complex could open by Memorial Day weekend.

A previous plan to put the complex in Chesterfield fell apart last summer after the city balked at a request to extend an agreement to buy land and lease it to developers.

Buck told the Hazelwood council Wednesday the property could be an economic engine and attract more than 2. …

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