Earlier today the Tax Increment Financing Commission voted to set public hearing dates for two new TIF proposals: one that supports a new public garage on Euclid near Laclede, and one that supports the replacement of the Aldi’s at the southeast corner of Jefferson and I-44 with a new building.
The garage proposal, by the City Treasurer, is intended to replace the surface parking spaces near an intersection where new high-rise development is now rising. The new development brings new residents to the City - and customers for the retail businesses on Euclid. But it also removes the parking that has supported these retail businesses - the Majestic Restaurant, Einstein’s Bagels, the ice cream store, and others - for many years. Representatives of the E&A members will be working over the next 45 days to structure the development in a way that makes sense for the businesses and the City. The public short-term parking facility will be located on the first and second floors of a new condominium building with new retail uses on the first floor.
The Jefferson and I-44 proposal involves the reconstruction of a handsome mixed use building, the Union Club, that was located on the site before the tornado of 1896 took it away. The new facility will include condos and retail space. An interesting element of the plan is a “nearly-inked” deal for a new Nelly/sports-themed restaurant concept, with several major St. Louis sports figures as prospective investors. The restaurant concept includes a flat-screen TV at every table, as well as facilities where local amateur sports teams can hold banquets. E&A reps will be reviewing the pro formas over the next 45 days to determine the appropriate amount of the TIF.
On the opposite (northeast) corner, Mary "One" Johnson plans to replace a former gas station with a new office building that will house her real estate and development operations as well as retail and other businesses. After discussion between Mary "One" and members of the TIF Review Committee, Mary "One" will proceed with the development using tax abatement and a below-market-rate-interest loan rather than TIF.
TIFs are not things I take lightly, but their underpinning is in common sense. If development does not occur, there are no new revenues to distribute to anyone.