Do you think the City needs more office space? More residents? More entertainment venues? Fewer eyesores? Do you hate TIFs — or believe that they are vital economic development tools to ensure the revitalization of troubled properties?
If you have answers to those questions, you can do more than brood — or blog — about them. The City’s Tax Increment Financing Commission has just set public hearings for a range of very interesting projects. If you have strong feelings about any of them, you should plan to attend its hearing and make yourself a part of an important process.Nadira Place, the $9 million development of a new office condominium, retail, and residential condominium development on the southwest corner of Tucker and Washington is being proposed by Tony Thompson, President and CEO of Kwame Building Group. Originally conceived as just a residential and retail development, the office condominiums have been added to the project in response to what Tony says are “many expressions of interest” from office users who want to own their spaces. Kwame’s successful loft historic rehabilitation development next door is now home to a range of small businesses, as well as to new downtown residents. The developer is requesting a $2.1 million TIF.Paradowski Creative is proposing the $8.7 million historic rehabilitation of the former Stern Fixture headquarters at 1910 Locust. The new and expanded location will allow the Paradowskis’ successful graphic design firm to continue to grow in the City. Paradowski expects to add at least thirty jobs over the next five years. Stern terminated its business operations in 2006. Paradowski is currently located at 303 North Broadway, in an eclectic structure the company purchased and renovated in 1995 to make its move from the suburbs to downtown. The company is the recipient of numerous awards for its graphic design work. The developer is requesting a $1.4 million TIF.Rick Yackey is proposing the $4.3 million renovation of 4101 Magnolia as twenty-four residential condominiums. The property at Magnolia and Thurman is a long-vacant structure that has plagued the Shaw neighborhood and been an eyesore across from Tower Grove Park for a number of years. Alderman Steve Conway and the Community Development Administration have assisted with the development by arranging for the purchase of a former Bi-State bus turnaround property immediately north of the property for use as parking for new residents. Development has been difficult, in part, because the structure occupies the entire parcel with no room for parking. The developer is requesting a $570,000 TIF.Saaman Development is proposing the $8.2 million construction of twenty-eight new residential townhomes in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood at the corner of Chouteau and Newstead, on a portion of the property formerly occupied by the Laclede Gas storage tanks that were a highly visible landmark on I-64. The new townhomes, the first of their kind in Forest Park Southeast in many years, will provide homeownership opportunities for those who work at the Washington University/BJC Medical Center and more customers for the new Grove restaurants springing up on Manchester thanks largely to the efforts of Amy and Amrit Gill. The developers are requesting a $1 million TIF.Metropolitan Design is proposing the $11.7 million renovation of the Laclede Power House Building, formerly owned by TrailNet. Metropolitan would move its companies, now located in Maplewood, to the building, and TrailNet would realize both its original desire for offices in the building and the use of the building as a trailhead for the riverfront bike trail. If it is built, the trailhead structure is expected to include a bicycle sales and repair shop. In addition, Metropolitan is proposing a concert venue and restaurant in the 75,000 sq. ft. space. If the developers are able to secure commitments for the concert venue and restaurant in time for the scheduled public hearing, the development could be approved for a TIF of up to $2.2 million.Rothschild-Winzerling is proposing the $40+ million development of the former Praxair site on Chouteau and two adjacent properties as retail, office, townhomes and residential condominiums. According to those involved in the development, it is strongly supported by the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee. Phasing for the development, the amount of the TIF and the retail/office tenant mix will be negotiated with city staff prior to the scheduled public hearing. The development is requesting an $8.5 million TIF.