2 min read
Posted on 08.15.05
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 08.15.05

The TIF review committee is an informal committee of City officials that vets prospective TIF proposals before sending them on to the official City Tax Increment Financing Commission. The review committee is usually the first general glimpse I get of some interesting projects. The committee met last week.

From last week’s list of proposals, 3 caught my eye as worth mentioning here.

Opus Development is proposing a multistory new construction on the northeast corner of Lindell and Euclid, the former site of the American Heart Association headquarters. According to Opus, this new use of the property will produce approximately 200 new luxury condominiums and at least 8,000 sq. ft. of new retail. I like the idea that the project will put this property back on the tax rolls, replacing a tax-exempt use with a taxpaying use.

Joe Edwards is the spearhead of a group proposing a TIF district along Delmar, between Union and Skinker. The district would support the development of a new boutique "show biz" hotel a few doors east of Skinker. Other projects in the district would include a retail and office complex on the former site of Yellow Cab Co; new condos along Delmar; and the expansion of Betty Jean Kerr’s successful People’s Clinic. Aldermen Frank Williamson and Lyda Krewson support the general concept.

Harlan Berger, a former St. Louisan who now develops in NYC as Centaur Properties, is proposing to purchase architect Philip Johnson’s General Life Insurance building on Market St., improve the building’s obsolete systems, and market it to retailers and office users new to the City of St. Louis. It’s a difficult building to re-use, because Johnson designed it as a unique corporate headquarters. The interior ceiling rises more than 100 feet. Retrofitting the building to meet current codes and serve the needs of multiple tenants will be an challenge. Berger has recruited Johnson’s firm as consultants. This could be a high-profile restoration of one of downtown’s gems.

No decision has been made about any of these projects. As the next step in the TIF process, City staff will determine if a TIF is appropriate, and, if so, the amount and terms of the TIF financing.

How do they decide amounts and terms? They analyze the economics of the development with the dual goals of minimizing the amount of TIF financing, while still ensuring that worthwhile developments can succeed as the City rebuilds its market for real estate.