The City’s new DESA board has agreed to schedule a public hearing on a proposed DESA project and advertise a Request for Proposals.
The initial proposal has the prosaic title of Downtown St. Louis Core Development and Streetscape Enhancements: DESA Phase I.
The overall concept for this proposal is to use private developments already contemplated to access state revenues for implementing the Downtown Streetscape Plan of 2003. City MoDESA revenues will provide funding for private projects (just like TIF does) while state MoDESA revenues will be used for public infrastructure work.
The first proposal includes the following projects: two infrastructure projects (streetscape improvements and improvements to the City parks south and east of the Park Pacific project), and six private projects (St. Louis Center/One City Center, Dillards, Jefferson Arms, Park Pacific, the Arcade Building, and the Mercantile Library Complex.) This MoDESA project was originally conceived by Pyramid for use with several Pyramid projects (St. Louis Center, Jefferson Arms, Arcade, Mercantile Library complex). The Park Pacific project is now being added to leverage more state dollars. Additional projects may be added, via amendment.
The emphasis on the streetscape plan is intentional. Streetscape enhancements will make Downtown a more attractive place for (and stimulate construction of) new Class A office space and other private developments, in addition to making downtown more attractive for visitors, workers, and residents. One street that will require major attention is Tucker Boulevard, a major — and currently somewhat shabby — entrance to Downtown.
As the plan and projects are refined, the specific streetscapes to be completed will also be refined based on the amount of MoDESA revenues that are approved by the state.