ST. LOUIS – Despite the positive vote of the city planning committee and the St. Louis Board of Councilors Louis more than a year ago, officials have delayed consideration of a developer’s incentive application for a $ 73 million apartment complex on McRee Avenue after the project attracted the opposition of a city. regidor.
The episode is the latest example of the administration of Councilwoman Tina Pihl and Mayor Tishaura O. Jones asserting their power over development agreements that got the initial approval of their predecessors.
Green Street Real Estate Ventures wants to build a 268-unit apartment structure at 4591 McRee Avenue in the Southeast Forest Park neighborhood and is seeking a sales tax exemption on building materials for the project, now a bigger investment than your first plans.
But Pihl, who represents the area, said he was surprised when the proposal appeared last week on the agenda of the St. John’s Land Redevelopment Authority. Louis, which facilitates many development incentives. He spoke with the director of St. Louis Development Corp., Neal Richardson, whose office heads the LCRA, about his concerns and agreed that “the community needs to review it,” Pihl said.
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“This development has not been reviewed by my constituents,” Pihl said Monday. “He went up to the LCRA without my review. I will advocate for citizens to have a voice.”
The LCRA canceled its May 24 meeting, citing a lack of quorum. The agenda for a rescheduled Friday LCRA meeting, however, no longer included the Green Street project.
A Green Street spokeswoman said the company had no comment.
Green Street’s initial plans for the 4591 McRee called for commercial and entertainment uses at an estimated cost of $ 21 million. The Board of Councilors approved two years ago a 10-year 90% tax credit for the venue based on these close-ups.
Pihl said the scope of the project is now “totally different.”
Sara Freetly, an SLDC spokeswoman, confirmed that Richardson spoke with Pihl about the matter.
“Since this project was originally approved by the Board of Councilors, SLDC believes it is appropriate for the councilor representing the neighborhood where this project resides to inform voters of substantial changes and obtain their support before LCRA takes it to its board to formalize it. approval, “Freetly said in a statement.
However, the St. Louis in December 2020 approved the redistribution of the site to accommodate a 260-unit apartment structure. The Board of Councilors of St. Louis approved the redistribution last year, although it was Pihl’s predecessor, Joe Roddy, who brought the bill.
Voters in 2021 chose Pihl to represent a neighborhood where a substantial portion of the city’s development activity has taken place in recent years. Pihl has pushed other developers looking for city incentives or redistribution to contribute to affordable housing, a policy she says aims to leverage investment in the city’s central corridor to benefit residents and neighborhoods. poorer. City development officials under Jones have pursued similar policies.
Developer Steve Smith’s City Foundry made a $ 1.8 million contribution to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund in exchange for $ 18 million in Pihl’s support for tax increase funding incentives. New Jersey-based Aptitude Development, which presents a seven-story, 177-unit student housing development in Midtown but is not looking for incentives, agreed to contribute $ 250,000 to affordable housing.
The tactic has delayed at least one project. An apartment complex at the Cortex Technology Center in Central West End has been shut down for a year after Pihl and the Jones administration renegotiated their incentive package.
Green Street is one of the city’s most active developers. Next to the apartment building at 4565 McRee Avenue, Green Street this year completed a $ 21 million remodel of a former warehouse in a complex that now houses the popular Bar K dog park concept and where this year he moved his headquarters. of Clayton.
He is developing several residential projects in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood and in the entertainment district of Grove that Pihl represents, including some with lower-rent “workforce housing” units. But Pihl said Monday that workplace housing is not affordable housing.