$353M in tax breaks advance for ‘downtown’ Chesterfield projects

CHESTERFIELD – A plan to create a “downtown” Chesterfield cleared its first hurdle Monday when a special committee recommended it receive $353 million in tax incentives.

The committee voted 9-3 to approve City Council tax incentives for two projects that plan to create thousands of apartments, restaurants and offices in the popular Chesterfield neighborhood. The project calls for $3 billion in residential and commercial investment, including the redevelopment of Chesterfield Mall.

Elected to St. Louis County’s board member, Jay Nelson, and the Parkway and Rockwood school board members voted against the incentive, known as tax increment financing, or TIF.

The TIF is expected to be presented to the city council, which has the final say, at its Dec. 5 meeting. The city plans to spend $10,000 to distribute a mailer to residents about the incentive.

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Land-based developers The Staenberg Group and CRG are leading the project.

The Staenberg Group wants to demolish the Chesterfield Mall, at Chesterfield Parkway West and Wild Horse Creek Road, to fulfill its portion of the project, which calls for a 259-room hotel, about 3,000 apartments and multimillion-dollar offices. and shopping centers.

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CRG has plans for nearly 1 million square feet of retail and dining space, a public space with a floating stage and garden and more than 565 apartments on the west side of the market.

The proposal followed weeks of controversy in which the Parkway and Rockwood school districts clashed with the city of Chesterfield over TIF and the number of students the development would attract.

The TIF will divert the new taxes generated by these projects into a special fund that is used to pay for new infrastructure, such as parking garages and roads, for the two projects. The TIF will be in effect for 23 years and suspend property taxes for the time being. Just as real estate appreciates in value, a TIF can “capture” the increase in property taxes from the original value and use that money for other things. The TIF will also cover 50% of the sales tax and other development requirements.

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The district says the TIF will fund the education of more than 800 students who are expected to be housed at three schools in the Parkway district. Parkway officials fear that the TIF could cost millions of dollars and force the district to add trailers for more new students, seek tax increases or reset school boundaries. The district expects to lose between $44 million and $235 million over the life of the TIF, depending on the registrants.

The city, meanwhile, says the projects will increase taxes, and ease the burden on many Chesterfield residents. Districts, he says, exaggerated their student enrollment and revenue by $216 million. The city’s projects will add less than 300 students.

Six people spoke at Monday’s 35-minute meeting, including former Mayor John Nations, who criticized Parkway and its chief financial officer, saying the district would be in dire financial straits without TIF.

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“Parkway hired no one to advise them. They sent in an accountant. I’m sure he’s good at school accounting when you ask him how he can support the lunch program or run the buses,” Nations said.

He said the new project would leave the Rockwood and Parkway districts and create their own school district.

Monday’s proposal would not go into effect, but a vote against the TIF would have required a two-thirds vote on the City Council and a ban on spending the money.

Chesterfield has only had one other TIF, which paid for expansion and road improvements as the city attracted new business to the area after the 1993 flood, he said.

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