RFP for Olive & I-170

Discuss new retail, dining, business and residential projects within St. Louis County, including Chesterfield, Riverport, Earth City, Westport and more.
The person who wrote the Op Ed it did mention a lawyer, but the newsletter seemed unhinged and bizarre. And then there's the whole fact where she straight up says the want to do it for the tax revenue and it won't be (presumably) invested in the 3rd ward. There's only one party who it's known that has a pretty large incentive to stop this. It would be Tsai, the landowner from this article who felt low balled by Novus. Not exactly an "outside force"

http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/ ... 81dc8.html
Its strange that she's getting so defensive, because they've got the votes on the City Council, and seemingly the great majority of U City residents are in favor too. There's really nothing (other than Novus's financing) that can stop the project.
framer wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:47 am
Its strange that she's getting so defensive, because they've got the votes on the City Council, and seemingly the great majority of U City residents are in favor too. There's really nothing (other than Novus's financing) that can stop the project.
It seems like the U City council is really pushing the narrative they need the revenues from Costco to offset Wash U's tax free status. It also would appear U City didn't really consult the existing communities, the 3rd ward homeowners and the business owners, and it seems like they currently don't look too favorably on this project. Novus' ask for 37% is pretty high for what he's offering. The TIF commission is probably the main roadblock.
FWIW, there's a poll on Next Door which shows 71% generally in favor, and 22% generally opposed, with 4% in the middle. This represents 144 people responding to the poll. Not scientific, of course.
Formal complaint filed against U City for violations of the open meetings Sunshine Law (regarding tonight's limited-seating public hearing).

https://patch.com/missouri/universityci ... aign=alert
framer wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:55 pm
FWIW, there's a poll on Next Door which shows 71% generally in favor, and 22% generally opposed, with 4% in the middle. This represents 144 people responding to the poll. Not scientific, of course.
I assume a certain demographic uses Nextdoor which might skew the results. It seems like the Asian business owners are really against this, which I don't quite get since it should in theory it should increase their business since they're probably not competing with Costco. The racial lens of this project don't look good, either. This is shaping up to turn into a proper shitshow and it seems like there's no one to blame except the U City government.
I'd bet the Asian grocers would see a significant hit from Costco. Not necessarily debilitating but detectable. All my Asian friends seem in love with Costco. And to rub salt in the wound, Costco would be getting tax support that they would not, while needing it less and moving more money out of the community.
Do we need MORE retail? Really??
The Slow Death of the Shopping Plaza
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/ ... -virginia/
The picture of this project has sure gotten a lot clearer.

https://patch.com/missouri/universityci ... rsity-city

This group is probably the "outside forces". I'm guessing they have it in for Novus using eminent domain. It seems like this project will get dragged out in court if it proceeds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_for_Justice
There have been a lot of op-eds for and against this project in the last couple of days

https://patch.com/missouri/universitycity

https://www.stltoday.com/search/?k=%22u ... ce=keyword
Revenues are at crisis status yet U City passes on development of the Delmar Harvard School and the precious asphalt lot now containing a tailer police HQ and the gov't run entitlement parking lots north of the Loop aren't available for development in the Parkview Gardens plan because people are supposedly afraid of structured parking.

Stl AMerican - Olive/I-170 redevelopment has potential to benefit University City
Tangential to this situation is Washington University’s land purchases, which have decimated the tax rolls, negatively affected our schools and city services, and has thus contributed to the problems in the most vulnerable portion of our city. The school seems to be taking the name of University City a bit too literally. Unless our city creates a new revenue source, it won’t be long before we have an entire city at risk.
http://www.stlamerican.com/news/columni ... 9324f.html
Nobody's really mentioned why this project needs a 37% TIF vs the project in Olivette only needing a 26% one. I thought we were suppose to be moving away from this sort of thing.

On the flip side, it seems like nobody would have a real issue with this project if it was just the Costco. https://www.riverfronttimes.com/foodblo ... taurateurs
Vote delayed until the next meeting (August) at the earliest. Article with a lot of background

https://patch.com/missouri/universityci ... ic-hearing
Not all 88 munis can have this. When will we understand that?

"an economic engine that will attract people from across the region to spend their dollars in U. City... I think we can have it all.""
Do the folks who can't afford higher property taxes not have homeowner's insurance? My insurance premiums have gone up a lot over the years, way more than property taxes ever have.

U City Patch - CBA Demands Intensify At Contentious Olive Development Meeting
"The TIF project is supposed to increase property values. So, if it's going to increase property values, then it's also going to increase property taxes," Pointer said. "And I've been asking for answers to how you all are going to address that for people who cannot afford to pay those things. I have not received any response. I'm still waiting on that answer. I know there are a lot of people who are also waiting on that answer."

Rose initially sidestepped the question — saying its unknown whether property taxes would go up or how fast — before Pointer interrupted to reiterate her initial question: What plan does the city have to mitigate rising property taxes for residents on fixed incomes?

"We have seen this happen time and time again in other communities," Pointer said. "Gentrification, displacing people, pricing them out of their neighborhoods."
https://patch.com/missouri/universityci ... nt-meeting
The assessed value of many houses nearby are ~$10-15k. The rate is 8.6296% So $863 to $1295.
How many would really refuse a say 50% increase in home value (how likely is that?) due to a$36 to $54 per month property tax increase?
^If you're living close to the margins that can be a painful difference, believe it or not. What do you give up? Sort of optional medicine that makes your life better but you can live without it? A cherished bit of comfort food? Rare leisure time? Especially when you're scrimping and stretching to get to the next paycheck that extra fifty bucks every month can be a big blow. And that's particularly true since it comes as a single bill and not as something conveniently budgeted out every month. So . . . you forgot to plan for it and tax time rolls around. Harder to get shifts around the holidays. Bills are bigger then anyway, as kids want Christmas. To be incredibly frank, it's actually hard to come up with the energy to even plan for something like that when you're hungry and exhausted half the time. And maybe you've got your grandmother's house and that's a small comfort. But that really can make it hard to hang onto when you're really fighting. Does it kill everyone? Absolutely not. It might be a blessing to some. Sell at the higher value and get the hell out. But it darn likely will hurt someone. And that someone will most probably be someone at the margins. Someone poor. Someone tired. Someone past being able to plan for it.
The third ward of U City (the area north of Olive) is grossly under-valued. It's full of perfectly nice mini-ranches built in the 50s and 60s, mostly well maintained. These houses generally sell for 20% less than an equivalent home south of Olive (or in the City of STL, for that matter). That's the primary reason that I bought my house in the third ward six years ago. I got a real bargain.

Many of these homes are bought by first-time homebuyers, and many have been passed down from parents etc. Lots of these folks do indeed live on pretty thin margins. When the home values catch up with reality, it's gonna definitely put a strain on many families in the area.

Most homeowners want their property value to rise, but yes, it'll put a squeeze on many of my neighbors. It's a real Catch 22, and I don't pretend to know the answer.
Here's some interesting demographic info on U City's 3rd Ward as it relates to homeownership:

http://www.ucitymo.org/DocumentCenter/V ... g-Analysis
^That's a sobering analysis. The growth in renters is . . . telling. Haunting, even. There are ghosts in our collective past and they are speaking to our present and future and telling us to do better. And I'm not sure we're listening. (Ghosts are so damned hard to understand sometimes. Hindsight is 20/20 my fat patootie. No, it ain't ever.)
How do we do better?
Invest in the infrastructure there? That will raise property values which will raise property taxes and price people out.
Give loans and grants so people can improve their homes? That will raise property values which will raise property taxes and price people out.
Invest in people so some are healthier, more educated, earn more, etc? Some will improve their properties/ pay more for then. That will raise property values which will raise property taxes and price people out. Or they'll buy elsewhere and leave the neighborhood.

We have loads of examples of what happens to neighborhoods when you do none of those things.
^I don't think anyone is suggesting we do nothing. I also think there are good examples of targeted investment helping people. Nothing we do will be perfect. People will always suffer chance. They will get hit crossing the street. Cancer will strike them down. (Trust me. I know.) They'll get a job with a company that goes broke, or they'll bet on the wrong stock, or they'll just never get that lucky break that helps so many of us out. Some things really are just dumb luck. But what we can do is target our investment so it's helping folks who need it. We can educate juvenile offenders rather than punishing them. (This worked pretty dang well for Missouri for a good while, as a matter of fact.) Help them grow and trust that the system is working for them. We can target tax abatements so that they help lower income property owners keep their properties and build equity, particularly if they invest in and improve their properties. I really don't believe this needs to be a zero sum game. There don't need to be "losers" just because it helps someone else.
Just to be clear, this particular TIF will have funds dedicated to making investments in the 3rd Ward, such as low-interest home loans, street and lighting improvements, and minority business development.

This link gives a very general overview of the claimed benefits to the 3rd Ward of U City:

http://www.ucitymo.org/DocumentCenter/V ... al-Edition
^I'm a little suspicious of "street and lighting improvements" since it's so easy to describe the parking lots of the new businesses as "street and lighting improvements." Quite a few "special taxing districts" are nothing more than a quiet surcharge to pay for absurdly sized and landscaped parking lots that sit half empty most of the time. Everybody wants "free" parking. Nobody notices when they pay an extra fifty cents to a dollar on every hundred dollars they spend to cover the cost of that "free" parking. Since, after all, that's usually in remarkably small print on an inconspicuous sign buried by the cash register somewhere. (Which, by the way . . . your average trip to the grocery store would have netted you free parking at Union Station or St. Louis Center back in the day. Since they'd give you a voucher for free parking anytime you spent . . . oh . . . I think it was twenty five to fifty. Something like that. Grocery money. Even then.)

As to the rest, it's certainly nice that the TIF offers relocation incentives and assistance, but reading U-City's page about the TIF I'm not seeing the low interest loans and I'm not sure the developer can't just waive most of it unilaterally. It's also not absolutely clear to me whether the assistance offered will be the greater or lesser of the two figures quoted (say $1000 or actual cost for most moves.) I could easily see someone going over a grand on a move fast, especially if they can't do too much of the loading themselves. And the incentives seem . . . quite modest unless you're moving inside the TIF area itself. (From RPA 1 to RPA 2, for instance.) And 10 grand for "senior assisted housing" sounds great until you realize that's not even six months rent, typically. Maybe not much more than three. (Depending on where you go.) Even senior independent living, which is essentially an apartment with a meal service and a cleaning plan, gets quite pricey fast. The assisted stuff . . . that's often several thousand a month for a small one bedroom unit. And if you need skilled nursing? Yeah, never mind. Just . . . don't. That money isn't going to make a difference. It's a gratuity.

Which is to say it's window dressing. It makes it look nice, but does it really help? Does one year payment of the increased rent really help much? Honestly?

No. It doesn't. It's a nice way to save a little money if you were going to make that move anyway. (Which is to say you can afford it after.) But in that case you're probably at the lower end of the increase, so the amount is smaller. And if you can't afford it it's just a way to get into trouble. Honestly, looking over the TIF documents more closely . . .

This whole damn thing smells fishy. They're selling it awfully hard and I see no reason to believe it will make that much of a difference. The tax predictions are ludicrously simplistic and artificially rosey. There's no particular reason to believe the jobs will go to U-City at any higher rate than they do now. (Or that there will really be that many more of them.) The TIF won't create a new product out of thin air. All the stuff available after the TIF will have been available before. Just . . . elsewhere. And locals can drive to get it now. (And they can drive to work there, for that matter. And they're no more likely to get hired after the things move to the new tax haven than they were before.) And as soon as the TIF runs out what keeps the businesses from pulling up stakes and moving to the next tax haven down the block? This is a shell game. Jobs are the pea. We pay our tax money to the developers for a chance to win. But someone always loses, so the house is the only real winner. It's a joke. A very long and lurid joke with a very dark punchline. Just rename the developers "The Aristocrats LLC."

Lord god. Why the crap do we need one more big box disaster surrounded by an enormous heat sink?
symphonicpoet wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:00 am
This whole damn thing smells fishy. They're selling it awfully hard and I see no reason to believe it will make that much of a difference. The tax predictions are ludicrously simplistic and artificially rosey. There's no particular reason to believe the jobs will go to U-City at any higher rate than they do now. (Or that there will really be that many more of them.) The TIF won't create a new product out of thin air. All the stuff available after the TIF will have been available before. Just . . . elsewhere. And locals can drive to get it now. (And they can drive to work there, for that matter. And they're no more likely to get hired after the things move to the new tax haven than they were before.) And as soon as the TIF runs out what keeps the businesses from pulling up stakes and moving to the next tax haven down the block? This is a shell game. Jobs are the pea. We pay our tax money to the developers for a chance to win. But someone always loses, so the house is the only real winner. It's a joke. A very long and lurid joke with a very dark punchline. Just rename the developers "The Aristocrats LLC."
It seems like the main issue is U City wants to balance its budget using the Costco sales tax revenues, because U City is projected to be in dire financial straits without a tax increase in the near future. So essentially, they want the 3rd ward to have all the negative impacts with only some upside. That's not considering Novus wants to use eminent domain to pay pennies on the dollar for the commercial properties and they're already stretching the financials of the project.