CHESTERFIELD – A plan to create a “downtown” Chesterfield cleared its first major hurdle Monday when a special committee recommended receiving $353 million in tax incentives.
The committee voted 9-3 to recommend that the City Council be given a tax incentive for two projects poised to create thousands of new apartments, restaurants and offices in a prominent section of Chesterfield. The project requires approximately $3 billion worth of residential and commercial development, including the Chesterfield Mall redevelopment.
One of the St. Louis County appointees on the committee, Jay Nelson, and the Parkway and Rockwood school districts appointees voted against the incentive, called the Tax Increase Funding, or TIF.
The TIF is expected to be submitted to the City Council, which has the final say, at its December 5 meeting. The city plans to spend $10,000 to distribute a mailer to residents about the stimulus.
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Wildland-based developers The Staenberg Group and CRG are leading the projects.
The Staenberg Group wants to demolish Chesterfield Mall, at Chesterfield Parkway West and Wild Horse Creek Road, to make way for its portion of the project, which requires a 259-room hotel, about 3,000 condominiums and millions of square feet of office and retail space.
CRG has plans for nearly 1 million square feet of retail and restaurant space, a public plaza with a floating platform and park and more than 565 condominiums west of the mall.
recommendation After weeks of discussion As the Parkway and Rockwood school districts battled with the City of Chesterfield over TIF and the number of students the new developments would attract.
The TIF will transfer some of the new taxes generated by the projects into a special fund that will be used to pay for new infrastructure, such as parking lots and roads, for the two projects. The TIF will be in effect for 23 years and will freeze property tax at the current level. As property values rise, the TIF “captures” the increase in property taxes from the base rate and puts that money to other uses. TIF will also receive 50% of the sales and utility taxes from the development for other uses.
The districts have argued that TIF will divert the funds needed to educate more than 800 students who are expected to live in the developments and who will primarily attend three schools in the Parkway District. Parkway officials fear it could cost TIF millions of dollars in revenue and force the district to add trailers for many new students, seek tax increases or redraw school boundaries. The district expects to lose between $44 million and $235 million over the life of the TIF, depending on registration.
Meanwhile, the city said the projects would broaden the tax base, and reduce the burden on the average Chesterfield citizen. He said the districts overestimated their student population and generated $216 million in additional revenue. City projects that would add fewer than 300 new students.
Six people spoke during the about 35-minute meeting Monday, including former Mayor John Nations, who criticized the Parkway and its chief financial officer, saying the district would be in worse financial shape without TIF.
Nations said, “Parkway didn’t hire anyone to advise them. They sent an accountant for the staff. I’m sure he’s pretty good at being a school accountant if you asked him how to fund a lunch program or run the bus system.”
He suggested that new developments could separate from the Rockwood and Parkway districts and create a school district of their own.
Monday’s recommendation is not binding, but the committee’s vote against TIF would have required a two-thirds bypass from the city council as well as restricting the use of the funds.
Chesterfield only had one more TIF, paying for dam and road improvements while the city attracted new business to the area after major floods in 1993. The city generated more revenue than expected and was able to retire from TIF about a decade ago, officials said. .