St. Charles City Council Approves TIF for Lindenwood Town Center Project

St. Charles City Council members approved a $9.6 million tax increment financing package for the 31.5 acre development anchored by Schnucks.

approved a $9.6 million tax increment financing package for a 31.5 acre development anchored by a Schnucks across from Lindenwood University. 

The development, which is a joint project between Desco and Lindenwood University, will include several retail sites, restaurants, a hotel and room for relocation of the .  

The council approved the TIF on a 9-1 vote with Councilman Tom Besselman, Ward-2, casting the lone dissenting vote. 

"The project is going to be great, but I think it was going to be done without a TIF," Besselman said. "That's awfully expensive land for dorms. It's a prime location."

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The $9.6 million TIF includes a self-imposed 1 percent sales tax that shoppers would pay at businesses in the development, which would generate $3.36 million over 23 years. A second portion is the $3.2 million in St. Charles sales tax revenues expected to be generated. The third portion is the $2.98 million in real estate tax that would be diverted. 

Few people spoke out against the TIF at the meeting Tuesday, unlike at previous meetings. The council pulled the bill off the table and voted on it in the same night, a move that was allowed after the council changed council rules several weeks ago. 

Resident Ruby McDonald, who lives near the development, objected to calling the area blighted.

"It is true we are not rich people, but we do take care of our property," she said. "I think you should be on the side of the citizens of St. Charles, the people who are paying your salaries."

School District to Get $100,000 from Developer, Lindenwood, City

The TIF agreement needed seven votes or a supermajority of the council for approval because the  against the proposal last November. 

At the time, Superintendent Randy Charles was opposed to the TIF because a large percentage of the taxes expected to be generated would be diverted from the school district. 

The council on Tuesday approved another agreement between Lindenwood University, DESCO and the City that will give the school district $100,000 a year for each year the TIF is in effect. 

The district will receive $25,00 from Lindenwood, $25,000 from DESCO and $50,000 from the city's general fund. 

"Now there's something in it for the school district," Charles said. 

Councilman Mike Weller, Ward-5, said he was opposed to giving $50,000 of the general fund to the school district. He said that money could have been spent on city streets. 

"Our city streets are falling apart and they need a lot of work and a lot of resources," he said. 

However, he said he's so committed to seeing the city grow around the University that he set his concerns aside to vote yes.

Post Office Relocation Key to Project 

Council member Dave Beckering, Ward 7, said he was opposed to using a TIF for this project, but changed his mind. 

"If we don't do this development, there will simply be more dorms built and it will continue to pay $0 in taxes," he said. "The other thing is, the hospital. If the Post Office doesn't move from its currently location, the hospital is land-locked." 

At the heart of the Lindenwood Town Center is space for the United States Post Office to relocate from its current building on Fifth Street, giving  room to expand.

An agreement between the USPS and SSM has not yet been finalized, said St. Charles Economic Development Director David Leezer. However, money generated from the sale of the USPS property to SSM would be put toward building the new Post Office and Desco would fund any additional costs. 

Once the city has a redevelopment agreement between the USPS and SSM, they can seek approval for West Clay Extension road project from the . The West Clay Extension will run along the south side of the development. 

"If they don't approve it, the deal is dead," Leezer said.

Regina Hollrah June 06, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Just as ordinary people do, Desco and Lindenwood should subsidize their own development. This is why this city, this county and this state are broke----we give them a pass on taxation that all the home owners are required to pay without fail. By the time this development is underway and almost completed, they will be back for more. Offer a dog a bone and he'll want them forever.
Leann Starr June 19, 2012 at 08:45 PM
TIF reform is needed before cities go broke from subsidizing "developent". Schnucks is a large corporation with grocery stores in four or five states. Their development arm, DESCO has plenty of cash reserves. They can afford to develop prime real estate in Saint Charles. Instead they expect to pay no taxes for the first 15 years AND we get to pay an additional 1% in taxes any time we are gullable enough to shop in their new Schnucks. Meanwwhile tax revenue for our schools, police, firefighters, and infrastructure is diverted to fund a private development. If Schnucks didn't want to pay all the costs for their mega-store & mini-mall, they could have stayed in the small store on Droste. Residents are aware that Lindenwood has been allowed to dictate development in town for too long. Who is responsible for this particular $10-million theft of public funds?. Our City Council has not only acquiessed to the TIF, they have sweetened the pot by kicking in an additional $50,000/year of public funds which will amount to around $350,000 over the life of the TIF. Maybe the City managers are not savvy enough to resist the lobbyists and negotiate contracts that respresent the best interests of the public. We need to take such decisions away from leaders who favor corporations over our children. Support the next state bill that prevents city councils from over-riding TIF Commissions. Lastly, shop at IGA and other locally-owned businesses who pay their fair share!
Agustus Brandenburger September 05, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Somebody tell me why this development would not have happened with out the TIF? This is part part of lindenwoods Master Plan. We dropped our pants. Lindenwood will not leave Saint Charles. They must be a good citizen of the community and support it though taxes. Shame on the council for not properly leveraging and waiting them out. We must be long in all planning and this is short sighted.
Agustus Brandenburger September 05, 2012 at 07:37 PM
And DESCO is a key to this development - so no Dave, it wont be "just dorms".


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