The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority Board will consider tax abatements for several developments around St. Louis at its December 13th meeting. These include the vacant 909 Chestnut, formerly the AT&T/SWBell building, the Albion at Lindell and Kingshighway, the second phase of Doorways on Jefferson, and rehab of t704 N 2nd.
First is the vacant 1.4 million square-foot former AT&T/SWBell building at 909 Chestnut downtown. It has been quite the soap opera over the last few years with the building being foreclosed on, trading hands, and the assessed value reduced by the city. News broke when a leasing brochure was released by Colliers on behalf of Advantes Development Group and building owner SomeraRoad Inc.
Dubbed the Beacon, the plan includes four floors of hotel with about 150 rooms, ten floors of offices, eleven floors of standard apartments (~189), and twelve floors of fancy apartments (120). Like many new developments the building would be amenity rich including a 43rd floor restaurant and rooftop pool. The estimated project cost is $300M. According to the LCRA meeting materials the hotel is a JM Marriott and has 300 rooms, there are 306 apartments, 288k sf of office and 37k sf of retail.
Earlier this year the Preservation Board endorsed putting the building on the National Register of Historic Places to help facilitate the use of historic tax credits. Federal HTCs of $36M and Missouri HTCs worth $48M will be sought. The LCRA board will consider a 15-year property tax abatement of 95% for five years, 75% for the second five years, followed by 50% for the third five year period. LCRA financial analysis estimates the net present value of the abatement at $27M. LCRA scores the proposal a 5 out of 5. They will also seek sales tax exemption on construction materials, which is estimated to save $2.9M. Of course activating the building will add significant tax base.
If the plan comes to fruition this leaves the Railway Exchange and the Millennium Hotel as the large vacants left in downtown.
Next Koplar Properties is seeking a 10-year property tax abatement for 10 years at 75% (I’ll pat myself on the back for estimating correctly) for the Albion at Lindell and Kingshighway. The 30-story $145M project includes 293 market-rate apartments, 1,500 sf of retail space, and 340 structured parking spaces. Rents will top $3 per sf. While I often refer to auto-oriented land uses as blighted due to their low land productivity and negative externalities of attracting vehicles, the fact that this parking lot meets the definition of blighted under state statute just goes to show that anything can qualify as blighted. Koplar proposes a $1.3M community benefit contribution (likely to go to things like the affordable housing trust fund). LCRA financial analysis estimates the net present value of the abatement at $6.7M. LCRA scoring gives this a 4 out of 5. They will also seek sales tax exemption on construction materials worth almost $3.1M.
The next phase of Doorways on Jefferson which consists of about 39 apartments near the new NGA West is seeking 15 years of property tax abatement at 90% for the first ten years followed by 50% for five years. Phase two is at the upper center int he rendering above. The net present value of the abatement is estimate to be worth $250k. LCRA scoring gives this a 4 out of 5. They will also seek sales tax exemption on construction materials.
Advantes also plans a $10M rehab of 704-710 N 2nd street on The Landing into 33 apartments above commercial space. They are seeking a property tax abatement for 10 years at 75% with a net present value of $770k. LCRA scoring gives this a 3.5 out of 5.
Fleur De Lis Development plans an $18.5M rehab of the Simmons School on St. Louis Avenue in The Ville neighborhood into 58 apartments and 1,700 sf of grand level retail. They plan to do the rehab in phases over ten years. The matter before the LCRA Board is to enter into a Parcel Development Agreement.