25-Year Tax Abatement Approved for 40 Acres of Near South Riverfront

By on July 15, 2016

From nextSTL:  More than 40 acres of St. Louis City’s near south industrial riverfront has received 10 years of full tax abatement and an additional 15 years of 50 percent tax. As is typical, the city’s 28-member Board of Alderman approved the measure 22-0 without much of a conversation, and no recorded dissent.

The effort, once known as Soulard Green, isn’t new, but has been on hold for most of the past decade. Some big names in St. Louis development were previously engaged in Soulard Green, including Forum Studio, Green Street, and Environmental Operations Inc. The concept promoted in 2009 appears gone, but with tax abatement in hand, the site will be marketed anew as a cheap development site.

The big question is that with context of the St. Louis Economic Incentives Report, what kind of process was followed, and why kind of analysis was conducted before forgoing property tax revenue for the next 25 years? Will projects and abatement of this scale receive additional scrutiny in the future? These types of incentives aren’t handed out in secret, but they continue to receive little attention.

It appears that there exists no development plan, and no tenants for the site. The tax abatement awarded becomes part of the marketing effort to encourage development. Again, this should raise questions of how, when, and for how many years tax abatement is granted in the city.

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