Stenger Donors Get a Sweet Deal in Wellston

By on September 13, 2017

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  For more than a decade, St. Louis County has waited for the right proposal to redevelop two industrial properties it owned in Wellston, hoping to bring some jobs to the downtrodden inner ring suburb.

It has taken even longer than that to get the sites prepared for redevelopment. For 30 years the county has owned the vacant 15-acre Wagner Electric site near Wellston’s MetroLink stop, now known as the Plymouth Industrial Park. In the mid-2000s, the county assembled 24 acres just across Page avenue from Plymouth into what is now known as the Wellston Industrial Park.

Cleanup and new infrastructure took millions of dollars. In the last three months, both sites finally sold.

“I can’t believe somebody hasn’t bought it before now,” said Doug LaClair of LaClair Construction Services, one of the members of the investment group that bought them.

But the buyers aren’t sure yet when development will start or what will go there.

What is known is that St. Louis County’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, which owned the sites, sold both for far less than their appraised values. And two members of the investment group, John G. Rallo and Corey Christanell, have given more than $30,000 to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, either personally or through companies linked to them.

“I don’t know anything about that,” LaClair said when asked about the contributions.

Rallo, said last week that it “was definitely a blighted area” but that the group was “attracted with what was going on around it with the MET (Metropolitan Education and Training Center),” a county-owned employment training facility that partners with a host of area organizations.

However, Rallo, in a brief phone interview, said there was “nothing solid” yet for the two sites.

LaClair said earlier this month he’s hoping to attract some light industrial or distribution companies to the sites.

“We’ve had a lot of activity but no one’s signed on the dotted line yet,” he said.

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