Webster Groves Has Some Decisions to Make
Webster Groves is considering the region’s latest giant, taxpayer-subsidized, “savior” type development. By that I mean the type of mixed-use megaplex that will somehow instantly “save” the city.
The fact that the developers have requested eminent domain should disqualify it from the start. From the article about the proposal (emphasis added):
The developers have asked the city for the power to use eminent domain to force property owners to sell, but said they are not considering it now.
So they want the power of eminent domain, but as of now they say they don’t plan to use it. Until they deal with a property owner who does not feel like selling, of course. Just the threat of eminent domain impacts the entire process negatively.
They also want tax subsidies:
They need approval for $35 million in tax incentives, plus an extra sales tax.
So, a big TIF, plus a CID or TDD (to be determined), so that average people throughout the region can subsidize this development.
I don’t know if there is a real market for new apartments, condos, shops, etc. in this part of Webster Groves. There may well be. But if the project has to have huge tax subsidies and the threat of eminent domain, then I would doubt it.
The TIF commission should deny the TIF and the Webster Groves City Council should refuse the eminent domain and oppose any CID, TDD, etc. Then the developer can talk with the property owners and move forward or not.