South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Crestwood board weighs measure seeking $45,000 more from mall owner

Aldermen to consider amendment to pact with planning consultant for mall work
UrbanStreet rendering of its proposed project for the former Crestwood Plaza.
Photo by Lisa
UrbanStreet rendering of its proposed project for the former Crestwood Plaza.

An ordinance approving a second amendment to an initial funding agreement with the owner of the former Crestwood Plaza was scheduled to be considered earlier this week by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen.

The agreement, which requests an additional $45,000 from the mall owner, was set to be considered by aldermen Tuesday night — after the Call went to press.

The original pact with Crestwood Missouri Partners LLC, a subsidiary of mall owner UrbanStreet Group of Chicago, advanced $45,000 to the city as preliminary funding for costs and fees associated with the proposed redevelopment of the mall.

The original agreement also provided that UrbanStreet would make an additional payment of $55,000 to the city if it was selected as the preferred developer of the mall site at Watson and Sappington roads. Aldermen voted to do so in late April.

UrbanStreet Group, which purchased the mall property last year for $2.625 million, submitted the only response to the city’s request for proposals, or RFP, to redevelop the site. The mall owner is requesting nearly $28 million in tax incentives, including tax-increment financing, or TIF, for a roughly $99.5 million mixed-use project that includes 225 apartments.

In March, aldermen adopted an ordinance approving the first amendment to the funding pact, in which UrbanStreet provided an additional $25,000 to the city.

In a Nov. 5 memo, City Planner Adam Jones wrote, “The second amendment of the initial funding agreement is a request for an additional $45,000 in ‘supplemental funds’ of which Crestwood Missouri Partners LLC has agreed to pay. These funds are to be used for reasonable consulting and legal costs related to services performed for the city in connection with the redevelopment of Crestwood Plaza. This would bring the grand total of funding for the project to $170,000 …”

Aldermen also were scheduled to consider an ordinance amending the city’s original agreement with Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets, or PGAV, for planning services related to the mall site.

The city’s initial contract with PGAV called for the consultant to perform eight tasks for a total of $61,000, Jones noted in a Nov. 5 memo.

“From December 2014 through July 2015 while completing work for the redevelopment plan, PGAV performed additional services outside of the original scope in the original contract as directed by the city’s representative …,” Jones said, citing a July 17 memo from PGAV Vice President John Brancaglione detailing the additional work.

The additional tasks total $14,600. The proposed amendment with PGAV also calls for the consultant to review UrbanStreet’s request for financial assistance for the mall project at a cost not to exceed $4,000. UrbanStreet has agreed to pay the total cost of $18,600, Jones wrote.

In his memo, Brancaglione outlined the additional work his firm performed and noted, “Now we are being asked to answer the question, ‘Who told you to do that?’ Any of the efforts associated with conducting this work resulted from discussion with the city administrator and/or the mayor or the developer. These individuals would have known what we were doing. Virtually every aspect of this work was conducted to assist the city and the developer in achieving a successful project and to keep the project on track …”

Lindbergh Superintendent Jim Simpson has said he believes UrbanStreet’s plan to construct 225 apartments at the mall site “is the worst scenario for Lindbergh Schools,” as it would exacerbate the aggressive enrollment growth that already is challenging the district. In May, the school board unanimously approved a resolution opposing the use of TIF for residential development.

“For every delay or public controversy created by the naysayers — which we believe are in the minority of Crestwood citizenry and businesses — the ability for the developer to attract end users and/or development partners will be negatively impacted,” Brancaglione wrote. “… Based on our conversations with the developers/brokers that we sent the RFP solicitation to, it seemed apparent that the city isn’t being taken seriously in this effort. The publicity that the school district has been creating isn’t helping.”

Because of many unexpected factors related to the project, Brancaglione anticipates his firm will lose money.

“… We want to help the city cause this property to again be part of its beating heart, but we can’t continue without recovering a portion of the investment we’ve already made … We hope the city — and the developer — recognize this effort,” he wrote.

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