Helen Fitzgerald’s, hotel sales tax plan is withdrawn in Sunset Hills


Photo by Erin Achenbach

The new Comfort Suites development next to Helen Fitzgerald’s under construction, as seen July 17, 2020.

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

A proposal for tax incentives at the Helen Fitzgerald’s and Comfort Suites hotel property in Sunset Hills has been scrapped for now. If the developers bring it back, they will have to start over.

Comfort Suites owner HR Sheevam and Helen’s owner Kirk Syberg withdrew their petition to establish a Community Improvement District, or CID, at the restaurant and hotel at 3650 S. Lindbergh Blvd. to pay for facade improvements and a new parking garage to alleviate longtime parking concerns at the restaurant. Visitors would have paid a 1-percent sales tax.

A vote  on the CID was delayed multiple times this summer and fall due to concerns brought up by residents and aldermen.

The withdrawal of the CID marks the end of a once grander plan with a Section 353 abatement. The developers could bring back the CID later, however, said City Administrator Brittany Gillett.

“I do believe they intend to bring that back, but because they had submitted it as a package with the 353 … and then to remove one piece, it kinda meets that threshold of restarting the process. So it would be too large to call it a slight amendment and ask the board to read it again,” Gillett said. “It’s just much cleaner to pull everything. … And I know the board was getting a little antsy, they didn’t want to keep postponing. Truly I think the CID will just come back, but we’ll see.”

The developer sought a 25-year abatement with the 2019 tax year as the base, which would ensure that taxing districts collect property taxes as they have in 2019 through the first 10 years, and then add a 50-percent abatement in years 16 to 25.

The plan led to legislation passed that allows the city to declare “blighted” areas.