$353M in tax breaks advance for ‘Downtown’ Chesterfield projects

$353M in tax breaks advance for 'Downtown' Chesterfield projects

CHESTERFIELD — A special commission on Monday recommended $353 million in tax breaks for $3 billion of commercial and residential development that could reshape a chunk of Chesterfield.

The commission voted 9-3 to recommend the City Council grant the tax increment financing for two developments poised to create a “downtown” Chesterfield with thousands of apartments and townhomes and numerous shops, restaurants and offices at Chesterfield Parkway West and Wild Horse Creek Road.

The incentives, known as a TIF, is expected to be introduced to the council at its Dec. 5 meeting. The city plans to spend $10,000 to distribute a mailer to residents about the TIF.

The TIF would divert some of the new taxes generated by the projects into a special fund. That fund would be used to pay for things such as parking garages and new roads for the two projects, led by Overland-based developers The Staenberg Group and CRG.

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The Staenberg Group plans to demolish the nearly defunct Chesterfield Mall to make way for its part of the project, which calls for a 259-room hotel, nearly 3,000 housing units, and millions of square feet of office and retail space. CRG has plans for nearly 1 million square feet of retail and restaurant space, a public plaza with a floating stage and garden and over 565 housing units just west of the mall.

Monday’s recommendation is not binding, but a commission vote against the TIF would have required a two-thirds override from City Council and also restricted the use of the money.

The TIF would be in effect for 23 years and freeze the property tax at the current level. As real estate appreciates in value, the TIF would “capture” the increase in property taxes from the base rate and uses those funds for other uses. The TIF also would capture 50% of sales and utility taxes from the development for other uses.

The vote followed weeks of debate where the Parkway and Rockwood school districts clashed with the city of Chesterfield over the TIF and how many students the new developments would attract.

The districts said the TIF would divert the money needed to educate the more than 800 students expected who would primarily attend three schools in the Parkway district. Parkway officials fear the TIF could cost it millions of dollars in revenue and force the district to add trailers for so many new students, seek a tax increase or redraw school boundaries.

The city, meanwhile, said the projects would broaden the tax base, lessening the burden on the average Chesterfield resident. The districts, it said, exaggerated their student count estimates. The city projects the developments would add a little under 300 new students.

Chesterfield has had just one other TIF, which paid for levee and road improvements while the city attracted new business to the area after the Flood of ’93. The city generated more revenue than expected and was able to retire the TIF about a decade early, officials said.

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