A request for public funding to redevelop the vacant Deer Creek Center gained preliminary approval from Maplewood City Council on Tuesday night.
The council passed a resolution that allows City Manager Marty Corcoran to execute a preliminary funding agreement between the city and Summit Development Group. The council also granted Corcoran permission to negotiate the preparation of a redevelopment plan and a redevelopment agreement with Summit, and to authorize the establishment of a tax increment financing (TIF) commission.
Summit Group is both the owner of Deer Creek Center and its developer. Summit seeks public tax dollars to finance improvements at its flagging shopping center and to attract new, larger businesses. Summit has already acquired letters of intent from prospective tenants, Corcoran said.
The proposed redevelopment generated little discussion save for Ward 3 Councilman Shawn Faulkingham’s question about whether the resolution that allows the development and TIF agreements to begin was legally binding.
The pre-funding agreement, through which Summit will pay Maplewood $100,000 initially to cover the city's costs for any expenses related to the redevelopment, is binding, Corcoran said. The other documents—the redevelopment plan and agreement—are not binding until approved by city council at a later date.
“I am not a fan of TIFs, and wanted to make sure that the creation of a commission did not hold us to using one,” Faulkingham said.
A TIF commission in St. Louis County is expected to review the proposal in January, Corcoran said.
“The commission will make a decision either to approve or disapprove the TIF,” he said. “If they approve the TIF, we go on our happy way.”
If the commission rejects the TIF, Maplewood would seek a super-majority from city council (five members) to override the commission's decision.