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$27M Redevelopment Proposed at Deer Creek Center in Maplewood

JoAnn Fabrics, Party City, Ross Dress Barn, Sears Outlet and TJ Maxx are reportedly under consideration as potential tenants if the center is redeveloped.

The company that owns Deer Creek Center is asking for $8.5 million in public funding to pay for the redevelopment of the mostly-vacant strip mall in Maplewood.

That would help pay for a proposed $27 million redevelopment that includes new landscaping, updated signs and improved parking lots and sidewalks, said Larry Marks, a representative of , which owns the property.

He made the remarks during the inaugural meeting last Thursday of a commission created to advise Maplewood City Council on whether it should provide public funding to the private development company.

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In its proposal, Summit calls for $7.5 million in tax-increment financing (TIF). If approved, Summit would make payments toward its debt instead of paying any real estate taxes, City Manager Marty Corcoran said.

Summit is also asking that half of sales and utility taxes be used to pay toward its debts, Corcoran said.

After the TIF is paid off—which Summit expects to do in 15 to 17 years—then taxing operations would return to normal.

Summit also requested an additional $1 million from the city of Maplewood.

Representatives cited deteriorating conditions on the property as reasons for seeking public assistance.

Summit has owned the property for 10 years, but the company has been "hit with certain milestones that continued to hammer us," which delayed development and caused the need for assistance, said Scott Reese, who also spoke on behalf of Summit at last Thursday's meeting.

But even site improvements won't fix accessibility issues, said Glenn Powers, who is representing St. Louis County on the commission. Powers is the director of planning for St. Louis County.

The center's design leaves it perpendicular to Laclede Station Road and Big Bend Boulevard, Powers said, which makes for poor accessibility for shoppers.

"Even if we spend a whole bunch of money on this, it's orientation will still be wrong," Powers said.

Marks said that the Deer Creek Center is "the missing piece" in Maplewood. He pointed to the center's proximity to Sunnen Business Park and other Sunnen-owned .

"It's important that something gets done," Marks said.

If approved, construction would likely start in November 2012, a city memo notes.

JoAnn Fabrics, Party City, Ross Dress Barn, Sears Outlet and TJ Maxx are reportedly under consideration as potential tenants.

The commission scheduled another meeting for 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 at . It's then expected to offer a recommendation to Maplewood City Council, which will have the final vote on whether to approve the use of public funding or not.

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maylily December 14, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Frankly? I'm more than a little tired of companies wanting us (the tax payers) to pay their bills for them. If the property isn't being properly maintained, then the city should address that just like they would with an individual homeowner.
Gary E Holt December 15, 2011 at 01:20 AM
I am thrilled with the idea of breathing new life into this area. We must look past the tifs. The city is getting nothing now in taxes. What are there. . . 3 or 4 stores trying to hand on? When the beer guys moved into the old shop n save, look what happened. The whole downtown area, which was virtually dead, is now the place to be. With Sunnens plan and the mini cooper store, the entire "South Maplewood" area could be thriving.
maylily December 15, 2011 at 01:17 PM
If an individual owned a house and allowed it to get into the condition that these buildings are in, the city would have been citing them and charging them fines right and left. However, they have left this area alone. Maplewood taxes are already very high. I don't see the city offering to pay down my debt so I stay here and keep spending my money in Maplewood. Yes, the area needs to be developed. However, I do not think it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to pay for it. The taxpayer pays too much now. Corporations need to be responsible for their own business expenses. Taxpayers should no longer subsidize business expenses like this. IMO, TIFs should be completely done away with.
james marshall December 19, 2011 at 04:18 AM
Accessibility issues? Perpendicular? Please Mr. Powers give us a break. This location is accessible from two major north/south routes. How about the fact that traffic volume on both Big Bend and Hanley/Laclede Station are at an all time high. Please do not give us the bad location, we need public assistance whine. If the location is so bad why does Maplewood have some of the highest property tax rates in the area? Maplewood should pursue another developer that would not require TIF.
mormit January 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM
So Summit has sat on this property for ten years, accomplished nothing, now they want the taxpayers to help make something happen, and we won't see full tax revenues for 15-17 years when the stores are ready to relocate. Am I missing anything? Don't insult us by saying there are "accessibility issues". There are two main roads with controlled intersections to get in and out. It's a great location and something should have been done with it already.

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