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TIF commission delays St. Mary's vote

TIF commission delays St. Mary's vote

May 19th, 2017 by Philip Joens in Local News

Farmer Holding Company, which purchased the old St. Mary's Health Center complex on Missouri Boulevard in December 2015, is seeking tax increment financing through the city to redevelop the property.

Photo by Shelby Kardell /News Tribune.

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A commission tasked with recommending approval or denial of public funds for redevelopment of the historic St. Mary's Hospital site voted 10-0 on Thursday to delay a vote on the plans until 6 p.m. June 14.

Farmer Holding Co., which also owns Capital Mall, proposed two plans to redevelop the former site of the hospital at the southwest corner of U.S. 50 and Bolivar Street. The company asked for about $7 million from Jefferson City to help with redevelopment.

Members decided to delay the vote because a staff report dated May 11 was not reviewed by the Jefferson City Public Schools board members at its May 8 meeting.

This is the second time the meeting has been delayed. In March, Farmer Holding requested more time to prepare its presentation before a scheduled April 6 TIF Commission meeting.

After about an hour-long presentation by city and Farmers' representatives, JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum introduced a motion to delay the vote until the school board can review the full report at its June 12 meeting. Linthacum said the school board planned to review the report at its May 8 meeting and placed the item on its agenda.

City officials blamed the report's delay on updates made to it in early May.

"We had the (report) analysis on the agenda at our last board meeting, but we couldn't review it because we didn't have the analysis," Linthacum said.

Rob Kingsbury, principal of Farmer Holding Co., said he respects the process.

"We're looking forward to continuing to cooperate," Kingsbury said. "It's going to give the school board an opportunity to have adequate time to review the full package and the public information."

Farmer Holding asked for $7.3 million from the city for a joint project with Lincoln University and $6.7 million from the city for a commercial-only project.

The staff report recommended the TIF Commission approve the St. Mary's Hospital redevelopment plan and send it to the full City Council. The report also recommended the commission declare the area blighted to make it eligible for TIF funding.

Missouri's tax increment financing (TIF) law allows municipalities to finance redevelopment projects with local property taxes and sales taxes to assist funding the redevelopment of blighted, conservation or "economic development" areas in communities.

Farmer Holding representatives said the company would spend $44.6 million on the joint project with Lincoln University and $30.9 million on the commercial-only project.

Under the Lincoln project a 180,000-square-foot educational center on a Lincoln University satellite campus would be built to operate in conjunction with the main LU campus in Jefferson City. The St. Mary's building, the first part of which was built in 1905, would be renovated for use as an office building. Four commercial pads consisting of 21,000 square feet of retail space would also be built.

The commercial project would also renovate the St. Mary's hospital building for office space, and the medical office building next to the hospital would be renovated as well. Then, six commercial pads, consisting of 30,200 square feet of retail space, would be built.

Farmer Holding previously said in a council proposal its return on investment on the Lincoln project without TIF financing would be minus 6.32 percent over 10 years. With TIF financing, it would be 8.65 percent return on investment over 10 years, which Farmer Holding said in the report would be a reasonable to low return on investment "for a typical development project."

Returns for Farmer Holding on the commercial project were estimated at 8.79 percent.

At the meeting Korb Maxwell, an attorney with Kansas City firm Polsinelli, which is representing Farmer Holding, said given the extensive work needed to redevelop the property, the project is unfeasible without public investment.

"There are very few developers that would accept an 8.65 return to do a project this difficult in this type of area," Maxwell said.

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EARLIER COVERAGE

Members of a commission tasked with deciding whether the City of Jefferson will commit approximately $7 million to the redevelopment of the former St. Mary's Hospital site voted 10-0 to delay the vote until a June 14 meeting.

Farmer Holding Co. asked the city for approximately $7 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help it redevelop the site for commercial uses. As the reason for the delay, members of the TIF Commission said Jefferson City Public School Board members had not had adequate time to review a May 11 staff report.

In March, Farmer Holding requested more time to prepare its presentation before a TIF Commission meeting scheduled April 6.