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About a month out from a resolution-imposed deadline, progress on a development agreement for the Missouri State Penitentiary is moving along, city officials said.

When the Jefferson City Council chose the Chesterfield Hotels group June 1, it passed a resolution that included a deadline of Dec. 31 to complete negotiations and develop an agreement to redevelop land on the historic MSP site that was conveyed from the state to the city.

Mayor Carrie Tergin said last week the city and developer are still working to outline that development agreement.

The Chesterfield group proposed a large development at the site, which could come in four stages. The first would include a hotel and conference center as well as some infrastructure like roads and parking. Future stages could include a mixture of uses from a two-sheet ice arena to commercial and residential buildings, much of which would be developed by others.

City Attorney Ryan Moehlman previously said the end-of-year agreement wouldn't have to include every stage of the development, but it would most likely include the first phase — the hotel and conference center — and potentially some aspects of future stages.

Although the council imposed this deadline on the process, Tergin said the main deadline to focus on for progress on the project was set by the state of Missouri.

"In reality, the main deadline to be looking at is that the state had given us three years from this past July to break ground, and we feel certain that regardless of the tornado hitting the site and the pandemic that we're in, we will still meet that deadline," she said.

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While her focus is on that big-picture deadline, Tergin said the city is still working to meet the Dec. 31 deadline for the agreement.

"Our hope is we can still move forward with that at the end of year, timelines may look a little different by the end of December, but hopefully we can still get what we need," Tergin said.

Moehlman said Thursday that negotiations relating to the agreement are taking place between city staff and the Chesterfield group. If something involved would require a policy decision, that would go before the City Council.

The agreement will also need to be presented to the City Council for approval when it is completed. It will make its way before the council just like any other bill; typically, bills are introduced and voted on at two different meetings, but the council could suspend the rules and do both at the same meeting if needed.

If an agreement is not completed by Dec. 31, the original resolution will expire. The deadline can be extended by the council if needed.

With the pandemic in mind, Tergin said it's an interesting time to talk about growth in the hospitality industry like building a new hotel and conference center.

"We still feel certain that the interest is there and that we will find it will come back better and stronger than ever because people are certainly ready, when the time is right, to reconvene," Tergin said.

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