School closures revive debate on St. Louis tax incentives | Metro
Williams pointed out several projects that are critical to the city’s future and that he thinks really need incentives to close the funding: the rehab of a closed Midtown factory into the City Foundry’s food hall and entertainment complex; the renovation of Union Station with an aquarium and a ferris wheel; and the new high-rise and office building of Ballpark Village in the city center.
Still, some councilors say they need to take a closer look at incentives. This notion comes up against the long-standing tradition of Aldermanic courtesy, according to which city councils should vote for projects in the community of another city council, no matter what. Those who don’t are often rejected by other board members.
With that in mind, Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, last month changed one of her own abatement bills, downgrading the 10-year tax rebate for a $ 900,000 office rehab from 90% to 50%.
“It’s very symbolic, but it shows the fact that I’m committed to making us think a lot more about the taxes that are being taken away from the school district,” she said.
Developer, Jassen Johnson, who has been redeveloping the Midtown Corridor with rehab for years, said he understood the school debate and did not want to be “greedy.” But he said SLDC has come a long way with its rating system. “It’s not just hearsay from a developer,” said Johnson. “There is real data behind it.”