UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – It's called the worst kept secret in University City: a developer wants to build a Costco near Olive and Interstate 170 as part of a redevelopment plan. The developer, Novus, wants $70 million in TIF money for the project and the city says it’s worth it. Mayor Terry Crow and City Manager Gregory Rose announced an updated plan on Monday.
“Our goal is for more people in St. Louis County and beyond to come to U-City to spend their tax money and that will allow us to shore up city services and public schools,” Mayor Crow said.
The city's agreement with Novus will be presented to the city council next Tuesday. It had to be reworked after accounting errors were found.
“It will enable and allow us to further diversify our local economy and will allow us to be less reliant on other cities for our revenue,” Rose said.
But University City resident Tom Sullivan believes the $70 million financing is a taxpayer rip-off.
“If the project was put to a vote, it would be overwhelmingly rejected by voters," he said.
But Mayor Crow said the new deal secures much-needed money for those north of Olive Boulevard.
“The city has asked for $15 million over 20 years to be used to work on infrastructure, housing needs, and safety for our citizens in the Third Ward,” he said.
Critics of the plan said a $70 million TIF costs too much and mortgages the city's future. But the city manager disagrees.
“We know 150 to 250 livable wage jobs would come to U-City as a result of the development,” Rose said.