Ellisville Shoots Down Second Proposal from Walmart Developer
The city council said they are in agreement with a recommendation from the Economic Development Commission to pass, for now, on the plan for a 13-acre, $30 million complex of shops and restaurants from the Sansone Group.
The prospect of a fight over a second effort at tax-supported development in Ellisville has been postponed for the moment, following a consensus on the city council to pass on a second proposal from the developer behind a controversial Walmart project.
The plan from Sansone called for 92,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants at the southwest corner of Manchester and Kiefer Creek, according to a report from Fox 2, and adjacent to the future Walmart. The cost was estimated at $30 million, at least $10 million of which would be paid for by public financing.
The city's economic development commission reviewed the Ellisville Town Center Project on Monday and Wednesday the Ellisville City Council agreed with their recommendation to pass on it, for the moment, in hopes of receiving additional proposals for re-developing the area.
"It sounds like it is the general consensus from the council is that we are not going to act on this proposal from Sansone and it will go, I guess, in the garbage," said councilman Matt Pirrello, who is serving as acting mayor.
However, Pirrello continued to say that the company could re-submit it later down the road, after the city formally sends out another call to re-develop the area, known as RPA-2.
The move comes against the backdrop of two fast-approaching events – municipal elections on April 2 that could shift the balance of power and an impeachment trial against Mayor Adam Paul, who was elected last year on a strident anti-Walmart, anti-tax-increment financing platform.
His supporters have packed recent city council meetings and railed against the council, alleging that Paul is being ousted because of his stance on the controversial development.
However, this time it was council members such as Pirrello, who previously voted in favor of a TIF for the Walmart development, that spoke against its use in explaining why they were passing on Sansone's proposal.
"At this point, I don't think a TIF would be right in that location, for any reason," he said.
The move came as a surprise to residents such as Liz Schmidt. Schmidt has been at the forefront of much of the public opposition to the Walmart and staunch supporter of Paul.
"I am relieved," she said after the meeting. "I hope they realize a TIF isn't right for any development."
In addition to the resistance against public financing, FOX 2 reported that the commission members expressed a desire to see something that involved more than just “shops and restaurants.”