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The conditional use permits issued for a proposed new Walmart in Ellisville are set to expire Thursday, and the fate of the project remains unclear.
Developer Sansone won a major court challenge to the $50 million project last week, but still has acquired only about eight acres of land and that doesn't include the Clarkchester Apartments. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that contracts Sansone had with some of the complex's nine owners expired in July, and at least two have declined to renew.
The city issued a building permit Wednesday and Public Works Director Bill Schwer told the paper Sansone could break ground Thursday on the property it does own.
But at Wednesday night's city council meeting, Mayor Adam Paul asked City Attorney George Restovich to find out if the city could legally terminate its agreement with Sansone which includes $10 million in tax increment financing approved last year, before half the council was replaced in the last election.
Also Wednesday night, the City Council voted 4-3 to have Restovich draft a resolution terminating long-time City Manager Kevin Bookout, a proponent of the project. Bookout was also involved in the attempt to oust Mayor Paul earlier this year, but Paul says Bookout's termination isn't about revenge.
One more obstacle to the proposed Ellisville Walmart is out of the way. An appeals court has sided with the developer after a resident had sued the city for issuing a conditional use permit to for construction of the 155,000 square foot retail store.
Thomas DeBold had sued claimed that city officials had ignored resident's concerns and that the Walmart will negatively impact traffic, overtax utilities and city services. Circuit Court Judge David Lee Vincent had sided with the city, and the appeals court upheld Vincent's ruling.
But it may be too little too late, since the permit expires September 5th and the Ellisville City Council last week declined to extend it.
The development of a new Walmart in Ellisville will move forward despite the developer's failure to win a permit extension from the city council.
Walmart’s director of public affairs Chris Neeley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the extension was sought to give the builders breathing room, but that the company will continue to work to see the project through.
The Ellisville City Council voted 3-3 Wednesday night to deny Sansone Group's request for a 180 day extension of a conditional use permit for construction of the project.
The Post reports that Mayor Adam Paul, whose campaign for office was based on his opposition the tax-supported project, and Aldermen Linda Reel and Mick Cahill rejected the request.
Aldermen Matt Pirrello, Cindy Pool and Roz Acup backed the extension.
Alderman Gary Voss was absent.
Some Crestwood residents say city leaders are dragging their feet on a plan to redevelop the shuttered Crestwood Plaza. Dozens of people marched from the old mall to City Hall Tuesday to express their concern.
Developer Centrum Properties wants to turn the site into an entertainment center with a movie theater, bowling alley, restaurants and retail stores. But their plan calls for $22 million in taxpayer subsidies -- a figure Crestwood Mayor Jeff Schlink says he and many aldermen are not "comfortable" with.
"If we're going to grant and issue those tax breaks for them," Schlink said, "they're going to have to be done on terms that we feel are reasonable for the city."
Centrum officials say if they can't work things out, they may have to sell the land one parcel at a time.
Despite opposition from reinstated Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul, tax breaks for a proposed Walmart development are moving forward, albeit slowly. The City Council voted 4-3 Wednesday night to authorize TIFs for project developer Sansone Group.
The vote came after Jim Sansone and Mayor Paul exchanged heated words during the packed meeting. Sansone promised court action if the council reversed their 2012 approval of the development. Paul acknowledged his continued opposition, but also recognized that the council majority would rule.
A second vote is needed to finalized the bill. That's expected to happen at a special council meeting later this month.