Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sources and Uses

Everyone would agree that the proposed NorthSide project is a project of scale. "Getting to scale" is development terminology for having impact. It takes a lot of small projects to get to scale. Larger projects have the potential to drive change at a faster rate.

The public is getting its first look at the proposed development budget for the Northside project. Here are the numbers as provided in the original TIF application (link)

Every project gets down to the numbers. The numbers make or break any project. Sources must equal uses. If not, the project is financially infeasible. The developer's budget, as described in the TIF application and shown below, balances sources and uses.

Sources of Funds

Debt - $6,043,621,986
Equity - $1,686,440,886
Distressed Area Land Assemblage - $83,600,000
Brownfield Tax Credits - $25,666,039
Historic Tax Credits - $149,700,000
Other Incentives - $69,133,737

Total Sources - $8,058,162,648

Uses of Funds

Studies and Professional Services - $1,343,027,108
Property Acquisition and Relocation - $174,900,000
Site Improvement Costs - $998,800,000
Building Rehabilitation Costs - $299,400,000
New Building Costs $3,733,800,000
Civic Capital Costs $161,500,000
Financing Costs $1,011,164,184
Contingency - $335,571,355

Total Uses - $8,058,162,648

Revenue and Expenses

Looking at the NorthSide budget from a revenue and expense standpoint, projected profits are shown.

Total revenue - $8,309,493,543
Total expenses - $8,058,162,648
Profit before TIF - $251,330,895

TIF funding is necessary in order to increase the profit on the project into an industry standard range.

Profit before TIF - $251,330,895 (3.12% of project cost - better to put money in the bank)

TIF - $409,917,496

Net Profit After TIF - $661,248,391 (8.21% of project cost - within industry standard)

Nothing on the cost side of this budget stands out as particularly unusual. The numbers are big, but percentage wise, all of the costs appear to be proportionate to the scale of the project. Adding the $410 million TIF, the project return on cost is 8.21%, which is typical for real estate developments.

What is noteworthy about the budget are the numbers on the sources of funds side of the budget. Adding the $410 million TIF brings the public financing total to $738 million, or 9% of the total development cost.

Looking at it another way, the project generates just under $11 in private investment for every $1 in public financing. That is leveraging on a huge scale.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Community Involvement

The Post Dispatch cites "accountability" as one of the three main elements for guiding the Northside plan to success.

To date, the public has been largely outside of the process. McEagle has apologized for the secrecy surrounding the project for the past five years, but explains it was necessary in order to be able to purchase the land without driving up prices.

Moving forward, what role should the public have in the project? How does the public build in accountability standards and performance measures?

At the community presentation, part of the plan includes the formation of a self-appointed community foundation purposed with raising money and overseeing certain aspects of the planned revitalization.

What are your impressions and concerns regarding the role of the public in the Northside project, and what types of community involvement do you believe would help increase overall support for the plan?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Maintenance of Blairmont sites

One of the greatest concerns to date regarding McEagle's efforts in North City has been the care and maintenance of its holdings. Through various entities, McEagle has acquired hundreds of parcels both inside and outside of the proposed NorthSide project area.

Parcels include vacant lots and improved sites. Improved sites often include buildings in deteriorated condition. Vacant buildings have been subject to vandalism, brick theft, and possibly arson.

While these sites are vacant and many targeted for reuse, they are also within the context of existing neighborhoods and near the homes of neighborhood residents. Locals are rightfully concerned with how these properties will be maintained until they are set for redevelopment.

Preservation of historic buildings is high on the list of current area residents and others concerned about the planned NorthSide development. How would you rate the issue of overall site maintenance and preservation of historic buildings, and what recommendations would you suggest to the developers of NorthSide?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

PD editorial board suggests keys to NorthSide success

Public investment, private investment, and accountability. Paper calls for regional and state support.

NorthSide - Scale and Phasing

The NorthSide project is big. It is the largest community revitalization effort ever attempted in St. Louis history. In terms of property holdings, including city owned vacant lots and buildings, the project encompasses approximately 2,000 parcels and 500 acres. Given its size, issues of scale and phasing are signficant.

The major land uses of the project include four job creation centers and substantial new housing development. The other key components are infrastructure and utility replacement, and stabilization and rehab of historic properties.

Given the high costs, market realities, and overall project goals, what opportunties and concerns do you have re. the project's scale and phasing?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

NorthSide as Sustainable, "Green" Development

Besides promising $5 billion in planned investments, bringing 43,000 construction jobs, 20,000 permanent jobs and 10,000 new homes, NorthSide is promising to be "sustainable" and "green", both best practices by current development standards.

Green features proposed include a local energy grid, geothermal heating and cooling, public transit improvements, and much more. Plans for sustainability start with a jobs/housing balance within the project boundary.

Taking a severely depressed area of North City and renewing it as a model sustainable, green community has obvious appeal. However to get there, much will need to change. All new sewers will be built, and there will be limited use of eminent domain to assemble sites for job creation. A local taxing district would likely be established to fund community services within the redevelopment area.

For NorthSide to be a leader in green and sustainable community revitalization, what kinds of things would you like to see as part of the plan?

Friday, May 22, 2009

For starters - how do you like the name?

McEagle has named his plans for north city, "NorthSide". What do you think of the name?

At the local level, "NorthSide" is a source of pride. It's a place name attached very specifically to North St. Louis city.

However, at the regional level, the term "north side" does not have universally positive appeal.

For years, North St. Louis has been viewed by many as a heavily segregated, low income, high crime area.

Some people around St. Louis have been heard making statements such as, "I would never go to the north side".

Given the regional scope of the project, what do you think of the name "NorthSide" proposed for this project?

NorthSide Blog

STL Rising has started a companion blog to focus on the proposed "NorthSide" project in the City of St. Louis. NorthSide is a proposed $5.3 billion dollar redevelopment of the city's near north side, located in the 5th, 19th, 6th, and 3rd wards.

The project was officially presented to the general public last evening for the first time. Approximately 300 people attended a meeting where Paul McKee, Jr, and his consultant team described their plans for the roughly 500 acre area.

At this stage, the project is more a vision than a plan. This month, the developers plan to submit a formal proposal to St. Louis Development Corporation with more details, including a tax increment financing proposal.