Richmond Heights officials may agree to funding plan for apartment project

It appears, from the agenda for the upcoming council meeting, that Richmond Heights city officials may be willing to work with developer Joseph Cyr who has asked for tax abatement for his planned apartment complex at Dale Avenue and Boland Place.

At the February 22 Richmond Heights council meeting, city officials gave Cyr a six-month extension to break ground on his planned apartment complex. Later in the meeting, in closed session, Cyr told the council he needed tax abatement to make it possible.

One of the items in the city manager’s report for the March 6 meeting is: “Preliminary Funding Agreement – between P & M Holdings, LLC – for Residences at Boland Place.” See the full 3-6-17 council agenda.

Demolition has begun on the site.

City Manager Any Hamilton is also scheduled to give an update on the Joint Fire Command Staff cooperative study.

Under the plan proposed last year, the fire departments of Brentwood, Clayton, Maplewood, Richmond Heights and Rock Hill would each have their own fire departments and fire stations, but would share a joint fire command staff structure.

22 thoughts on “Richmond Heights officials may agree to funding plan for apartment project

  1. T.I.F.’s usually defer taxes. Boland’s just sets a 10 year cap ( of which the school district approves) on their annual tax liability to amortize the loan. Were you aware that this site is a environmental nightmare? The costs of lead & asbestos disposal makes in-fill housing economically unfeasible. Cyr’s plans can absorb them.

    It appears to be a win/win – a tax exempt property is going to fatten RH’s coffers, an eyesore & environmental hazard will be eliminated &, because of RH’s graciousness, we’ll have a new neighbor who will/want to be an asset.

  2. TIF should be tied in some way to the value of the townhome and a shady developer should not be getting a gov’t handout to build high-end luxury units that the local elderly who desperately need housing options cannot afford. This would do nothing to help residents of the city. If these were targeted for a more affordable local tenant I could maybe see some TIF bridging his need to invest in the project.

  3. Here is the comments I sent to Mayor Thomson. I am obviously in favor of this development and believe it is a good thing for the City of Richmond Heights.

    Jim: First of all, sincere thanks to you and all of our Council Members for your service to the City of Richmond Heights. I have been learning more and thinking about the recent request for a cap on property taxes, made by Joseph Cyr. I am not personal friends with Mr. Cyr, have no involvement in this development, am just a citizen who wants what is best for Richmond Heights. The first question that I ask myself (cynical as I can be sometimes) was; OK, is this just a well-orchestrated ploy by another developer only out for their own best interest? I had heard some of the details but then decided to actually call Joe because I wanted to hear for myself and get a good read on this request. My personal take on this, for what it is worth to you, is yes of course he is trying to do what is in his best interest. But I also believe that in putting a development like this together, that is financially sustainable for a long long time, that we must work as a partner with these developers, that we carefully chose, in order to make all developments of this magnitude good for our city, thinking well beyond 10 years as well. A cap like this where the city can receive $2,760,000.00 over 10 years, with reasonable assessed increases every other year paid out after 10 years, certainly looks to be a fair deal overall for the City of Richmond Heights, in my opinion. Maybe I am too simple minded, but what are we presently making on this property and if nothing happens for say another 3 years, how long will it take to make up that $828,000.00? If someone wanted to build condos on this property again, could that bring in more to our city? I don’t think so. Also, if city leadership truly envisions Dale Ave as our “main street” in the future, which I personally love the thought of, this first class development simply cannot be undervalued. I shudder at the thought of this property sitting as is for even one more year and believe we are still moving in the right direction for the overall betterment of our City if you decide to accept this request. Thanks again for all your time and effort. Jeff

  4. Although to some, their homes are just ‘real estate,’ to others who live here, are paid to serve us, & who donate their uncompensated time/energy & graciously tolerate our foibles, Richmond Heights is our community & we value it!

    The Mayor & City Council members are our neighbors; they share & try to represent our values & interests. Not the land speculators or ‘on the take’

    Some in the region struggle to scrape together resources that produce jobs & needed services; past practices are due for scrutiny & being questioned. Also, areas from which some fled to the suburbs are now targeted for gentrification.

    After reading that Cyr ‘needed’ a T.I.F., I wondered why? Although the site is an eyesore to some, its assets are obvious.

    The St.Louis area’s current problems are legacies of past public policies.

  5. Let me get this straight,the property has been sitting there over 14 years with NO taxes being paid. Before that, the school & church payed NO taxes. I think the school was built in 1943. So no taxes for over 74 + years !! I love your comment about the MRH school Board. This group has NEVER paid taxes on this property. Now you are worried about tax money? The church and small house on the South side paid ‘O’ in taxes. What is the big deal? If you say this is a great place to build something, how come nobody came to your city with a Great Plan? Face it, you just don’t want anybody or anything to be built in your little area. This is great for you but what about the other 14000 residents in your city? I have been told a lot of older residents in your city are looking for this type of housing. It is time to stop looking out for “me, me, me” and think of your city and ALL of the residents who pay taxes and live there. I have been told if you don’t like what is going on, MOVE! I leave you with one last word ‘BYE, BYE.

    • Harold what are you talking about? I have always wanted something to be built on this site and if you try to say otherwise you’re lying. Do I want this? NO! Something there or not my home values have and will continue to rise which is why we don’t need to hand out free money. This is a classic bait and switch, we were told that this type of tax break would not be needed for this, now all of a sudden it is… So we should be giving tax break because this Developer lost his day job? Or are you saying we should be paying for someone’s clerical mistakes? Either way I don’t think so.

      Who exactly are the older folks you are referring to? I have been told by many of those folks that the asking rents for this building are way overpriced for most in that bracket. You’re full of it sir!

      Just so you know, “Bye, Bye” is two words “bye-bye” is what you’re looking for. Try breathing through your nose buddy.

      • Well, well Mr. Bolden, you being a short time resident of that area should have known when you moved in, the For Sale signs were up. They have been up over 6 + years. As for what happens to this area will happen with or with out your blessing. I do not see Richmond Heights just leaving this area the way it is because you don’t like it. I have an idea, why don’t you and all the others who don’t care for this development put your money where your mouth is. Just put together 10 to 20 million dollars and build a park or whatever you want. Problem solved!! As for the older residents of Richmond Heights, when I
        attended functions at The Heights for the seniors, I find a large amount of interest in the building of housing without yards, repairs, etc. As I said before,” BYE, BYE”, my spelling, Mr. Bolden ! By the way, my name is not buddy. If it were, that would be a capital ‘ B ‘ not a small b.

        • Harold my use of buddy (lowercase b) as a noun was appropriate as I mentioned your name at the beginning of my reply. When we had numerous council meetings over this development many of the people in attendance were older and expressed dismay that some of the units in this building would not be earmarked for Senior specific pricing. The rates being presented were viewed by almost all in attendance as being too high for Seniors or those on fixed incomes. I don’t recall seeing you there at any of those meetings Mr. Stamp so I know you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          By the way Harold… If I was solely concerned about myself I would want them to push this through immediately. It would ensure me a much higher selling price for my home. However you don’t know me so don’t presume to know my motivations. The fact is that this building’s fortunes may not go the way that has been sold to the public. It’s size alone could make that a disastrous possibility for the area. I actually care about my neighbors and while I could make out like a bandit there are good people in this area that could take a real hit and be hurt by this. I don’t want that for them and if you were a decent human being you wouldn’t either.

          Responding to you and your “creative” spelling past this point isn’t worth my time Harold. Keep breathing through your mouth buddy.

        • David B. personally I think a townhouse concept would be a much better use for this land. It would allow for more density, more families, and fit in better aesthetically with an area of smaller single family homes. Ironically Clayton residents have rejected a plan for the old Maryland school site that conceptually would be ideal for Boland. Of course it wouldn’t be the same thing but something like that would be an awesome fit for the area.

          • Using google earth to measure, I estimated that you could build 5 blocks of town homes (15- 20 homes). If the average market value for each home was $275,000 (collectively $5.5MM for 20 homes) the total amount of taxes the city would gain yearly is around $70,000.
            For the city to collect a similar tax amount of $276,000 as the current project, the collective appraised value of all those town homes would need to be $16MM (market value may be closer to $21MM). That would take in the ballpark of 75 town homes to be built.
            Also it is worth noting that a 3 bedroom town home is much more likely to contribute kids to the school system than a 2 bedroom high end apartment geared toward young professionals or empty nesters looking to downsize.

          • Good analysis Joe S. Just an FYI the townhomes on Linden start at $400k. Townhomes on Boland could easily fetch $275 – $350k if the development is high quality. Single family homes across the street range in value from $235 to over $500k. The appreciation of the townhomes would also be on par with that of the single family homes. You have to factor in that this would raise home values for the entire area on both sides of the highway.

            This “high tide rising” effect for everyone could become the catalyst for what Richmond Heights needs way more than an apartment building or a townhome development. It needs a major revitalization of the single family housing stock, badly. Perfect example, there was one bedroom home behind us on Lovella that had a lot that could easily sustain a larger home and one is being built there right now. It’s awesome! There is potential to do in many spots all across the city.

            I have many critics but my viewpoint has always been trying to look at the greater long term benefits for the City and my neighbors. I will always contend that a massive apartment complex is just a shot in the arm and could take things in the wrong direction for the City over the long term. I get tired of people who get so caught up in the sales pitch they never bother to acknowledge the pitfalls.

    • Harold, You’ve ‘got the wrong end of the stick!’ The developer plans ‘concierge units'( i.e. luxury ) housing. Which older residents?
      Now, the developer claims to ‘need’ T.I.F. – IOW – exemption from paying taxes!

      • Dear Mrs. Evans,
        Please get your facts straight before you post. There are No TIF funds being used in this project! I can fine no talk of using are asking for TIF. The use of 353 funds TIF for this type of project would bring in NO sale tax money therefore no way to pay it back. I say just let it stay there. Who will pay for the Fire / Police Public Health etc cost ? YOU will !! Their are some who would like to see townhouse. With the talk of The Heights moving East with more parking area who would pay 400K + for a townhome overlooking a Soccer field and parking lots? I know what some would like to see it but they need to be ready for what is going to be built. What’s with this group of NIMBY in RH. If this was going on your street of Collins I would say no way. To small of lots, street to small ( one way) for starters. If you and ALL the residents are willing to give up your ” only ” green space, playground, tennis courts etc, go for it. From all the people I have talked to, this is the only project that will fit and keep the cost down. Keep up your fight as long as you can. This will just make the outcome harder to take. As I said before, I have talked to older residents who are ready to move. As for the other apartments that’s the developers problem. He will have no problem fulling them.

  6. The work done for the fencing on the Boland site is window dressing and a pressure tactic from the Developer to try to push through the Tax Abatement. From what I am hearing there still has not been and demolition or construction permits applied for. This is more grandstanding from a very sketchy character. The City is right to want something built on this site but where it failed was with it’s choice of project. It’s time to acknowledge this, correct the mistake, and move forward with someone better suited.

    Richmond Heights property values are doing just fine and have been increasing consistently for the last few years. We are not beggars at the table and we don’t need to give folks like Cyr our tax revenue. We can do better. We deserve better.

  7. For one this project is not right for the area and should never have progressed this far. Now the developer is turning the screws for his gov’t handout. Too bad we are going to now destroy another piece of the neighborhood with uncontrolled development. Just wait til the new hotel down the street is built – you’ll have so much traffic that can’t walk your dog down Dale without fear of getting run over….

  8. Is a TIF and tax abatement the same thing? Because the article mentions tax abatement but the comments here (and the previous story) refer to TIFs.

    • No, they are not the same. Tax abatement is the tool used by cities which freeze the tax level on a property for a period of time, typically around 10 years, as long as certain criteria are met put forth by the city.
      Tax increment financing (TIF) sets a baseline cost of a property and is generally assigned to multiple neighboring properties. As each TIF property is developed and property value increases, the taxes will increase and the developer continues to pay a higher tax rate.

      This project is requested a tax abatement which would cap their taxes at $276,000 per year for 10 years.

  9. How much tax does a church pay ? How much tax does a school ( public) pay? Now, how much in PP tax will the residents of this new apartment pay (100%)! How much utility tax will the new residents pay ? What about the increase in population ( extra state money) ? What about the extra Federal money due to population ? This is a win, win for the city of Richmond Heights !! Upscale housing, more residents and more money for our local businesses. Way to go RH, I know a lot of other cities would jump at this project. Don’t let a few stick in the mud stop this. I think there is to be a small park area also on the north side. Sounds better already.

  10. There is no doubt the council will approve TIF. The developer has already begun work. So much for looking like they needed the approval to proceed.

  11. I sure hope that this is on the MRH Board’s radar because this proposed tax abatement needs to be seriously dissected. Richmond Height’s City Council has proven to be unresponsive to citizen concerns over this development. Hopefully they will at least be willing hear the school board’s out.