Tax abatement for Brentwood apartments progresses

Brentwood officials on Tuesday night approved a resolution for city staff to work with Kansas City developer Gary Hassenflu on a financing deal for his apartment project on the northwest corner of Manchester and Hanley roads.

The proposed apartments

Hassenflu, who was at the meeting at city hall, is requesting 70 percent tax abatement on the proposed apartment building for 10 years. The resolution approved city staff to work with Hassenflu on a deal, then come back to the officials with an agreement for them to vote on.

A pedestrian bridge over Black Creek, on the west side of Hanley Road, is part of the deal if approved. The bridge was Alderman Steve Lochmoeller’s idea — as a way to compensate the city for the abatement, he said.

Hassenflu would donate land from his property (he hasn’t closed on it yet) for the bridge on his end. One sticking point is that there’s no guarantee the property owner on the other end will agree to it, Alderman Andy Leahy said.

Leahy also pointed out that the part of Hassenflu’s property the bridge would be built on, can’t be built on, according to MSD and the Missouri Department of Transportation — it’s in a flood plain. The apartment parking lot couldn’t be built there for that reason. Mayor Chris Thornton said he doesn’t know, but believes, that a bridge could be built.

Lochmoeller said if for any reason the bridge couldn’t be built, and isn’t part of the deal, then he would vote against it when it comes back to them.

Hassenflu said competing apartments, such as the new Manhassett apartments (called Evo) received assistance, and he needs it to make the project to work financially for him.

Resident, Louise Charboneau, who is running for mayor in April, said at the meeting that initially she was against the project for environmental reasons — it’s in a flood plain. She said she now opposes it for privacy reasons for the houses to the north, since it was increased to six stories tall, as well as traffic problems it will cause. She said the footbridge is logical, but not logical if the city has to pay for it.

Carl Karlen, a member of the Brentwood Architectural Review Board, called the proposed assistance “corporate welfare” and said it would be a net loss to the city. He said the apartments would fill up immediately with people wanting to use the Brentwood School District.

Another resident said two of Hassenflu’s projects have failed — Anderson Alternative School in Kansas City, and the Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs, AR. He said Brentwood would end up buying out Hassenflu after the apartment project fails. Neither Hassenflu or the officials addressed these projects.

Hassenflu had hired a firm to determine if the property should be blighted, which is needed for the tax abatement. If the city decides to do its own study, Hassenflu will pay for that, as well as all other costs in the process Thornton said.

Aldermen Leahy and Kathy O’Neill cast the only no votes. Alderman David Plufka was absent.

Gary Hassenflu presents to the Brentwood Board of Aldermen on Tuesday

11 thoughts on “Tax abatement for Brentwood apartments progresses

  1. Hasenflu sounds like a Stan Kroenke want to be. Just say no to corporate welfare.
    Additionally how can a piece of barren land be considered blighted? It not like the is an abandoned billing there. The property owners tore down the burger King that was there in order not to pay taxes on it. Now a new owner wants to continue not paying taxes on a brand new building.

  2. Say no to developers looking for tax abatements. They become part of a community when they build in the area; they need to start paying their fair share, like the rest of us do.

  3. This area FLOODS, a car was swept off of Hanley into the creek in 1979, the woman driving almost drowned. It will flood more now that there are more parking lots along the stream corridor.

  4. if they did not think they could make a profit they would not be in Brentwood trying to build. Why must we line there pockets with extra income – thanks Matt

  5. Good on you Carl Karlen! If Hassenflu can’t make this work financially on his own, then he can go find some other city to fleece. This is obvious rent-seeking.

  6. I actually referred to three failed projects. The third was our very own Lemp Brewery back in the early 2000’s.

  7. Yes, I can think of about 10 reasons to flush this deal, starting with the “developer” looking kinda sketchy. Why not show this guy the door, and put a little effort into doing something there other than plop a Borg cube onto it. And really, shouldn’t the re-designing and re-purposing of the intersection and surrounding area be done comprehensively? By that, I mean looking at all 4 corners at the same time, and hopefully having the results work together as a unit. Frederick Roofing has had a for sale sign in front of it for years. I don’t know what you’d call what’s on the NE corner, except ugly.

  8. Wake up Brentwood! This Hassenflu character has a horrible track record and wants to graze at the public trough to pay for this nutty project. Chris Thorton you need to man up and show this guy the door and protect the citizens of BW and MW from this thing becoming a reality…

  9. I like the thought going into how to make the intersection more friendly to people walking (and hopefully those in wheelchairs), but it sounds like an daunting task. There isn’t permission to build it from the two property owners. Plus, MSD and MODOT are both saying a bridge can’t be built. So it sounds like a poor plan to make a business agreement on these terms. Why does the Mayor think otherwise? It is time for St Louis County to start helping places like BW (at this intersection) and MW (at Manchester and Big Bend) come up with solutions these communities want and not for someone who just wants to pass through at excessive speeds.