Friday, September 24, 2010

Lawyers talk settlement in Northside case, courtesy of St. Louis Business Journal

Developer Paul McKee Jr.

"Developer Paul McKee Jr.'s lawyer and most of the attorneys representing several north St. Louis residents who sued to block McKee's $8.1 billion Northside redevelopment are in settlement talks and could reach a deal in the next couple weeks.

But one of the residents’ lawyers, D.B. Amon, said he doesn’t agree with some of the ideas floated for the tentative agreement as it stands now because they lack substance and do not protect residents’ interests. "There is nothing put together that's deserving of being called an agreement," he said. "Basically, it's Northside wins, attorneys get paid and neighborhood gets screwed."

Amon also has demanded "judgment clarification" to determine on whether the residents who joined the suit later as intervenors won the case or whether just the original plaintiffs who filed the suit.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker Jr. said he'd consider Amon's motion and delayed arguments originally scheduled for Friday on McKee's request for a partial retrial until Oct. 14.

Dierker indicated that he will not approve any settlement if all the parties can't agree. "If the intervenors want to settle and the original plaintiffs do not, there's no way to sign off," he said.

Another lawyer for the residents, Eric Vickers, declined to disclose the details of the proposed deal he worked out with McKee's lawyer Paul Puricelli.

Puricelli said he was hopeful a "resolution can be reached before the 14th."

Amon said he would be willing to strike a deal with McKee and the city if they agreed to not use tax and regulation loopholes to remove people from their homes.

McKee had asked Dierker to reconsider his July ruling that McKee's project and its $390 million tax-increment financing package — the largest St. Louis City ever approved — lacked detail.

McKee wants to partner with homebuilders and other developers on the 1,500-acre proposal to build up to 4.5 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail space, 2,200 new single-family homes and 7,800 apartments on 1,500 acres in north St. Louis and west downtown over the next two decades.

McKee has said that the project can't go forward without the TIF package from the city.". Courtesy of St. Louis Business Journal.

Eric E. Vickers is an attorney and activist.

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