As the River’s Edge expansion project continues to progress in the Wagner Industrial Park on the north side of the city, St. Clair’s aldermen passed a couple of resolutions during their latest meeting to help the project along.
The first resolution ratified and confirmed the performance agreement between the city and the parent company of River’s Edge, Wrob Co. LLC, as well as approved the closing documents for the deal. The second resolution approved an amendment to the engineering agreement with CM Archer Group.
The resolutions were passed unanimously.
“These just allow us to continue to move ahead with the project,” City Administrator Rick Childers said during the board’s second October meeting.
The Wrob Co. is owned by Pat Wrob. He also is the president of River’s Edge.
Crews began clearing land at 25 TLC Parkway in late September. The plan is for River’s Edge to build a 100,000-square-foot warehouse on a 12.5-acre parcel of land in the industrial park. The land was accessed when the Missouri Department of Transportation teamed with the city to relocate a portion of the Interstate 44 North Service Road. That project was completed earlier this year.
River’s Edge is the first business to take advantage of St. Clair’s newly formed Enhanced Enterprise Zone. The EEZ was approved by the state in June and actually extends well beyond the city limits. It includes Parkway Village as well as land on both sides of the Interstate 44 corridor from Gray Summit to Stanton.
An Enhanced Enterprise Zone is an economic development tool designed to assist communities that qualify. It is based on demographic criteria that includes U.S. Census data, unemployment and poverty statistics and the presence of blight. In order to qualify, the unemployment rate in the targeted area must be higher than county and state figures, and 60 percent of the median family incomes in the zone must be lower than 90 percent of the county and state average.
Grey Jackson, economic development incentive specialist for the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said during the application process that just slightly over 60 percent of those median family incomes in the proposed EEZ are lower than the 90 percent and that the unemployment rate in the area is 13.1 percent.
The zone works by supplying a tax abatement program for current businesses that want to expand or new businesses that want to relocate within the zone. The benefits apply only to those that qualify after the EEZ is established.
Language associated with the EEZ states that eligible facilities will receive a minimum property tax abatement of 50 percent for a minimum of 10 years. To qualify, the business must employ at least two new employees and spend a minimum of $100,000 in new investment for a new or expanding industry or $1 million for a replacement facility.
The local EEZ advisory board has established a maximum 80 percent abatement over 20 years.
Officially, Resolution 2013-15 states that “it is in the best interests of the city of St. Clair that it enter into a performance agreement” with the city’s Industrial Development Authority and the buyer of the land. It also describes the conditions of the agreement that coincide with the requirements of taking advantage of the EEZ.
Resolution 2013-16 amends the original agreement for preliminary engineering services with CM Archer Group dealing with providing water and sewer service to the new River’s Edge site through a Community Development Block Grant. Language states that the city will pay Archer a total not to exceed $26,819 for the preliminary engineering services agreed to earlier this year.
Earlier this year, River’s Edge Vice President Mark Mansfield gave the EEZ board a brief presentation on his company and what it plans to do with the relocation project.
“We’ve outgrown where we are,” he said. “We’ve been searching frantically to get everything under one roof. This opportunity came along and fits our needs.”
Currently, River’s Edge operates out of two facilities in Union and three in St. Clair, Mansfield said. Its home office is at 1 River’s Edge Court along North Commercial Avenue.
The expanded facility will provide several new jobs as required by the state to qualify for the EEZ tax abatements.