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Developer emerges in new bid to redevelop long-vacant Railway Exchange

The sites slated for redevelopment include the parking garage connected to the Railway Exchange building, a parking lot and three commercial buildings.
Credit: JEFF CURRY/SLBJ
The long-vacant Railway Exchange Building, downtown St. Louis' second-biggest office building.

ST. LOUIS — There's a new plan to redevelop the Railway Exchange building, one of downtown St. Louis' monster vacant structures.

A developer seeking to take the lead on the project would get public subsidies in a plan under consideration by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

The New York-based developer doesn’t want to reveal its name or plan right now, but will at a later date, said John Warren, the St. Louis-based Cushman & Wakefield real estate broker who represents the company.

St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar, who represents the area including the site, is sponsoring a bill for tax abatement for the Railway Exchange redevelopment area, which is bordered by Locust, North Sixth, Pine and North Seventh streets and encompasses the full city block taken up by the Railway Exchange building at 615 Olive St. He expects a hearing on the bill to be held in September.

The bill allows eminent domain of all properties in the redevelopment area except 622 Olive St., a building that's not part of the redevelopment plan.

But Coatar said the city does not plan to use eminent domain to forcibly take properties for the private redevelopment, merely to clear certain title issues.

The sites slated for redevelopment include the parking garage connected to the Railway Exchange building, a parking lot and three commercial buildings, including the former Charlie Gitto’s downtown restaurant, 207 N. Sixth St., Coatar said. Those owners would be given fair market value for their properties, according to the terms of the proposal.

City officials at the St. Louis Redevelopment Corp. have been working on details of the tax incentives and eminent domain for months, the alderman said.

Click here for the full story from the St. Louis Business Journal.

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