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Court OKs condemning University City properties in footprint of $190M development

The buildings stand in the way of plans to develop a mix of retail anchored by a Costco store, apartments, offices and potentially a hotel
Credit: SLBJ
University City Hall

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — St. Louis County Circuit Court has approved University City's request to condemn seven commercial properties in the footprint of Novus Development's nearly $190 million project on Olive Boulevard.

The order of condemnation, issued last week by Judge Ellen Ribaudo, means Novus can acquire the properties for what was described as "just compensation."

The buildings stand in the way of Webster Groves-based Novus' plans to develop a mix of retail anchored by a Costco store, apartments, offices and potentially a hotel at Olive and Interstate 170.

Efforts to negotiate a deal to acquire the properties outside of court fizzled earlier this year, and city officials, who approved $70.5 million in tax increment financing for the project last year, said in May they would take the issue to court to condemn and "decide the fair market value of the properties." The judge's order, however, does not include any specific valuations nor does it define "just compensation."

Gregory Rose, city manager for University City, said in an emailed statement Wednesday that the city remains committed to the Novus project, and that "having an independent body such as the court involved in the condemnation process for these specific commercial properties will help ensure that a resolution can be found that is fair to the property owner and the city."

The four properties, including their assessed value from St. Louis County, the companies that own them and their attorneys, include:

  • 8689 and 8691 Olive Blvd.: Assessed at $3.2 million and $1.9 million, respectively; owned by SSC Acquisitions; represented by Paul Henry of Denlow & Henry
  • 8612 and 8630 Olive Blvd.: Assessed at $2.7 million and $1.2 million, respectively; owned by Tsai's Investment; represented by J. Vincent Keady of Stinson
  • 8671, 8675 and 8673 Olive Blvd.: Assessed at $865,500, $652,700 and $167,300, respectively; owned by Wallace McNeil; represented by Skip Dufour

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