The St. Louis Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority has recommended tax abatement for a developer who wants to turn the Shell Building in Downtown West into a $43.2 million hotel.

The LCRA on Tuesday recommended Reimagine Hospitality of Little Rock, Arkansas, receive 10-year tax abatement based on 87% of the assessed value of the property at 1221 Locust St., which is currently $660,900.

The Board of Aldermen approves all requests for tax abatements, and it's not clear when Reimagine Hospitality's request could go before the board.

At the LCRA meeting, Kunal Mody of Reimagine Hospitality and the company's representative, Robb Preston of Spencer Fane, detailed plans to transform the site into a 191-room, dual-branded Home2 Suites/Tru by Hilton hotel with about 2,500 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Reimagine Hospitality has the 112,000-square-foot historic building, which is 80% vacant, under contract for roughly $5.1 million from RSDB LLC. Construction would start by spring 2020, officials said.

Nearly half of the $43.2 million project — some $20.8 million — would be funded by private debt. Reimagine Hospitality also plans to use $8.65 million in PACE financing, $2.25 million in equity, $5.36 million in federal historic tax credits and $6.2 million in state historic tax credits to fund the rest, though Mody said his firm is not relying on state credits to close on the property. Reimagine Hospitality plans to reduce its debt with the credits if approved, he added.

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