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Brody Corners project to be reintroduced to City Council

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The proposed Brody Corners development will be back on the Springfield City Council agenda later this month following approval by the Tax Increment Financing Commission yesterday afternoon.

The project is unchanged from when it was originally scheduled to go before council Dec. 13 but was withdrawn by developers from the agenda.

Brody Corners is a proposed as a retail, restaurant and office development at the intersection of Sunshine Street and James River Freeway. The site where the development is proposed is blighted, with a polluted sewage lagoon that is impacting groundwater, according to Councilperson Mike Schilling, the original sponsor of the council bill. The project includes the cleanup of the property by the developer.

The measure was pulled from the Dec. 13 agenda because a Springfield resident filed a complaint with the Missouri attorney general’s office. That resident, Linda Simkins, claimed the city did not post a public meeting notice for a Nov. 15 hearing by the TIF Commission. City officials denied that claim, stating, “After reviewing the facts, the Sunshine Law was satisfied as it pertained to the Brody Corners TIF project. Notice of the hearing regarding the Brody Corners matter satisfied the statutory requirements and was properly made.”

Simkins said she never heard back from the attorney general’s office about her complaint.

Schilling said he pulled the bill from the Dec. 13 council agenda at the request of the developer.

“Apparently, they just want to make sure that they didn’t get disrupted,” Schilling told Springfield Business Journal.

At a special Dec. 6 meeting of council, when the Brody Corners TIF was first introduced, Schilling criticized city staff for not apprising council of the extent of the pollution and blight at the property in question before council approved annexation of the land in June.

“If I knew back in annexation time what I saw in this byzantine 201-page report that included a blight study, I never would have voted for annexation,” he said during the Dec. 6 meeting. “It’s a hellish mess out there. I don’t know why we took this pig in a poke anyway.”

Schilling said he had toured the property and seen where people had dumped mattresses, tires and shingles.

The property once was the site of a trailer park, and several cracked and damaged concrete footers remain in place. The land was owned by the now-defunct RLB Properties LLC.

Schilling said it was a shame that the city or future developers would be saddled with the work and expense of cleanup.

At present, the property is generating no sales tax. The TIF may capture up to 100% of the incremental increase in real property tax through payments in lieu of taxes and 50% of the incremental increase in sales and utility taxes, according to a presentation by city staff to the TIF Commission.

The property passes the city’s “but for” test, meaning the redevelopment area would not reasonably be anticipated to be developed without adoption of tax increment financing,” according to the city’s presentation for the TIF Commission.

The proposed TIF would have a 23-year limit.

The 28-acre site was rezoned in 2021 to highway commercial district to accommodate commercial development.

Anticipated uses include retail, nationally franchised quick-service restaurants, office space and service industry locations. It is expected to provide shopping amenities and dining options while supporting the local economy, the city presentation states.

The site includes an existing wastewater treatment facility that has not been removed or remediated as required by court order, and it is leaking into a sinkhole and contaminating groundwater. Contaminants have been found in nearby wells and drinking water, according to the presentation.

City staff describe the situation as a menace to public health and welfare.

The project’s cost is $27 million. According to the plan, the developer will provide all funding necessary to implement the redevelopment project, using a mix of cash and financing. TIF and CID revenues will reimburse public improvements, up to $3.4 million.

The city projects tax revenues at the site to reach $8 million, including sales tax, over 23 years with development, but only $288,000 of property-based taxes without development.

The benefit to the city of Springfield is estimated at $1.6 million, with $1.9 million going to Greene County, $216,000 to the Republic school district, $13,000 to the Springfield-Greene County Library District and $10,000 to Ozarks Technical Community College.

The proposed developer is West Sunshine Development LLC, owned by Mike Seitz.

The Feb. 22 meeting, when the TIF will be reintroduced, is scheduled for a Tuesday because of the Presidents Day holiday.

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