Proposal to redevelop West Park Mall moves closer to becoming reality

A large crowd showed up at the Osage Centre this afternoon to voice support and criticisms for a proposal to offer tax incentives to help pay for a plan
Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 12:36 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2023 at 10:23 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A proposal to revamp the West Park Mall is one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Wednesday afternoon, July 21, members of the city’s tax increment finance commission voted to recommend offering tax incentives to help pay for the more-than-$100-million project.

With a vote of eleven to one the group aiming to redevelop the West Park Mall gets a green light on their requested tax break.

Representatives from River City Centre pitched the plan during a public meeting at the Osage Centre.

TIF or Tax Increment Financing allows the use of a portion of property and sales taxes to help fund the redevelopment designated areas.

John Hanson explained how the TIF will help the mall’s redevelopment. and benefit Cape Girardeau.

“While we’re receiving a portion to reimburse the project, the city is receiving a million dollars in revenue,” Hanson said.

Which in thirty years he said it could bring in $80M in new tax revenue.

According to the group, funds from this tax break would make up less than 18% of the entire project and would create more than 1400 jobs.

But, that does have some business owners concerned.

“I run hotels, I run restaurants, you open up a new hospital, what do they need, house keepers, restaurant people, etc., every one of us, every one of us are looking for people,” said Dan Drury.

Tim Drury said, “We have spent, several of the Drury companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars, and I can tell you, we have asked for less than 5% of these incentives from the city.”

While two of the current businesses currently residing inside the mall are in support of this and appreciated the developers for wanting to help.

Carl Ritter, the owner of Kacie’s Cookies said, “What keeps me afloat? These guys willing to work with me on a lease, products go up, prices go up.”

The general manager of JCPenney’s in Cape Girardeau said, “I’ve been back in the store, and I’ve seen this group in my building a lot, reviewing every crook and cranny to save this building, which is in a great deal of disrepair.”

Owners of the mall say retailers are ready to move in, if the city council gives final approval to the proposal.

Representatives from River City Centre pitched the plan during a public meeting at the Osage Centre.

Lucas Haley said without tax incentives to give the mall a facelift, the future of the property is uncertain.

“We’re not looking at a scenario where we either maintain the status quo or do a redevelopment,” Haley said. “Quite frankly, the status quo does not exist. We already know that if the redevelopment doesn’t happen, we have several large national tenants that...their leases expire and they have communicated that if there is not a redevelopment at the property they won’t renew. They may leave our property and leave the community on top of that.”

Multiple people, including representatives from Drury Southwest, spoke out against the proposal.

Critics say while they’d like to see the mall revamped, the project doesn’t meet the requirements for the tax incentive the owners are asking for.