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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Council hears plans for I-44 shopping center

  • It will take awhile, but a trio of St. Louis developers has plans to turn 154 acres of barren land next to the junction of Interstate 44 and Kingshighway into a regional retail center.
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  • It will take awhile, but a trio of St. Louis developers has plans to turn 154 acres of barren land next to the junction of Interstate 44 and Kingshighway into a regional retail center.
    “Westside Marketplace” is the name chosen for the proposed shopping center by the three men who have formed UTW Rolla Development LLC.
    The project will cost an estimated $92 million, and taxpayers will help with that investment through tax increment financing similar to that used in the development of the Kohl’s property. In addition, a transportation taxing district would also be used to pay for necessary infrastructure improvements.
    The Rolla City Council Monday listened to the developer’s proposal given by Alan Bornstein, president of UTW Realty LLC. Council members asked some questions and returned to Rolla City Hall Tuesday night for a workshop session to talk about the proposal.
    No action was taken on a resolution to accept the UTW plan; that could happen at the May 5 city council meeting.
    In fact, it will likely happen, for the mood of the council at the meeting and the workshop indicated that the council members will approve the plan that they see as the proverbial “win-win” situation with no real drawbacks other than a lot of time-consuming preliminary work. Even the expenses for that preparation will be paid for by an advance from UTW, City Administrator John Butz said.
    Talks with UTW began in late 2013, according to Butz’s commentary included in the agenda. At that time, city officials met with Mike Woessner, owner of Investment Realty and owner of the property, and UTW representatives to consider development of the 154 acres which are part of the Rolla West Development.
    On Jan. 8 of this year, the city received a formal letter of inquiry from UTW about development opportunities, and at the Jan. 21 meeting, the council authorized the formal solicitation of development proposals for the site.
    The city mailed notices to developers throughout the state and advertised in the Rolla Daily News and received a proposal from UTW Rolla Development LLC that “expressed the city’s willingness to consider public tax financing, if justified,” Butz wrote.
    Council passage of a resolution is required. It would establish UTW Rolla Development LLC as the project’s “preferred developer” and would authorize execution of a “preliminary funding agreement.” That agreement would be payment of $75,000 by UTW to the city to cover the city’s cost of drafting and reviewing a redevelopment plan, blighting study, cost-benefit analysis and related documents.
    “While the development proposal identifies the type of retailers that might be interested in this site, it is critical that the council and community understand those are just examples of retailers,” Butz wrote. “There are no committed retailers as there is no committed project at this point.”
    Page 2 of 6 - Speaking to the council, Bornstein explained that he and his partners focus on a select number of projects at any one time, usually three to five, seeing one to completion before beginning a new project. In addition, he said, the partners prefer portfolio developments, building and keeping them rather than building and selling to investors.
    Bornstein said the principals would like to have the resolution in place so they can take it to the International Council of Shopping Centers convention and annual meeting and begin getting at least preliminary interest from national retailers who might be interested in expanding to south central Missouri.
    “It is a long process,” he said.
    Bornstein said his partners are Jeffery P. Otto and E. Stanley Kroenke. Kroenke’s name is familiar to sports fans, for he is owner of several professional teams, including the St. Louis Rams.
    “You’ll see either myself or Jeff Otto” at future meetings, Bornstein said. “You won’t see Mr. Kroenke here,” although Kroenke will be “actively involved” in the Rolla project, Bornstein assured the council.
    The developer’s proposal indicates that retail businesses will dominate the center, but “complementary non-retail, commercial, hospitality and recreation use are anticipated.”
    “Although there will be a mix of retail, commercial and recreational uses, the development will be master-planned to provide a consistent and attractive identity through the use of a trademarked thematic design, hardscape and landscape features.”
    National retailers are who the developers will seek for the regional center. Prospective retailers include home improvement and hardware stores such as Menards; discount clubs such as Sam’s; sporting goods stores like Academy or Dick’s; grocery stores like Neighborhood Market or Schnucks; women’s stores like Ross Dress, Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx or Ulta, and hobby and crafts stores like Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabric or Michael’s.
    “These retailers would be complemented by other national, regional and local retailers and restaurants,” according to the proposal. “Other commercial uses include the possibility of a hotel, theater, professional office and medical uses. Recreational uses include active and passive park areas for athletic activities, hiking and outdoor music.”
    What will the city do about traffic?
    A master planned project like the proposed Westside Marketplace requires a comprehensive and well-designed vehicular and pedestrian road and path system. Access to the site would be served as follows:
    • Extension of the Kingshighway roundabout into the Westside Marketplace.
    • Extension of the Old Wire Outer Road north to a new signalized intersection at Nagogami Road.
    • Extension and expansion of Ridgeview Road (Highway 72) west to coordinate with Bridge School Road and Kingshighway.
    Page 3 of 6 - In addition to these and other changes to the road system, the developer plans to design and incorporate a comprehensive path and sidewalk program to promote and facilitate walking and biking to the site.
    This will be complemented by a circumference path and trail system around the development area to promote exercise, health and wellness. Trails will be marked with complementary exercise activities and include permanent structures to facilitate such activities. (Source: Developer’s Proposal for the Rolla Westside Development Project)
    What’s the timeline for Westside Marketplace?
    The Westside Marketplace project schedule is anticipated to be organized around the following activities and time schedule:
    Phase 1: Predevelopment, entitlement and the diligence period: April 2014 to April 2015. During this time period, the developer will undertake and complete the following activities: 1) site development due diligence and feasibility review, 2.) complete a redevelopment and intergovernmental agreement with the city and other parties, 3.) obtain site control over the redevelopment area properties, 4.) negotiate and complete primary retailer and other commercial user agreements; and 5.) enter into engineering and site construction agreements.
    In addition, and as part of the redevelopment process, it is expected that the city will create a regional transportation development district that will include the primary retail areas of the city along with the redevelopment area. It is anticipated that the regional transportation development district will complete a bond issue for regional road improvements prior to April 2015, including but not limited to the extension of Kingshighway roundabout, extension of the Old Wire Road and extension of Ridgeview Road.
    Phase 2: Land Acquisition-Site Development and Redevelopment Area Regional Road Work - May 2015 to May 2016: During the second phase of the project the developer will acquire the redevelopment area land, complete on-site and off-site development work and coordinate with the regional transportation development district for the construction and completion of the road improvements.
    Phase 3: Shopping Center Development - September 2015 to September 2016: During the third phase of the project, the developer will: 1.) construct the Westside Marketplace Shopping Center and related structures, 2.) market and lease the non-anchor shopping center space and 3.) complete the issuance of tax increment financing bonds.
    4. Phase 4: Rolla West Marketplace Opening and Ancillary Activities - September 2016 to September 2017: The developer anticipates the opening of the shopping center in late summer/early fall of 2016. During the year following the opening of the shopping center, the developer will 1.) complete site-related work, 2.) continue leasing and stabilization activities and 3.) undertake the development of non-retail commercial uses. (Source: Developer’s Proposal for the Rolla Westside Development Project)
    Who’s behind the proposal?
    The principal representatives of UTW Rolla Development LLC are E. Stanley Kroenke, Alan Bornstein and Jeff Otto. All three men are members of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Here are brief biographies of each man:
    Page 4 of 6 - E. Stanley Kroenke is chairman and owner of The Kroenke Group, a private real estate investment and development company with properties located throughout the United States and Canada, including more than 160 shopping centers of approximately 25 million square feet in more than 35 states. He is one of the largest ranch property owners in North America, along with ownership stakes in the Screaming Eagle and Jonata vineyards.
    Kroenke is also the owner of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, along with The Pepsi Center in Denver, and the following professional sports teams: Denver Nuggets (NBA), St. Louis Rams (NFL), Arsenal (EPL), Colorado Avalanche (NHL) and Colorado Rapids (MLS). He is the owner of Altitude Sports and Entertainment, a 24-hour regional television network.
    Kroenke’s current and former board and trustee memberships include Walmart Stores Inc., Central Bank Holding Company, Boone County National Bank, Community Investment Partnership of St. Louis, the College of the Ozarks and the Missouri Basketball Hall of Fame.
    He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri.
    Alan Bornstein is manager of UTW Rolla Development LLC. He has been actively engaged in the real estate industry since 1981, first as a lawyer and then as a developer since January 2000.
    He is president of UTW Realty LLC and is a partner in the Dentons law firm.
    His development activities have been concentrated in the area of retail shopping centers.
    He has a bachelor of science from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; a Juris Doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis and an LLM from New York University.
    Jeffrey P. Otto is a member of UTW Rolla Development LLC and has primary development responsibilities for the development of the shopping center.
    He began his real estate career with Forest City Enterprises in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a partner at the law firm of Husch and Eppenberger LLC where he practiced real estate law for more than 10 years, before resuming his real estate development career in 2005.
    Otto received a bachelor’s and professional degree in architecture from the University of Notre Dame and received his J.D. from St. Louis University. He is counsel to the Dentons law firm and is a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.
    (Source: Developer’s Proposal for the Rolla Westside Development Project)
    What other projects have they developed?
    Representative projects completed by the three principals of UTW Rolla Development LLC include the following:
    Maplewood Commons Shopping Center: This shopping center in the city of Maplewood, St. Louis County, is anchored by a Walmart SuperCenter, Sam’s Club Store and Lowe’s home improvement store. It also includes three restaurant “outparcels” and 20,000 square feet of small shops.
    Page 5 of 6 - Arnold Commons Shopping Center: This shopping center in Arnold is anchored by a Dierbergs Market and a Lowe’s home improvement store. In addition, the shopping center has six restaurant “outparcels” and 35,000 square feet of shops.
    Greenmount Commons Shopping Center: This shopping center in Belleville, Ill., is anchored by a  Walmart Supercenter and Lowe’s home improvement store. In addition, the center has five “outparcels” and 20,000 square feet of shops.
    Kroenke, Bornstein and Otto have completed other projects and are currently working on developments in Poplar Bluff and Fountain, Colo. All of these projects over the last 10 years have included complex economic incentive programs. They have also organized and completed three regional transportation development district programs.
    (Source: Developer’s Proposal for the Rolla Westside Development Project)
    What will it cost?
    A preliminary development budget for the project is as follows:
    Land acquisition, $5 million
    Building construction $50 million
    Infrastructure and Site Work, $20 million
    Professional Services, $5 million
    Other Costs, $2 million
    Financing Costs, $3.5 million
    Development Fees, $6.5 million
    Total: $92 million
    This is only a preliminary estimate and could vary significantly based upon the final development scope for the project.
    The sources of funding for the development project and related infrastructure are anticipated to be: 1.) developer debt and equity funding, 2.) third party funding, 3.) tax increment financing and 4.) the regional transportation development district. The allocation of funding sources will be determined during Phase 1 of the project development schedule.
    Attracting retail users to a marketplace has been increasingly competitive since the 2008-2009 recession. Although there is a retail development activity, it follows no predictable schedule and is typically completed only for the most opportunistic ventures. This is particularly true for micro-politan markets like Rolla.
    In addition, the development site, although desirable based upon its location and size, is likely to have extraordinary on-site and off-site infrastructure costs. These two factors, among others, are likely to contribute to a conclusion that the project cannot proceed but for the use of tax increment financing and a regional transportation development district. The actual determination of any particular need will be made as part of the due diligence review during Phase 1 of the development schedule.
    It is anticipated that if the project proceeds as proposed that it will provide substantial direct and indirect economic benefit. Depending upon the scope of the project and the composition of retail and non-retail occupants, economic project benefits could be within the following ranges:
    • Construction jobs: 300-500
    • Full-time equivalent positions: 350-600
    • Annual retail sales activity: $85 million to $135 million
    • Annual property tax receipts: $300,000 to $550,000
    (Source: Developer’s Proposal for the Rolla Westside Development Project)
    Page 6 of 6 - What other firms will be involved?
    UTW Rolla Development LLC will use companies on this project that the principals have used on other projects.
    Although the final composition of the development team may change, it is currently anticipated that the following companies and individuals will be part of the project:
    • Brinkmann Constructors, general contractor, represented by Bob Brinkmann and Brian Satterthwaite.
    • Stifel Nicolaus, bond underwriter, represented by Jim Lahay and John Klaus.
    •  L3 Corporation, leasing agent, represented by Ian Silberman and Jeff Britney.
    • Midwest Testing, geotechnical engineer, represented by Rich Laughlin and Dan Barczykowski.
    • Bernardin Lochmeuller & Associates, traffic engineers, represented by Doug Shatto.
    • Toky Design LLC, branding and marketing, representing by Eric Thoelke.
    (Source: Developer’s Proposal for the Rolla Westside Development Project)
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