Advertisements

The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the month “February, 2018”

St. Patricks Center

I wanted to write today about the amazing work being accomplished by St. Patricks Center, the largest provider of homeless services in Missouri. I am privileged to offer some help as a volunteer to the organization.

St Patricks of course provides a men’s shelter and meals. More important they provide a whole network of social, housing, and supportive services to help end homelessness. They operate permanent housing communities and provide a whole range of supportive services. Their facility even provides a job incubator.

The Executive Director of St. Patricks Center is Laurie Phillips who is a remarkably talented and caring person. St. Louis is luckily to have this organization. Written by Paul Dribin

Advertisements

Greitens Effect on Affordable Housing

As everyone knows, Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri is in deep trouble after being indicted for violating a Missouri law by taping his semi nude lover without her consent. If Greitens should leave office, it would be positive for affordable housing. He almost solely stopped the Missouri State Affordable Housing Tax Credit. There does not appear to be the same enthusiasm for this elimination on the part of the Lieutenant Governor or many other Republican leaders. We will have to see what happens. Written by Paul Dribin

Desales Housing Newsletter

Please see the attached:

Monthly Newsletter – February 2018

NEW MANAGEMENT OFFICE OPENS IN U-CITY 

The newest Fox Grove Management site office is now open for business!  The new office, located at 554 Limit Ave, is located just off Delmar Blvd. in University City.  Appropriately enough, the opening of the “Limit Office” marks the first FGM site office located outside of St. Louis City limits.

The office opened in January and will be staffed by three Fox Grove employees.  With its nearby restaurants, shops, and proximity to tenants living nearby, Fox Grove staff are excited to be working in the Delmar Loop area.  “We look forward to better serving our residents near the Loop and providing a convienent location where residents can access our services” says Stan Presson, Director of Property Management for Fox Grove.

Stay tuned for news on the opening of another FGM site office soon, located in The Ville neighborhood.  This site office will primarily service Northside Community Housing’s upcoming St. Ferdinand Homes II project.

BRICK CITY MAKES UPDATE

Plans for Brick City Makes – The Hub for Growing Manufactures – are moving ahead.  DeSales is partnering on the project with non-profit St. Louis Makes, which will provide business development services to tenants of the 5-story, 89,000 square foot building at 2528 Texas. in Fox Park.  Brick City Makes will feature private production suites and shred workshop spaces, interior parking, all-new building systems and conference facilities.  Renovation work on the $12 million project is expected to start by mid-year.

Desales Office Under Construction

The DeSales office at 2759 Russell Blvd is undergoing an exciting renovation!  In addition to making our building more

Regional Chamber Again

Donnybrook tonight had a good discussion about the dismissal of Joe Regan as President of the Regional Chamber. The panelists comments were the same as mine, what does the organization accomplish, are the staff too highly paid, why do we need them. All good questions. Written by Paul Dribin

Three Articles that Tell it All

Today’s Post had three articles which when taken together summarize the problems of the St. Louis area.

1. The Madison County Illinois Sheriff blamed the crime in St. Louis on a recent murder in his county and related crimes. This represented a certain amount of hyperbole but also was true. The crime situation is way out of hand and slowing the region.

2. Joe Regan was fired as President of the Regional Chamber. I don’t know the inner workings of that organization but I regularly wonder why it receives the large amount of funding it does from governmental and private sector organizations. He received over $700,000 in salary with no results while running the organization into the ground. Couldn’t those fees be better used to provide job training for disadvantaged individuals?

3. The Post also again reported on the racial gap in student achievement this time with College Advanced Placement Exams. I don’t put a lot of faith in these exams but they are an indicator of the achievement gap.

These stories indicated the terrible crime problem in St. Louis, the terrible educational system available to most African American students, and the back scratching cronyism of major area institutions such as the Regional Chamber. Written by Paul Dribin

Real Facts Behind Alleged Racial Discrimination in Mortgage Underwriting

Once again articles have appeared alleging racial discrimination in mortgage underwriting. The allegations are very simplistic, they are based on the fact that fewer African Americans than white Americans get approved for mortgage loans even adjusting for income.

There are several key factors that go into underwriting a loan that belie this argument. A huge factor in loan underwriting is the creditworthiness of the borrower. I have conducted research which has shown that a poor credit rating was the biggest predictor of loan default. It makes sense. People could have a lot of money, but if they don’t pay bills, they are a risk. The analyses conducted by fair housing groups don’t take credit history into account. They are not being accurate to state they are comparing like borrowers.

A second reason which supports the argument that we have a credit worthiness problem is the nature of the mortgage business. Mortgage loan officers are hugely competitive and derive their income from closing loans. I can speak from experience they fight aggressively for each deal. They are not going to pass up a commission because they may be prejudiced against people of color.

Underwriting standards need to be constantly reviewed to insure they are fair to all and capture as best they can the experience of racial minorities. We can get better results. But let’s not go in for simplistic analysis. Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Security

The rapid transit system in St. Louis known as Metrolink is an albatross. Mostly due to security concerns ridership is down and the operating deficit is increasing. The St. Louis Post Dispatch ran an article today about Metrolink which is quite disturbing. There is still no overall security plan linking St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Clair County. The standards for policing these three jurisdictions are all different. The prosecutor in St. Louis County will not allow prosecutions for riders who do not pay fares. St. Louis City hardly provides any policing at all. Why are they talking about expanding a system that does not work now. Written by Paul Dribin

Community Development Subsidies in St. Louis

Community activists are outraged by TIFs , tax abatement, and other forms of development subsidies in St. Louis. There is justification for these beliefs. Another development subsidy which is more pervasive is more damaging. This takes place with the development of affordable housing where block grant funds are used to subsidize the difference between development costs and ultimate sale price of a house. Back when I worked on loan to the city I saw numerous examples of developments that cost $300,000 and sold for $100,000. Block grant funds were used to write down the development cost in the hope these properties would stimulate community development. They rarely did, but aldermen thought they would. Where is the accountability for this disaster of a policy. Worse these policies are still continuing today. Written by Paul Dribin

New Market Tax Credits

St. Louis was recently awarded a large new slug of New Market Tax Credits. These credits are intended to enhance development in underserved economic areas. This is good news. Attached is the article:

Microsoft plans to anchor a new office and lab building set to open in mid-2018 in the Cortex technology district.


Facebook


Twitter




Email


Print


Save

The U.S. Treasury Department announced Tuesday that the city of St. Louis’ lead economic development arm would receive a $35 million allocation of federal new markets tax credit authority.

The award is part of $3.5 billion in federal new markets tax credits authority allocated Tuesday to 73 organizations. The credits are designed to spur more investment in low-income and distressed areas by reducing the risk. Local organizations awarded the tax credits authority offer it to investors to attract them to projects in certain areas. Qualified investments are eligible for a 39 percent tax credit.

The St. Louis Development Corp., which aids developers and other economic development in the city, has received nine allocations of new markets tax credits totaling $418 million since 2004. It received $75 million in new market tax credit authority in late 2016, which combined the 2015 and 2016 allocations. In the 2014 round, it received $45 million.

“This is fantastic news for the City of St. Louis,” Otis Williams, SLDC’s executive director, said in a statement Tuesday. “New Markets Tax Credits have been a tremendous tool for us as we seek to redevelop and strengthen the City’s low-income neighborhoods.”

+1

BUY NOW

Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corp., in a portrait on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in downtown St. Louis.  St. Louis Development Corp. was awarded $45 million in New Markets Tax Credits. Photo by Erik M. Lunsford elunsford@post-dispatch.com

Pause

Current Time

0:00

/

Duration Time

0:00

Stream Type

LIVE

Loaded: 0%

Progress: 0%

0:00

Fullscreen

Another local entity winning an allocation this year was U.S. Bank’s community development corporate entity, USBCDE, which was awarded a $70 million allocation. The U.S. Bank Community Development Corp. is based in downtown St. Louis. USBCDE invests in projects around the country, not just St. Louis.

Demand should be high for the latest round of credits, said Matt Philpott, who heads the new markets tax credit program at USBCDE.

“I would expect of this new round of award … most of that will get used in 2018,” he said.

The credits have been used to fund multiple developments in St. Louis, including the restoration of the Central Library downtown, the headquarters for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri in Grand Center, the Cortex tech district’s new office building for Microsoft and the ongoing International Shoe building restoration on Washington Avenue.

The credits were in danger of being killed in the original U.S. House version of the federal tax overhaul. But the Senate’s tax cut bill retained the credits for the next two years at existing levels. Philpott said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., helped keep the credits alive in the tax legislation.

More Scandal From County Executive Stenger

Steve Stenger and his cronies look more crooked every day. The Post Dispatch uncovered some emails which showed that county staff felt the new county buildings at the former Northwest Mall were a complete waste of money. This development is one which is being developed by a major campaign contribution to Stenger. I don’t know how one individual can be so tone deal. Written by Paul Dribin

Post Navigation