The Pacific South project, the first phase of the Commercial-Pacific Street Redevelopment Plan, includes the site of the former Klingner-Cope Family Funeral Home chapel at 1635 North Benton Avenue in Springfield. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

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Over a dozen Commercial Street-area properties are in for a facelift, and a developer could receive tax incentives to encourage their redevelopment.

At its April 8 meeting, the Springfield City Council approved the Commercial-Pacific Street Redevelopment Plan by a 7-2 vote, shortly after voting down an amendment, by a 3-6 vote, to address concerns raised by council members and the public at the March 25 meeting.

In addition to approving the redevelopment plan applied for by the Commercial-Pacific Street Redevelopment Corporation, led by real estate developer Titus Williams, the City Council declared the plan area’s 17 properties blighted and authorized property tax abatement on one of four project areas.

Council members Monica Horton and Craig Hosmer voted against the plan. Though she ultimately voted in favor of the plan, Councilmember Heather Hardinger joined Horton and Hosmer in attempting to amend the bill.

Particulars of the plan

The Commercial-Pacific Street Redevelopment Area is generally located along the south side of the 400-500 blocks of East Commercial Street, the east side of the 1600-1700 blocks of North Jefferson Avenue and the west side of 1600-1700 blocks of North Benton Avenue. (Photo from the City of Springfield)

Under Missouri law, redevelopment plans provide up to 25 years of partial property tax abatement to for-profit Urban Redevelopment Corporations to encourage redevelopment of blighted areas. The program freezes 100% of the assessed valuation of the land and any new improvements for the first 10 years and 50% of the valuation for the remaining 15 years.

If redevelopment occurs and additional tax abatement is authorized, the redevelopment area could see over $1.2 million in added property tax revenue over the next 25 years.

The redevelopment area’s 17 parcels — totaling about 7.5 acres — are generally located along the south side of the 400-500 blocks of East Commercial Street (near the former Missouri Hotel), the east side of the 1600-1700 blocks of North Jefferson Avenue and the west side of the 1600-1700 blocks of North Benton Avenue.

In addition to a 72-unit townhouse-style apartment complex in the Pacific South project area, the redevelopment area calls for multi-family residential and mixed-use development in Pacific North, commercial and residential mixed-uses at 540 E. Commercial St., and the rehabilitation of the Missouri Hotel and adjacent properties.

Everything but the Pacific South project area is currently located in the Commercial Street Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, which would require an amendment and a buyout of remaining tax revenues negotiated and approved by the TIF Commission and the City Council. Amanda Ohlensehlen, director of the city’s Department of Economic Vitality, said the TIF buyout is still being calculated, but is currently estimated at more than $200,000.

Failed amendment meant to ‘add clarity’

The former Missouri Hotel is part of a major redevelopment plan proposed for the area along and south of Commercial Street. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

Concerns raised at the previous City Council meeting — and championed on Monday night — centered around the scope of the redevelopment plan. While expressly supportive of the Pacific South project, and hopeful to see the area redeveloped, C-Street advocates were wary of the inclusion of future phases in the plan and the potential demolition of historic structures.

While the City Council’s approval established the redevelopment plan for the entire area, the development of future phases of the project — and the subsequent tax abatement — would still have to undergo the typical city approval processes, a point raised by a couple of council members in favor of the plan.

“Understanding that the redevelopment plan as it's currently proposed doesn't impact the primary concern of residents, I don't see an issue with moving forward with it as is,” Councilmember Brandon Jenson said.

Monica Horton is the city council representative for Zone 1 in Springfield. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Horton acknowledged that, under the proposed redevelopment plan, the developer may still require additional approvals, but sought to make that clearer using stronger language in her amendment, while approving the entire blight report and the Pacific South project.

“If it just so happens that the original bill does those three things, absent of this amendment bill, then sure thing,” Horton said. “But I'm still thinking that it needs to be a little bit more clear in terms of what we're approving on tonight.”

Hosmer said it felt like the City Council was “rushing” a decision on the plan, despite not knowing details of future phases of the project.

Craig Hosmer holds the general seat B position with the Springfield City Council. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

“It just seems like we're moving faster than really the project warrants,” Hosmer said. “We can do the [Pacific] South project and do everything they’re entitled to get, they get everything that they should get and people want them to get. But there's still unanswered questions about what the impact is on the historic district, there’s still questions about what the TIF buyout is going to be, there’s still questions about the interplay between the TIF and the blight.”

Ohlensehlen said the plan would not impact Commercial Street historic designation.

Jack McGee

Jack McGee is the government affairs reporter at the Hauxeda. He previously covered politics and business for the Daily Citizen. He’s an MSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a minor political science. Reach him at or (417) 837-3663. More by Jack McGee