TIF Subsidy Tilts Retail Playing Field for Central West End

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

You’ve got to love Bruce Mills’ way with words.

The developer bought an office building in one of St. Louis’ best neighborhoods, tore it down and now argues that the resulting vacant lot is blighted.

That sounds a little like the old joke about a man who kills his parents and asks for mercy because he’s an orphan.

In plain, commonsense English, “blighted” means that a property is an eyesore or a nuisance. In real estate law, it simply means that a property is eligible for a subsidy.

Every developer, of course, wants a subsidy, so one can’t fault Mills for seeking a TIF. That’s short for tax-increment financing, a form of public assistance that diverts future property tax payments to subsidize a project. Read more at St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


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