Paul McKee (developer)
Paul McKee is a St. Louis, Missouri-area property developer. McKee's public profile has recently increased because of a proposed multi-billion dollar redevelopment project in a depressed part of North St. Louis city. McKee's property management and development company, McEagle Properties, is based in O'Fallon, Missouri.
McKee's mother grew up in North St. Louis, in the Greater Ville neighborhood, while McKee himself grew up in the suburb of Overland and went to Chaminade College Preparatory School and is a civil engineer from Washington University. McKee is married to Marguerite "Midge" McKee (Née Niehoff), and the two have four children and 14 grandchildren. They live in the wealthy suburb of Huntleigh.
McKee's entrepreneurship started with the co-founding of construction firm Paric Corp. in 1979. He is a founding member of the board and past chairman of BJC HealthCare, the area's largest employer. McKee is an astute political operator and uses that skill to his business advantage. He has donated tens of thousands of dollars to politicians of both political parties; precisely how much is difficult to determine because much of it is donated through corporations and associates. McKee says that he favors neither party particularly strongly, but "follow[s] the business agenda". McKee was the primary organizer of a bipartisan trade mission to People's Republic of China to stimulate trade between that country and businesses in the region, with a particular focus on using the underutilized Lambert-St. Louis International Airport as a cargo stopover from China to South America.
Some of McKee's major developments through McEagle include WingHaven, a 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) mixed use project and is the corporate home to MasterCard Operations Center in O'Fallon; NorthPark, a joint venture with Clayco Realty Group including 5,000,000 square feet (460,000 m2) of planned commercial and industrial redevelopment in North St. Louis County and is corporate home to Express Scripts; and Hazelwood Commerce Center, a 151-acre (0.61 km2) industrial park in Hazelwood, Missouri.
NorthSide development proposal
McKee's envisioned redevelopment project in the Old North Saint Louis, JeffVanDerLou and Saint Louis Place neighborhoods was initially referred to as Blairmont, in reference to one of the shell companies used to acquire lots and buildings in the three neighborhoods. In May 2009 the redevelopment idea was publicly revealed as "Northside," a $8.1 billion vision covering some 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) of the city. It would include four commercial centers totaling over 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2) of new retail and office space, 1,000,000 square feet of light industrial space, new homes, parks, and a trolley line. The commercial space would play host to 22,000 new jobs, in addition to the 43,000 construction jobs created in building the development. McKee expects the project to take 15 years. He has asked the City of St. Louis for $409,917,496 in tax increment financing to get the project off the ground. NorthSide's emphasis on renewable energy and massive construction follows the Obama Administration's priorities and, if started in a timely manner, could be a candidate for additional funding from the White House's Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiatives.
McKee himself describes the project at this point as a vision rather than a plan, but has already sunk $65 million of his own money into it. He began the project by covertly buying up houses in the area. McKee addressed concerns at a public meeting with neighborhood residents in May 2009, and he and his wife, Midge, have since participated in over 150 meetings. McKee has given up on including the northern part of the Old North St. Louis neighborhood, where residents made some of the earliest objections, although he still refuses to sell the lots and buildings he owns there, even after repeated requests from legitimate buyers. The southern part of Old North Saint Louis is still in the vision area.
- Wagman, Jake (2009-05-24). "McKee's path paved with headiness, political savvy". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- Mueller, Angela (February 22, 2008). "Paul McKee Jr. lobbies to land Chinese airlines". St. Louis Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- Logan. "Express Scripts to add 1500 Jobs". STL Today.
- Brown, Lisa R.; Christopher Tritto (January 4, 2008). "Kiel: Blues, McKees take the stage". St. Louis Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- Logan, Tim (02.09.2009). "Slay on St. Louis economy, incentives, Ballpark Village, Blairmont". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2009-05-26. Check date values in:
- Appleson, Gail (2009-05-22). "Critics, skeptics greet Mckee". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on May 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- full text of TIF application at Archived December 17, 2010, at WebCite