St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson signed legislation last week approving up to $8 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance for a new hospital in the city’s most impoverished neighborhood of North St. Louis City. M Property Services (MPS), led by Chairman and CEO Paul McKee, Jr., partnered with medical entrepreneur Dr. David Lenihan, President and CEO of Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), to bring his vision for minority-focused healthcare, which includes 92 new jobs, to North St. Louis as part of the NorthSide Regeneration development.
St. Louis City Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard (D-Ward 5) introduced legislation for the TIF assistance, which the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen passed with a 23-2 vote on Oct. 18, supporting the proposed three-bed hospital with emergency room at Jefferson and Cass Avenues, plus infrastructure improvements to the surrounding area. The project has a projected total cost of about $22 million.
The approved bill also provides that the developers must prove by the end of 2021 that they have financing for a larger, second phase of the project in order to qualify for all of the TIF assistance. This second phase is presently anticipated to include construction of a $73 million, 103,000-square-foot hospital, to be named Homer G. Phillips Hospital, and medical school. TIF financing works by allowing a developer over time to recover costs it has previously expended in completing public infrastructure and other qualified improvements, by accessing a portion of the increased real property and economic activity taxes generated in the future by the new development.
“It’s been a long road, but we definitely need a hospital in North St. Louis – an area that has high rates of hypertension, the most Medicaid recipients within the entire city, lowest life expectancy, and highest infant mortality rate. On a bigger level, this will be the only hospital in North St. Louis,” said Hubbard. “This will be more than just the three-bedroom urgent care hospital; it has a phase two connected to it, which will be a healthcare village that will offer so many needs and services to people who have lived in an impoverished community in excess of 60 years because the city has failed them and not given them the resources to live in a viable, workable community with access to healthcare. This issue has been one that has been near and dear to my heart; it has been definitely near and dear to my constituents because they are the ones who have been suffering.”
The proposed Homer G. Phillips hospital, named after the only hospital for African Americans in St. Louis from 1937 to 1955 when the city still had segregated facilities, would be constructed on the former site of defunct urban housing project Pruitt-Igoe. The site is part of the 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration redevelopment area in North St. Louis.
“I thought it was important to the revitalization of North St. Louis City that a hospital be brought back to the community. In working with Dr. Lenihan, we were able to develop a plan that addressed the residents’ needs and desires for local healthcare that has been lacking in the community for decades. We commend Alderwoman Hubbard for her tireless efforts to help make the hospital a reality for her constituents and the forgotten residents of North St. Louis,” said McKee.
United Bank of Union, Sterling Bank and the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council will provide a combined $8 million in loans to get the hospital project underway.
“We are proud to provide financing to the new Homer G. Phillips Hospital to bring a much-needed healthcare facility to the North Side,” said Al Bond, Executive-Secretary Treasurer of the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council. “We invest in projects that benefit our community, and we believe this facility will achieve that.”
Global architecture, engineering and planning firm HOK has been contracted to design the hospital. KAI will provide design/build services to complete the project.