McPherson’s Jack Grone on “The TIF Trade”

The latest bit of reporting from CWEnder Jack Grone on his McPherson, Independent Journalism for St. Louis and Beyond site will be of interest to city residents, especially CWEnders. It is not a quick read, but if you’ve wondered how Tax Increment Financing works, this well-researched article will be helpful.

The introduction:

The Argyle TIF (Argyle Parking Garage at Lindell and Euclid) in St. Louis is helping divert $1 million of tax money each year to service debt in the city’s Parking Division. Some people think the money should be going to schools instead.

The TIF Trade: The Treasurer, the Argyle Garage and a Huge Pile of Cash

“But where will people park?”

It’s a question for the ages in car-dependent towns like St. Louis, and it was one of the issues city leaders grappled with in the 1990s as they considered the prospects of the Central West End.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Opinion Services Web/Tech  Tishaura Jones McPherson Jack Grone Independent Journalism for St. Louis & Beyond Chase Park Plaza Argyle Garage

There, private developers were pouring millions into an effort to remake the shuttered Chase Park Plaza hotel into a major destination for business meetings, receptions, galas, dining and movies. The hope was that a revitalized Chase would in turn spur the redevelopment of storefronts and residences on nearby Maryland Plaza, at the time a largely forlorn stretch still searching for new purpose 20 years after Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers had left for the suburbs.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Since the article was published last Tuesday, Grone has summarized his reporting into 6 easy-to-follow tweets. They are reprinted below, or you can follow Grone on Twitter here.

1/ In a nutshell, the Argyle TIF is diverting a million bucks a year to subsidize the parking division’s debt. didn’t create this deal, but city’s parking ops still benefit from it. and say the TIF’s $$ should go to city schools.

5/ The Argyle TIF has its own cash pile: $6.2 million as of last June, says city report. That cash is just sitting there while city can’t even fix its garbage trucks. Yowza. Wondering what and think, since each wants to be aldermanic prez.

6/ People in who work for and want to find a solution to disburse the TIF’s cash ahead of its expiry in 2021. It’ll be interesting to watch Board of Aldermen this fall. And office, too.

Thanks to Jack Grone for his in-depth, eye-opening reporting on this important topic. Let’s hope our elected officials will take the necessary steps to redirect these substantial and sorely needed funds for the benefit of all citizens.

Selkirk on the move & a Sidewalk Sale

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

Selkirk is in the process of moving their auction gallery from 4739 McPherson Avenue in the Central West End, above, to a larger location at 555 Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

Last Friday evening an enthusiastic crowd gathered at the new location for a champagne reception to celebrate the move and to preview Selkirk’s summer auction featuring the MacMurray College Collection, which was to be sold at auction the following day.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

I spoke to a fellow CWEnder who said he felt the move was good for Selkirk and for downtown St. Louis. I agree that the stunning space seems a perfect fit for an auction house.

Selkirk is located at 555 Washington Avenue, between the M.A.C. and the Blues Museum.

CWE Scene sponsored its 3rd Annual Sidewalk Sale last Saturday from 10 to 2 p.m. Participants in this year’s event included:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

CWE-based artist Kristen Kempton who was invited by Alex Head, proprietor of The Vino Gallery. to bring her hand-printed, handmade iheartfink collection to the patio of the wine shop at 4701 McPherson.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

AG Jeans, 36 Maryland Plaza, offered a great selection of summer clothing for men and women.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

Students from Paul Mitchell the school, 30 Maryland Plaza, offered an array of beauty products.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

lululemon displayed an assortment of its popular styles of athleisurewear at 26 Maryland Plaza.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

When I stopped by Q Boutique at World Chess Hall of Fame, 4652 Maryland Avenue, Matt Holtsclaw, above, and Luke Byrnes (in white shirt left), were still in the process of organizing the shop’s merchandise for the sale. Their first customer (right) wasn’t waiting for them to finish setting up.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

Cassie’s Scents at 316 N. Euclid had a variety of candles, scents, and lotions for sale.

I overheard the man in the photo above say he had just opened a martial arts studio at Taylor and Olive. After posting this photo on Instagram, I learned the studio is called Premier Martial Arts CWE.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Shop News  Selkirk Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame Paul Mitchell The School lululemon Kristen Kempton iheartfink Golden Grocer CWEScene CWE Sidewalk Sale Cassie's AG Jeans

And finally, Carrie Collins-Whitfield, who’s line “Eliyah J” features natural soaps, butters, perfumes, and crystals was set up in front of Golden Grocer. Her products are also stocked at the natural food store. For more info, contact Carrie at (314) 728-7376.

Other participating businesses can be found on the CWE Scene website.

A peek at Yellowbelly Sea & Spirits

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink  Yellowbelly Central West End Travis Howard Tim Wiggins Retreat Gastropub Noah MacMillan Atomic Dust

Travis Howard and Tim Wiggins, proprietors of Retreat Gastropub, the popular gathering spot at Sarah and Laclede, brought illustrator Noah MacMillan to town to work his magic at Yellowbelly Sea & Spirits, their latest venture opening soon at the corner of Lindell and Euclid.

The banners on the exterior hint at the restaurant’s tropical theme created by local branding and marketing agency Atomic Dust.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink  Yellowbelly Central West End Travis Howard Tim Wiggins Retreat Gastropub Noah MacMillan Atomic Dust    MacMillan, inspired by the theme and color palate utilized by Atomic Dust, was in the process of completing his second gorgeous wall mural in the space the afternoon I stopped by.

The illustrator and his partner Hitomi, whom he met at Washington University 10 years ago, moved to LA last year. She’s a pre-school teacher and he’s continuing his successful career as a designer and illustrator.  “It’s been wonderful to be back in town,” they said. “We really miss St. Louis.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink  Yellowbelly Central West End Travis Howard Tim Wiggins Retreat Gastropub Noah MacMillan Atomic Dust

Look for Yellowbelly Sea & Spirits to open around the end of August or beginning of September. Travis Howard emailed that they are excited to be joining the restaurant scene in CWE North.

Yellowbelly Sea & Spirits, on the ground floor of Citizen Park at Euclid and Lindell.