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Clayton aldermen to consider new tax plan for Centene project

Clayton aldermen to consider new tax plan for Centene project


A new development agreement would provide Centene Corp. $75.6 million in tax abatements for its planned $755 million mixed-use expansion in downtown Clayton.

Abatements spread over 20 years are part of a public-private partnership Clayton aldermen are scheduled to consider at their meeting Nov. 15.

City Manager Craig Owens said Wednesday that the abatements — totaling $38.9 million in “net present value” — are less than the company initially sought.

The agreement would provide Centene 40 percent personal and real property tax abatement. Company officials initially sought a 50 percent abatement.

“We worked hard with them to come to an agreement for something less than what they originally asked for,” Owens said.

He said the St. Louis region will benefit from the new offices, residences and other Centene project elements, including a $103 million, 1,000-seat corporate-training auditorium that also would be available for public events.

“It will be a magnificent auditorium that will be made available for public performances of a regional and national scale,” Owens said.

In a statement, a Centene spokeswoman said the company is pleased the city is considering a public-private partnership that would benefit the region and state.

“With this development, Centene will bring 2,000 jobs to Clayton, 1,000 of which are new to the state of Missouri,” the spokeswoman said. “Centene will deliver an estimated $110 million over 20 years in tax revenue for Clayton police, fire and city services and other taxing districts, including an estimated $50 million for Clayton schools.”

The agreement aldermen will consider provides tax abatements from the city of Clayton, St. Louis County and the state. A state estimate released previously put the total public assistance, including local property tax abatement, at $147 million over 20 years. Centene had estimated the total value at between $88 million and $135 million.

The company’s project would go up in phases. Construction could begin next year. If fully built out, the company would add office towers, a hotel, residences and a parking garages to downtown Clayton over the next few years.

Centene anticipates moving employees to Clayton from elsewhere in the region and adding new jobs to its Clayton headquarters. It already employs about 1,000 people at its current headquarters, which opened in 2010.

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Tim Bryant is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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