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Amazon to lease two buildings in Hazelwood

Work continues on a sorting center that Amazon is leasing in the Hazelwood Logistics Center in Hazelwood, photographed on Friday, July 21, 2017. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

Hazelwood’s City Council has endorsed a resolution that could pave the way for a 300-acre industrial park north of the St. Louis Outlet Mall.

NorthPoint Development anticipates developing over 3 million square feet of building space on what’s now mostly farmland adjacent to the existing Park 370 industrial park. City officials say the project would be about as close as new development can get to the Missouri River without a new levee.

NorthPoint, based in the Kansas City area, has nearly built out the Hazelwood Logistics Center to the east, a stalled development it acquired from Paul McKee in 2015.

Its new development would add still more logistics and light industrial warehouse space to the region, currently a booming segment of the market due to the growth of e-commerce. Online retail behemoth Amazon, for instance, leased its first Missouri facilities in NorthPoint’s Hazelwood Logistics Center.

Other firms are adding similar logistics space to the market. KP Development, for instance, just announced several tenants for the business park it is developing on the site of the former Chrysler assembly plant in Fenton. Panattoni Development Co. and Tristar Properties are building out logistics parks in Edwardsville.

The resolution Hazelwood passed Wednesday outlined terms to a proposed agreement with NorthPoint that would support the roughly $220 million business park with over a decade of property tax breaks. Through a Chapter 100 bond issuance, the city would facilitate up to 18 years of property tax abatement and a sales tax exemption on construction materials.

Buildings would have to be complete by 2030 to qualify for the full 18 years of abatement. In addition, Hazelwood would require payments in lieu of taxes starting at 10 cents per square foot during a building’s abatement period and rising to 96 cents per square foot by year 18. The proposed payment schedule also increases by 2 percent each year to account for inflation and “push NorthPoint to get buildings done as quickly as possible,” said David Cox, Hazelwood’s economic development director.

Hazelwood has used tax abatement and other development incentives aggressively on other projects, including NorthPoint’s Hazelwood Logistics Center. The payments in lieu of taxes are a slightly different tactic, Cox said, designed to “get the taxing districts a little bit of money right off the bat.”

A final deal and terms still have to be negotiated. That deal is expected to be discussed at the meeting of the Hazelwood City Council on Dec. 20. NorthPoint representatives will likely make a presentation about the project at the meeting.

At least some of the property NorthPoint is eyeing is owned by the Schroeder family, which has long farmed the land and currently operates a sod farm business there. Negotiations for the real estate involve several members of the Schroeder family, as well as some neighbors, Linda Schroeder said. She said her family would continue operating R. Schroeder Sod Farm even if they do sell some of their land.

“They’ve been talking to us but there’s nothing definite yet,” she said of NorthPoint.

A representative from NorthPoint declined to comment.