Letter University City Costco development a liability, not asset

Letter University City Costco development a liability, not asset

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Olive Blvd. in University City

A diverse collection of businesses occupy Jeffrey Plaza on Olive Boulevard, including a tattoo parlor, barber salon, Japanese restaurant, Asian grocery store, Jamaican restaurant and Vietnamese restaurant, shown last year in University City.

File photo by Chris Lee

Regarding “Last few University City commercial properties holding out on selling for Costco-anchored development plan” (May 14): It is unconscionable that University City has begun condemnation proceedings against several property owners to support the proposed $190 million Costco development at Olive Boulevard and I-170 before the developer, Novus Development Co., has even obtained financing. Novus has failed to acquire financing for more than two years now.

Nearly 70 homes, 58 apartment units, dozens of diverse businesses including several restaurants owned by immigrants, two churches and one school would all be torn down to make way for a development that would be anchored by a big-box store with acres of parking lots included.

A huge $70 million subsidy from taxpayers is planned for the development — nearly 40% of the total. Revenue that would usually go to provide city services and University City schools would go to support a private development that features a store owned by a corporation with annual revenue of over $150 billion.

The proposed development has been a fiasco from the beginning. Among other problems, the city had to admit a $27 million mistake was made in calculations for the development. The city’s numerous errors, resulting in continual delays, have caused a great deal of stress to those who could lose their homes and their businesses to the project.

The proposed Costco development was promoted as being a great asset to University City. It is instead becoming a liability.

Jan Adams • University City

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