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Novus Chosen For Major Development

January 09, 2004
After years of discussion and debate, redevelopment at Rock Hill's eastern border may soon be underway.

The Rock Hill Board of Aldermen Tuesday approved Novus Companies, Webster Groves, as the developer for the 36.9 acres at the northwest and southwest corners of Manchester/McKnight/Rock Hill roads.

The development would be bounded on the north by Warson Road, on the west by North Rock Hill Road, McKnight Road on the east and Manchester Road on the south. Boundaries for south of Manchester Road are North Rock Hill Road on the east, and the city hall property on the west and south.

Jonathan Browne, president of Novus Companies, said Novus would buy out 126 properties on the north side of Manchester Road, 78 of which are owner-occupied homes, and 48 properties, including 15 homes, on the south side of Manchester Road.

The development would include on the northwest corner of Manchester and McKnight roads 140 condominiums/apartments, 16 senior townhomes, 60 senior apartments, a 20,000 square-foot retail building, 75,000 square feet of specialty retail stores, and 20,000 square feet of office space. Proposed for the southwest corner of Manchester and McKnight roads are a 40,000 square foot retail building, a 20,000 square foot retail building and 48,000 square feet of specialty retail stores.

The $73.3 million development will require $16.5 million in tax increment financing (TIF). The city will have to establish a TIF Commission.

Browne told the Times that the timetable would depend on TIF approval, which generally takes six months.

"We would like to start earth work in August or September. Ideally, that would give us time for a mid-2005 opening," he said.

The Transportation Development District ( TDD) proposed for cities from Maplewood through Kirkwood along the Manchester Road Corridor would provide some funds for Manchester Road improvements, if the TDD is approved by voters.

Browne added that he was "excited" about the prospect of doing this development for Rock Hill.

"This will make the eastern entrance to Rock Hill visually exciting and give a different look to the city."

Mayor Robert Salamone, who was presiding for the first time since being ill for two months, said he was pleased with the prospect of working with Novus.

Board Member Matt Knuckles cast the only dissenting vote saying he disagreed with the concept of putting a fountain at the east entrance to the development.

"I think this should be all retail. We don't need a fountain with people throwing pennies and dimes into it," Knuckles said.

Salamone also announced that the board would hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 22 at City Hall to discuss the feasibility study and financing options for the new city center.

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