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McKee set to break ground for development featuring grocery store in near North St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – After more than a decade of promising a huge development for the St. Louis’s near north side,   developer Paul McKee said he plans to break ground on the first buildings this summer. He’s hoping the development will be followed by homes and a small hospital.  It’s scheduled to take place near Cass and 13th Streets.

McKee said the first two buildings will be a GreenLeaf Market and the other building will be a convenience store called Zoom.

Officials said there is a food desert in the city’s near north side. GreenLeaf market may change that. There is one like it in Kansas City that relies on hundreds of farmers to bring their produce and meat to sell at the store. Customers can get double the value of their food stamps when they purchase healthy foods.

Mckee said it’s been very difficult to get the project going. He’s gone through lawsuits and had trouble finding financing for the north city project in part because of new federal banking rules.  McKee said, “It’s so difficult here in the urban corridor to get something to go you can talk about all kind of lenders and things you guys know I finance things all over this city there’s nothing tougher that to try to finance something on the north side. It’s difficult it has been for years. “

He said he has also lined up lenders who are backing a plan that calls for 500 new homes over five years. McKee added, “Our first phase you’ll see 120 something apartment and the rest will be housing hopefully start early summer late fall.”  The starting price for a new home will be in the neighborhood of $125,000.

There is also a plan for a new small hospital on the Pruitt Igoe site.   McKee still has his critics; a handful of local residents showed up with signs that called him a slum lord. They contended he bought old homes and let them fall apart that he made promises and didn’t keep them.  He said the new construction will prove them wrong.