ELLISVILLE, MO (KTVI)-Walmart is walking away from plans to build a store in Ellisville near the intersection of Clarkson and Manchester Roads. Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul confirmed landlords under contract to sell their property to local developer Sansone learned the deal was off.
Citizens opposed to tax breaks for the giant retailer and to wiping out the city's largest block of reasonably priced rental housing fought the plans for two years. Walmart wanted a TIF ( tax increment financing) designation.
The controversy included a string of legal battles and a vote by a lame duck city council to impeach Mayor Adam Paul. Paul ran on a platform opposing the Walmart development and then once elected tried to block the project. Paul challenged his impeachment in court and won reinstatement.
"This is incredible news for our city and our people," Paul said Saturday.
The mayor praised residents for standing up to the financially powerful corporation. "They said we're a great community and we don't need to bankroll a development and kick our people out of town and replace it for sales tax revenue," Paul added.
The mayor said there would have been few objections if Walmart had purchased vacant car dealerships at the Manchester Clarkson intersection. But to acquire a tax break, Paul said they had to find property that could be blighted. Paul thinks that is why they moved further west to the 23 apartment buildings known as Clarkchester Apartments. That multi-family complex backs up to single family homes.
"This development was just backwards. It was let's knock out the apartment complex which is a perfect buffer for single family homes for a commercial development project," said Paul.
Facebook Betsey Bruce on FOX2
Betsey Bruce on Twitter