St. Louis developer plans housing project near federal site

ST. LOUIS -- A St. Louis developer said he's moving ahead with plans for a residential housing plan in an area around the planned $1.75 billion National Geospatial Intelligence Agency project.

Paul McKee, who has been acquiring land in north St. Louis for decades, said Tuesday he's moving forward with the 500-unit residential housing plan, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Initial construction will begin in 2017 and be completed in 2018.

The NGA, a Defense Department mapping agency, announced official plans recently to move more than 3,100 jobs to the north St. Louis area by 2022 or 2023. The project is expected to include more than 3,000 high-tech jobs with average salaries of more than $80,000, along with prospects of further economic development.

McKee hopes the housing units can be marketed to new residents and people being relocated from homes within the 99-acre NGA construction site. He said the development group is focused on an urban, walkable plan.

"Once the NGA HQ is completed, the thousands of NGA employees, as well as employees in downtown, Grand Center and at Cortex will have the option to walk or bike to work from their homes at NorthSide," he said.

McKee has partnered with CRG Real Estate Solutions and Telesis Corp. of Washington. The group also has gotten a letter of intent for financing from the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, which has invested more than $500 million in St. Louis area residential developments.

Steve Coyle, president of the housing investment trust, said in a statement the trust looks to be a "long-term investor in the NorthSide Regeneration District."

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,