Paul McKee may have another local project at risk -

Paul McKee may have another local project at risk

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Developer Paul McKee has been under fire for years for the North Saint Louis development that has been plagued by delays, run down property and now defaults on loans for that development.

However, there's another McKee project that's received much less attention that may also be at risk, and millions of taxpayer's dollars are also at stake in that one.

About 15 miles east of St. Louis sits one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in St. Clair County, a several hundred acre parcel right off I-64 which is also across a road from a major retail development.

It was originally supposed to be a major project with homes, offices and stores, but McKee has scaled it back, and after owning the land for nearly a decade, hasn't built a building or paved a road.

Years ago, Shiloh, Illinois officials believed in the project so much, the city council approved backing bonds for improvements to the property that could potentially put the village on the hook for $9.4 million in principal and interest.

"Right now, it's up to the developer to step up and get the financing to put in the rest of the infrastructure" said Shiloh Mayor James Vernier.

Vernier says McKee prepared the land by grating it, putting in pipe, relocating a creek and creating a lake, but there is still substantial work to be done before any buildings can be built.

"The village is not willing to go any farther with the project," Vernier told News 4

The problems in Shiloh are small in comparison to the delays and emotions involved with McKee's much larger 1500 acre Northside development just north of Downtown St. Louis. In two lawsuits, McKee and the project have defaulted on a combined $20 million in loans, including the interest. McKee's Northside project has also received tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks.

Just two weeks ago, McKee was sued for defaulting on millions of dollars in loans on the Shiloh property. The village of Shiloh was also named as a defendant. News 4 requested a comment from McKee, or a company representative, but there was no response.

Despite what appears to be a growing risk with the Shiloh development, the mayor insists the money was still a good investment.

"We have a lot of money riding on it, but I am confidant whether it's Mr. McKee or another developer, the project is going to be built. I do believe we made a wise choice and I'm going to stand by that," said Vernier.

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