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Novus still seeking financing for project


October 05, 2005 - Novus Development Co. President Jona-than Browne will continue searching for new business partners to bring plans for MainStreet at Sunset Hills to fruition, according to a Novus spokesman.

Browne had hoped to close on contracts for more than 200 homes in the Sunset Manor subdivision last Friday, but has been unable to obtain the financing to do so.

"A lot of residents have said they don't know what to do,'' Novus spokesman Craig Workman said Monday afternoon. "We're disappointed we don't have any answers for them, but we continue to try and work toward a solution.''

Novus is proposing to construct Main-Street at Sunset, a $165.2 million lifestyle shopping center at Interstate 44, Watson Road and South Lindbergh Boulevard.

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen in May approved Novus' request for $42 million in tax-increment-financing, or TIF, assistance and $20 million in transportation development district, or TDD, reimbursements to help fund the shopping center. The project will raze 254 homes and several businesses. Only the Hampton Inn and Denny's restaurant will remain.

Closings on the more than 200 homes were scheduled to begin Aug. 22. But Novus learned Aug. 18 its lender had withdrawn its funding for the development and the closings were delayed until a new lender could be secured.

Five Sunset Manor residents last week filed a lawsuit against the city and City En-gineer Ronald Williams that alleges the city has refused to enforce its Housing Code and Sign Ordinance in the subdivision.

Two other lawsuits have been filed against the city by opponents of Novus' proposal.

One lawsuit was filed by 11 Sunset Hills residents and seeks to have the city's Board of Aldermen consider initiative petitions to repeal two enabling ordinances for the project. If the board fails to repeal the ordinances, the suit seeks a public vote to repeal the enabling ordinances.

The second lawsuit was filed by Sunset Hills residents and commercial property owners along with Missouri Residential I, an affiliate of Westfield America Inc. The lawsuit contends the city violated the state's TIF statutes and the U.S. and Missouri constitutions in approving the TIF assistance and redevelopment agreement.

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