Facts & FAQs

Key Facts and Frequently Asked Questions

The City of Maryland Heights has resumed the economic development planning process for approximately 2,000 acres of land in the Maryland Park Lake District after development proposals received last year did not meet the City’s vision for the area. The land in and around the Lake District is currently used for agriculture, recreation (Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park) sports (Sport Port soccer facility, Golf Port of Maryland Heights) entertainment (Hollywood Casino, Hollywood Casino Amphitheater), business (Riverport Business Park) and the Creve Coeur Airport.

  • The City is now implementing its own fully integrated master planning process with the involvement of our stakeholders instead of relying on developers to do this.  Once the plan is completed, developers can propose specific projects that fit directly into our master plan.
  • The City’s vision of a regional sports, entertainment, hospitality, specialty retail and residential destination with a large amount of open space and water features throughout the Lake District.
  • This is a proactive, holistic approach that balances the needs of the community with the desires of developers.
  • Agricultural uses will continue on some lands adjacent to the Lake District.

The City has established a Stakeholder Advisory Committee of regulatory and planning agencies with jurisdiction over the area — plus major property owners — to work in partnership with City staff and its Economic Development and Planning Commissions in the preparation of the Lake District’s development plans.

  • The committee will provide comment and recommendations for the City to consider on a wide range of issues as a final plan for the area is prepared and approved.
  • Elements of the plan will include infrastructure, conceptual development and economic development plans.

The Maryland Park Lake District will be a mixed use destination development with generous amounts of green space.

  • The City envisions a mixed use ‘Town Center’ type of destination development that incorporates sports, commercial office, entertainment, hospitality, residential and specialty retail uses into a planned setting enhanced by large open spaces and lifestyle amenities.
  • The Development Area will include green space, water features, hiking/biking trails, parks, public spaces, trees, gathering areas and other amenities. The Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park trail network will be expanded significantly and tastefully into the open space.
  • Hospitality investments will support nearby athletic fields and new soccer and ice sports developments.

Fact: Maryland Heights is a leader in responsible economic development.

Since becoming a city in 1985, Maryland Heights has transformed itself from a patchwork of neighborhoods and farms to a regional economic engine.

  • A number of major employers are located in the City and continue to invest here, including Magellan Health Services, Talx, Edward Jones, Hollywood Casino, Monsanto, United Healthcare, World Wide Technologies, Schnucks and others.
  • More than 50,000 people work within the City limits each weekday.
  • World Wide Technology is building a new headquarters as part of $95 million in new projects at West Port Plaza.

The City is a regional hospitality and entertainment destination.

  • There will be more than 4,000 hotel rooms in Maryland Heights when construction of the new Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn and Homewood Suites is completed, making Maryland Heights second only to downtown St. Louis in the number of hotel rooms in the St. Louis region.

The City has become a regional destination for visitors through the successful development of concert venues, sports facilities, a casino hotel and recreational amenities.

Why does the City want to develop this area?

The City desires to continue building its position as a regional employment and recreation center.  The greater public good will be served by making this area a premier catalyst for regional growth and development.

  • The Development Area will attract significant new investment and sustain regional economic growth in an underutilized suburban agricultural area when it is developed.
  • The Development Area is ready for responsible mixed use destination development after years of careful planning by St. Louis County, the City of Maryland Heights, the Howard Bend Levee District and landowners.
  • The MPLD landowners – mostly 2nd and 3rd generation farming families – support development and want to sell their land.
  • There are already a number of sports facilities, an airport, water treatment plants, a casino and other businesses inside or adjacent to the Development Area, and a new ice sports complex has been proposed by the St. Louis Blues adjacent to the Area. The Area will support these attractions with dining, hospitality, retail and other services.
  • In public meetings and workshops conducted by the City, most residents have expressed desires for more in-town dining, employment, shopping, entertainment and residential options, and they favor this new development.

Fact: The Area is Ready For Development.

This is an underutilized suburban agricultural area with most of the land available for sale by the owners, many of whom are 2nd and 3rd generation farming families that do not want to continue farming.  Decades of infrastructure planning and preparations are now completed for developing the Area for commercial, industrial and residential use.  These preparations include:

  • Construction in 2004 of the privately financed Howard Bend levee. This was planned and paid for by landowners and farmers to prepare their land for commercial development purposes and enable them to sell their land at a higher price.
  • Construction of the Earth City Expressway, now known as State Highway 141, in 2008. This highway was planned and designed to provide convenient and adequate vehicular access to areas planned for development.  The City of Maryland Heights paid for this road as part of its long range plan and with St. Louis County and MODOT planning and oversight.
  • Route 141 from Olive Boulevard to Page (364) was constructed and completed by MODOT in 2012. This provides convenient north/south access into the Development Area.

Fact: The Development Area is No Longer in the Missouri River Floodplain.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Letter of Map Revision dated April 13, 2006 determined that most of the property in the Development Area is not flood plain and may be developed for commercial, industrial or residential uses and qualifies for federal flood insurance. In February 2015, FEMA reaffirmed and reissued their federal Flood Insurance Rate Map verifying that a majority of the area is no longer in a flood plain.

  • Construction of the 500-year Howard Bend Levee was completed in 2004 and was paid for by landowners in and around the District. The Levee extends from the Missouri -American Treatment Plant in the south to the Riverport Levee in the north.
  • The flood protection system elevation is at least three feet over the 500-year flood level as determined by joint efforts of Corps of Engineers and FEMA.  Adjacent to the Howard Bend Levee, an “under-seepage protection berm” also was built to prevent undermining of the levee by water pressure in high water conditions on the unprotected side of levee by the river.

Fact: Stormwater Management System Will Eliminate ‘Ponding’ Areas.

Areas of heavy rainwater run-off that collect in low spots until absorbed into the ground (called ponding) will be addressed through the construction of an engineered stormwater management system. This system will convey stormwater discharge from impervious surfaces through a collection system eventually discharging to the river. The construction of this system will eliminate the ponding areas that currently exist.

  • The Howard Bend Levee District is responsible for managing stormwater in the area.

Fact: Stormwater conveyance and storage will be an integral part of future development and an extension of the planned open space.

  • Stormwater will become an asset, not a liability.

Fact: TIFs and Other Tax Incentive May Be Offered to Developers.

The City may use tax incentives, such as TIF, TDD, CDD and property tax abatement, to support successful development in the Development Area in situations where it makes economic sense. The City may consider use of TIF or other incentives if a proposal demonstrates that “but for” the use of TIF, the project is not feasible and will not be completed.

  • The lack of a current stormwater management system will require public funds to cure the blighting influence.
  • The City wants to continue its track record of success in using tax incentives including TIF to attract new employers, develop popular amenities and generate significant return on investment to our taxpayers and to St. Louis County.
  • Lakeside Crossing is an example of this, in which hundreds of new jobs were created as employers expanded into the City. Tax incentives are currently being used as part of Word Wide Technologies’ new office tower and garage at Westport Plaza and in the recently approved expansion of the Nu-Calgon plant.
  • The City will seek a 50% pass through of TIF revenues generated in the Development Area to schools, thus increasing their tax revenues.
  • At this time, no proposals from developers have been selected and no incentives of any kind have been offered or approved by the City for the Development Area.

How do our residents feel about this proposed development? 

In public meetings and workshops conducted by the City regarding the Development Area over the past several years, many residents have expressed desires for more in-town dining, employment, shopping, entertainment and residential options, and most favor this new development as the best way to accommodate those desires.

Do residents have any say in whether or not the development will be approved, or particular types of structures/buildings are built?

The City has a long history of public engagement, meetings, workshops and transparency in matters of development – we have held open workshops and public engagement meetings for all community and economic development plans since the City was incorporated in 1985.

  • Development Area planning has occurred with significant input from local residents. For example, in 2014 we conducted a public hearing when updating the city’s Comprehensive Plan, and in 2015 we hosted a community forum for the Comprehensive Plan.
  • The City has established a Stakeholder Advisory Committee of regulatory and planning agencies with jurisdiction over the area — plus major property owners — to work in partnership with City staff and its Economic Development and Planning Commissions in the preparation of the area’s development plan.

What do business owners in Maryland Heights think about more development?

The Maryland Heights Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Heights Convention and Visitor Commission feel that development will be good for the entire Maryland Heights business community due to increased visitors to the area.

Does the City have support of the County, the school districts and the fire districts for this development?

Yes, all have indicated that they can support the development of the Development Area.  These taxing jurisdictions are all represented on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee established to provide comment and recommendations for the City to consider on a wide range of issues as a final plan for the area is prepared and approved.

How are you going to keep the development area from turning into an “asphalt jungle”?

If development occurs, the City’s standards for development will balance our desires for green space with our strong commitments to sustainability.  Large amounts of the development area will be set aside as recreation and open space including green space, water, hiking/biking trails, parks, public spaces, trees, gathering areas and other amenities.