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University City, Mo. (July 11, 2019)--The St. Louis County Circuit Court has ruled that the City of University City rather than a developer is the owner of approximately two acres of land near Olive Blvd. and North and South Road.
The developer, Tim O'Donnell, paid University City $100,000 for the land on May 12, 2016, with the intent to develop it and secure a microbrewery, Senn Bierwerks, as a commercial tenant. The price was considerably less than the fair market value because of the economic development benefits University City would receive from the project.
Senn Bierwerks announced on June 15, 2017 that it would not be opening at the site because it was unable to resolve remaining details. The developer attempted to locate another microbrewery without success, concluding that the St. Louis marker was oversaturated with microbrewery developments.
“We are obviously pleased that the court ruled in our favor. We have always contended that the city was the rightful owner of the property,” City Manager Gregory Rose said.
The developer notified University City on September 27, 2017 that he received a $975,000 offer for the property which he intended to accept unless University City paid him $975,000 for the property. University City declined and filed a lawsuit against the developer on October 12, 2017. The parties filed motions for summary judgment and the St. Louis County Circuit Court ruled in favor of University City on July 9, 2019.
University City contended that the April 27, 2016 purchase and sale agreement with the developer signed by former City Manager Lehman Walker was not authorized and therefore void because it did not include a provision required and voted on by the City Council on April 18, 2016 that University City would buy back the property for $100,000 if ground breaking did not occur within one year of closing. The Court agreed with University City's position and ruled that University City is entitled to the land upon refunding the $100,000 purchase price to the developer.Read the judgement here: Summary Judgement