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State approves loan, tax credits for Heer's

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Last edited Sept. 22, 1:13 p.m.

Heer’s building owner Kevin McGowan has cleared a major hurdle in the redevelopment of the downtown Springfield landmark.

The Missouri Development Finance Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary resolution for a $1 million loan funneled through the city to fill the final gap of a financing plan as well as up to $5 million in historic tax credits to restore the vacant structure.

This is a mighty step forward for the Heer’s building,” McGowan said this morning.

Other financing in hand for the $29.3 million Heer’s Tower project is a $2 million small-business development loan from the city of Springfield. City Council approved that loan Aug. 23.

McGowan now will apply for an $11.8 million U.S. Housing and Urban Devlopment-backed loan, the project’s largest single method of financing.

McGowan said he believed it noteworthy that the project finally is starting to gain ground during what he called the toughest time for real estate development since the Great Depression.

It’s a testimony to all the good people to help make it happen,” said McGowan, who is developing the building property under Heer’s Building LLC with his wife, Erin, and her father, St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon.

Two representatives of the Missouri Development Finance Board are from the Springfield area.

The entire board was very positive about the project,” said Danette Proctor, a Missouri Development Finance Board member and co-owner of D-4 Investments LLC in Willard. “If it wasn’t for what we put in, the project probably wouldn’t go. We’re just tickled to death to help.”

Proctor worked at the Heer’s department store in women’s retail sales during the early 1970s while attending Missouri State University.

Board chairwoman Marie Carmichael, of Springfield, said the board was solidly behind the project because of the historic significance for Springfield and the redevelopment factor.

Our board has participated in projects like this in other communities,” Carmichael said. “Our participation is key to taking it over the top.”

Carmichael said the amount, while a small piece overall, was vital to project completion.

We set out a term sheet. We approved our participation in the project,” said Carmichael, co-owner of Affordable Homes Development Inc. “Every other piece of the financing will be nailed down before (the state) money comes into the project. If he fulfills those terms, all the closings will happen simultaneously.”

McGowan now faces an Oct. 6 application deadline for HUD financing.

McGowan bought the iconic eight-story, 150,000-square-foot building from the city for $3 million in November 2007. A year later, he revealed renovation plans for a Mike Shannon’s Steak & Seafood restaurant and apartments.

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