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Two companies want to redevelop a portion of the historic Missouri State Penitentiary

The historic Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.
ABC 17 News
The historic Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.


Jefferson City has narrowed the field down to two potential companies to redevelop part of the historic Missouri State Penitentiary.

The General Assembly in 2017 passed a bill which conveyed a portion of the Missouri State Penitentiary to Jefferson City with the intention that the city would redevelop the property.

One the city finalized the agreement, the city created the Missouri State Penitentiary Community Partners, a group of local leaders who would decide on a developer for the project. The group met with the potential developers Monday, then invited the public to talk with the developers and provide feedback.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, a member of Missouri State Penitentiary Community Partners, said five developers submitted plans for the land, but the panel narrowed it down to the two that presented Monday.

One proposal came from The Farmer Company. Tergin said they submitted two options: one would include soccer fields, and the other would include a park. Both options include a convention center.

The second proposal came from Arcturis and Chesterfield Hotels. Their idea includes a hotel and convention center, retail and residential areas, a new ice arena, a potential new train station and an area for a steamboat museum on the river.

Brian Burmeister, a planner with Arcturis, told ABC17 News in an email that the group proposed a seven-story hotel with 150 rooms, a rooftop bar and a restaurant overlooking the Missouri River. He also proposed a mixed-use green space that he said could be used for community events such as farmer's markets and as a concert venue.

Farmer's Company did not respond to questions about its proposal.

"Both developers have given us their biggest and best and brightest ideas for what MSP could be," Tergin said. "So we will look at that and see what kind of redevelopment would best serve the area."

Tergin said most of the historic buildings at the prison site that are currently being used for tours are still owned by the state, and plans call for those buildings to remain standing. The partners are considering taking down two buildings depending on the developer's plans: the old shoe factory and Housing Unit 5.

"If they came down, it could possibly enhance the area," Tergin said. "Because it may not be feasible to refurbish those."

She believes developing the area next to the historic buildings will draw more people to visit and lead to more growth in the future.

"The intention is to keep the tours and the historic area so those tours can grow and continue," Tergin said.

Tergin said this could have a huge economic impact not only on Jefferson City, but the entire state.

"Thousands of people are coming to the historic penitentiary for tours and we see it grow exponentially over the years," Tergin said. "We know by adding this development it will only allow it to grow."

The written proposals from the developers are closed records. Tergin and city counselor Ryan Moelhman said they are working to see if there is a way to get the documents opened to the public so that anyone not at the meeting can provide feedback.

Tergin said the group will meet again at the beginning of January to go over the plans and review the public's comments. She doesn't have an exact timeline for when a decision will be made but expects it to happen in early 2020.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City
city of
economic development
missouri state penitentiary

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Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


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