City moves forward with development of Missouri State Penitentiary

1 week 5 days 9 hours ago Tuesday, August 06 2019 Aug 6, 2019 Tuesday, August 06, 2019 1:57:00 PM CDT August 06, 2019 in News
By: Maggie Madro, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - Groups involved in the development of the historic Missouri State Penitentiary met Tuesday to discuss the next steps in the process.

The state of Missouri sold 31.28 acres of the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) to Jefferson City in 2018. Now the city has four developers that will come up with proposals for what to do with the space. Those developers include Americo Life, Jefferson City Vision Partners, Farmer Companies and Chesterfield Hotels paired with Arcturis, Peckham Architecture and Central Missouri Profession Services.

"Since then (2018) the city and state have been working toward finding a developer to redevelop the area and turn it back to a useful purpose," Jefferson City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said.

Moehlman added there is a lot of potential for what can be created in that area. 

"It could range anywhere from residential uses, to office uses, commercial uses, hotel convention centers is something a lot of people are thinking about for that area," Moehlman said. "So the possibilities are really kind of up in the air and endless. So I'm just excited to see what the developers propose."

The prison has been closed since 2004 but offers guided tours to help generate revenue for the state and keep the history alive. Right now no tours are being offered due to storm damage from the May 22 tornado.

The Communications and Film Manager for the Jefferson City Convention and Visitor Bureau, Brittney Mormann, said last year the prison generated $2.5 million dollars for Jefferson City. She said that as of right now the area the city owns does not generate any profit. 

Moehlman said the area owned by the city will be developed so that it can also generate a profit and be enjoyed by residents and tourists.

"I want something that is going to be useful not only for visitors to Jefferson City but also to the people that live here so something that has enough to offer everyone that wants to enjoy the area," Moehlman said.

Once developers have submitted a complete proposal they will be compensated up to $10,000. The next step will be for the city to pick a proposal and move forward with it. Moehlman said this is likely happen by spring of 2020.

The portion the city owns is mostly surrounded by the prison walls as well as the building referred to as the Old Shoe Factory. 

The Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau tourism tax will pay the possible $40 thousand to those developers. 

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