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Crestwood Hopes Fourth Time's The Charm For Old Mall Site

The demolition of the old Crestwood mall was completed in 2017, but some signs remain on the property.
Wayne Pratt
St. Louis Public Radio
The demolition of the old Crestwood mall was completed in 2017, but signs remain on the property.

Crestwood officials are hopeful they finally have a redevelopment plan for the old mall site that will stick.

The city is in the initial planning and financing stages for a retail, restaurant and housing project on a nearly 50-acre site in the heart of Crestwood along Watson Road.

Two big-name local companies are combining on the project: Dierbergs Markets and McBride Homes. The grocery chain wants to build a roughly 70,000-square-foot store, along with other retail and eating establishments. The homebuilder has plans for nearly 80 new houses.

“There’s no doubt in our minds about the wherewithal of those two entities — the strength of those two entities — to get this done,” said Crestwood City Administrator Kris Simpson.

“If you look around, the two things that have been going well in this economy with COVID occurring are grocery stores and housing,” he added.

The lack of visible action on the now empty space in the middle of Crestwood has prompted questions from many about what is going on with the nearly 50 acres.
Wayne Pratt
Wayne Pratt
The nearly 50-acre property in the middle of Crestwood is vacant after three development deals fell through.

It is the fourth plan for the property in less than a decade.

Dierbergs and McBride are acquiring the land from UrbanStreet Group in Chicago, which couldn’t line up enough tenants.

That followed efforts by another Chicago-based developer, Centrum. But it had a tough time securing financing.

Initially, St. Louis-based Walpert Properties found enough businesses that wanted to move in, but the money part fell through because of the pandemic.

None of the companies in those proposed deals planned to be operating on the property once it was developed, but this deal is different.

“Dierbergs and McBride are going to occupy the site, and so that is a big, big question mark that’s been filled in on this project,” Simpson said.

The proposal involving McBride and Dierbergs was announced last month, and both companies were upbeat about the possibilities.

“We know the Crestwood community will love seeing this area come to life again,” Dierbergs Markets President and CEO Greg Dierberg said in a statement.

And the high profile of the property was not lost on John F. Ellermann Jr., CEO and Chairman of McBride Homes.

“This is the most exciting piece of ground in the Crestwood area,” he said in the same statement.

There are still several steps before the massive project becomes reality. They include setting up a Tax Increment Financing commission and rezoning considerations.

Simpson said all approvals should be complete in June or July, barring any unforeseen problems.

The city has been looking to get something built on the land for roughly a decade. The final stores closed in 2013, and demolition work wrapped up in 2017.

Wayne is the morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.