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Chesterfield Grapples With Two Outlet Malls

How does the existing Chesterfield Mall factor in?

Extensive scenarios for two new outlet malls in Chesterfield Valley had city leaders and staff working this week to strike a balance among developers' demands, city codes and quality of life issues.

The city's Planning and Public Works Committee combed through plans in one room at City Hall, while at the same time the city's Architectural Review Board examined details for a second proposed outlet mall in another.

The plans for two outlet malls in what was once known as Gumbo Flats and under 12 feet of water in 1993, came to the attention of residents in recent weeks with one outlets developer

 is asking for the tax help, and wants to build the larger of the two malls—a so-called Premium mall—on 190 acres at the Chesterfield side of the Boone Bridge over the Missouri River.

The plans for the larger mall show eight buildings circled by a racetrack-shaped border located beside Highway 40/64 on the south side—next to a pumpkin farm and gravel plant.

The other outlet mall, somewhat smaller and opposite the Walmart in Chesterfield Valley, is proposed by developer T-O Ventures. It's located on the north side of Highway 40/64 at Boones Crossing on a narrow strip of property between the exit and Hardee's Iceplex.

Officials debated elements of the site plans for both malls.

T-O Ventures mall

The proposal for this smaller of the two outlet malls on 48.6 acres of property shows a long rectangular building with a pedestrian walkway lengthwise down the center, and towers at both ends.

Members of the city council on the planning committee questioned the appearance of the outlet mall primarily from the north side—facing the levee bike trail just 100 feet from the building.

"We spent so much money on the trail," said Connie Fults, city councilmember committee chair. Access to the levee trail would be preserved at either end of the mall, and a bike rack added at the west end.

The levee side of the mall has four garbage stations, employee parking and bus/RV parking. The trail sits six feet above the ground level of the mall. The garbage is surrounded by 9-foot high walls, developers said.

The strip of property remaining between the trail and the back parking lot would be planted with grass. No trees are allowed in that restricted levee zone as designated by the Army Corps of Engineers, according to engineer and city Director of Planning, Public Works and Parks Mike Geisel.

The building is primarily painted concrete, with some brick and decorative stone. No single store would be more than 25,000 square feet.

The majority of parking—some 2,090 spots—surrounds the front of the mall facing North Outer Forty and the highway. Trees would be planted in the parking lot, according to plans.

Council member Matt Segal said he applauded the proposed LED lighting for the parking lot—as energy efficient. Apparently some questioned whether LED meant neon lighting, which it is not, Segal pointed out.

Adjacent roadways and medians would be reworked, adding designated turn lanes and a traffic signal to the "T" intersection where North Outer Forty meets the highway exit. A road on the eastern end of the mall would be upgraded, officials said.

The plan would next go before the City Council at large.

Premium mall

The eight buildings for this racetrack-style mall use much of the same materials as the other—concrete, and brick-like concrete—on 55 acres of the total property facing Highway 40/64. However, the entrance is from the opposite side, via a highway exit and a new boulevard which appeared to follow the route of Olive Street Road.

Parking is outside the racetrack loop. Again, there are some towers up to 65 feet tall, with a band of color glass lit dimly from the inside. One Architectural Review Board member described it as a "beacon," like the notion of a lighthouse.

A food court sits at the center of the complex. Walkways are outdoors. Developers predicted an $85 million price tag in October 2011, with an end-of-2013 opening.

A one percent sales tax increase for this mall would be the result of the creation of a special tax district (CID). Chesterfield City Council would have to approve it.

Consumers at the mall would potentially pay 9.3 percent tax on the dollar, with the tax revenue reimbursing developers and the debt to build the mall.

Woodmont Outlets is leading this mall project as a division of a Fort Worth, Texas-based investment and brokerage company. Clayton resident Dean Wolfe, a former developer for May Department Stores, is part of the team.

Other stores in Chesterfield Valley already charge shoppers an 8.3 percent sales tax as part of a special transportation development district (TDD) tax. 

 is lower still, at 7.95 percent on the dollar.

City officials said this project would return with specific proposals for signs and lighting, for example, which could lead to some trade-offs between developers and the city, in order to get the okay to build.

The Premium mall is surround by another 135 acres where developers said they would like to see a hotel and office buildings.

Competition

A spokesman for Chesterfield Mall testified last year before City Council that the vision of outlet malls so nearby proved troubling. He indicated leasing retail space at outlets worked differently than the Mall.

A spokesperson for the larger of the two malls answered that by saying they were to be located six miles or more from Chesterfield Mall, which studies showed was preferable.

The T-O Venture project, the smaller of the two outlets, is closer to Chesterfield Mall by perhaps a couple of miles. They indicated the stores would be different than those at the Mall.

Edd Huetteman March 10, 2012 at 01:58 PM
We don't need to subsidize a business venture. Adding sales tax makes not sense to me. Aren't there enough stores, already??

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