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Board picks developer for Crestwood project


July 06, 2005 - The Sappington Square Corp. has been selected by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen to redevelop the southeast corner of Watson and Old Sappington roads.

The Sappington Square Corp. is proposing a nearly $12 million redevelopment of the 5.7-acre site that is comprised of six properties containing a muffler repair shop, two multi-tenant retail centers, two residential properties and a vacant lot.

The Board of Aldermen voted 7-0 last week with Ward 3 Alderman Don Maddox absent to select the Sappington Square Corp. as the developer of the site. Aldermen voted unanimously in May to issue a request for proposals to redevelop the site despite the possibility that the use of eminent domain might be sought.

Bob Brinkmann of Brinkmann Constructors, representing the Sappington Square Corp., asked the city to initiate the RFP process. Sappington Square, which controls roughly 93 percent of the proposed redevelopment area, was the only developer to respond to the city's RFP.

The developer is proposing to redevelop the site by constructing four new buildings that will be leased and occupied by retail, service and restaurant uses. Besides the selection of Sappington Square as developer for the project, aldermen voted June 28 to:

Approve a preliminary funding agreement with the Sappington Square Corp. Under the agreement, the developer will advance the city $54,500 to pay for planning studies, reports and legal documents associated with the redevelopment project.

Approve a technical services agreement with the city's planning consultant, Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets Inc. "to assess the potential for redevelopment of certain properties located at the southeast corner of Old Sappington and Watson, the potential for creation of a Community Im-provement District in the project area and the potential for designation of the project area as 'blighted' under (the) Urban Redevelopment Corporations Law 'Chapter 353,''' according to a memo from City Administrator Don Greer to Mayor Roy Robinson and the Board of Aldermen. PGAV's services will cost $16,000 and be funded through the preliminary funding agreement.

Approve a technical services agreement with Crawford, Bunte Brammeier for a traffic impact study in conjunction with the proposed redevelopment project. The study, according to the memo from Greer to Robinson and the Board of Aldermen, would "determine the number of trips generated by the proposed development, identify the impact these trips would have and evaluate the need for roadway improvements to mitigate these impacts.

"In addition, a potential cross access with the Schnucks property located east of the proposed development will be evaluated with regard to its feasibility. In particular, the study will provide a technical basis to support the city's efforts to ensure the project will not negatively impact traffic in surrounding neighborhoods,'' Greer wrote.

CBB's services will cost $8,500 and be funded through the preliminary funding agreement.

Some aldermen raised concerns about the possibility of eminent domain.

Richard Robinson of CB Richard Ellis Inc. represented the developer at the meeting and in response to a question from Ward 4 Alderman Joe O'Keefe, noted that the developer has control of five of the six parcels. The only parcel not under control is a 0.53-acre parcel on the corner, he said.

Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe asked Richard Robinson if he anticipated any problems acquiring the remaining 7 percent of the property Sappington Square doesn't control.

"Well, we hope not,'' he said. "We're trying to negotiate at this time with that party and have made a written offer to that effect.''

Duwe asked about the possibility of eminent domain.

Robinson said, "I can't say at this point. We have not gotten a response to our written offer. We certainly hope there would not be a need for that.''

Noting that Sappington Square would like to reach an agreement on friendly terms, Richard Robinson said, "It is a little complicated in that the trust that controls that has 20 beneficiaries and it's hard for 20 folks a lot of times to agree, especially when it's been in the trust for such a long time. So that complicates matters, unfortunately quite a bit ...''

The acquisition plan included with Sappington Square's redevelopment proposal acknowledged that it controlled five of the six parcels at the site.

"Unfortunately, good-faith efforts have been made, to no avail, by the redeveloper to acquire the sixth parcel, commonly known as 9596 Watson Road (and) owned fee simple by the Marguerite Crain Trust,'' the plan states. "It is anticipated that this real property will need to be acquired via eminent domain by the city of Crestwood on behalf of the redeveloper. In order to adhere to the project schedule, this action may need to commence by Sept. 1, 2005, following or concurrent with the redeveloper's anticipated exercise of its options for the other five parcels.''

While Sappington Square anticipates that none of the buildings currently on the site will remain, "Subject to city of Crestwood's approval, redeveloper is planning to preserve and move the Mark Sappington House, built in 1848, to a residential lot located on Pardee Road south of Watson Road. Redeveloper is currently determining all costs in-volved in such a move. Redeveloper also is in close communication with a Sappington family representative who is very appreciative of efforts to preserve this historic house.''

Nearby residents are concerned about traffic on Old Sappington Road and Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding asked Richard Robinson, "Can you live without that Old Sappington egress/ingress or is that a deal-breaker?''

Richard Robinson replied, "Well, unfortunately, it's a deal-breaker with the retailers that might be interested in the site. One handicap is the median on Watson, which does not allow a left-turn access into the center. But then if Old Sappington were closed off in addition, it would really not make it a viable corner for a retail development.''

Greer later said, "... One of the things that we were insistent upon for this project to move forward was the hiring of a traffic engineer to study the impact. What is that going to mean to the intersection? What's it going to mean to Old Sappington Road? ... That site is a very valuable site for development or for redevelopment, but we're also very sensitive to and continue to be very sensitive to the concerns that the residents have voiced over the years with regard to the traffic on Old Sappington ...''

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