South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Agreement reached on Gravois Road site

The site of a county-approved subdivision of more than 400 homes along Gravois Road across from Grant’s Farm now could be home instead to an expanded Cor Jesu Academy and a retirement community.

The all-girls Catholic school that borders the property in question, a 94.4-acre plot that was once planned for a subdivision, now will be purchased by Cor Jesu and Erickson Retirement

Communities, according to Cor Jesu Academy officials.

Both purchases from the land’s current owner, Andy Busch, are contingent on the County Council’s approval of zoning for the retirement community.

That approval of zoning also would result in Cor Jesu officials adding 15 acres to its school and doubling the size of the current campus with expansions of both classrooms and athletic facilities.

“We are very happy and grateful to both Andy Busch and Erickson Retirement Communities for negotiating the land purchase,” Cor Jesu President Sister Barbara Thomas stated in a news release. “And all of us are very pleased with the results.

“We believe the additional 15 acres will give us the flexibility we need to stay in the forefront of educating and developing female students by offering them the most complete educational experience available in the St. Louis area. The increased size of our campus will enable us to provide the state-of-the-art facilities so essential to top academic institutions, including new science labs, field house, fine arts center, and other facilities to meet the needs of today’s top students. We will also be expanding our athletic facilities and fields.”

Busch originally agreed in November 2005 to sell the 94.4-acre plot to the Gravois Co. — a collection of local home builders — for $23.6 million.

The County Council subsequently adopted two ordinances in May 2006 approving zoning and a planned-environment unit, or PEU, on Busch’s property for the 439-home Villages at Grant’s Trail subdivision.

Each measure was approved 5-2 with then-5th District Councilman Kurt Odenwald, R-Shrewsbury, and then-3rd District Councilman Skip Mange, R-Town and Country, opposed.

But in June 2006, a group of Grantwood Village residents, who live across from the property in question, filed suit against the county. Their lawsuit contended that the county’s PEU ordinance would only allow for a maximum of 363 homes at the site of the Villages at Grant’s Trail instead of the planned 439.

The lawsuit also sought a permanent in-junction to prevent the County Council from approving the PEU.

The St. Louis County Circuit Court is expected to issue a ruling on the lawsuit by the end of the year. Besides halting Busch’s sale to the Gravois Co., the lawsuit also stopped a pending sale between the Gravois Co. and Cor Jesu.

The developers had agreed to sell four acres to Cor Jesu for the school’s further expansion of athletic fields.

Because the lawsuit stopped Busch’s sale to the Gravois Co., Cor Jesu was not able to meet the Aug. 21, 2006, deadline to sign the agreement.

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