Bass Pro could be ‘city center’ anchor

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A rendering of the proposed store.

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

With the potential addition of a Bass Pro Shops in Sunset Hills, the Economic Development Committee began discussing ways for an overall development plan to capitalize on the income such a business would bring.

In the past, a new position to manage large developments was proposed within the Sunset Hills government, but the committee felt incurring the cost associated with that wouldn’t make sense for the time being. Instead, city staff will search for a firm that specializes in one-time large development projects to help the city out.

City Administrator Brittany Gillett said she has been in contact with an economic consulting firm called Fourth Economy, who gave her a rundown of the services they provide.

“They work with communities for these one-time large developments … and help them build around that,” Gillett said. “That could be looking at our zoning map, talking about incentives for other businesses — it’s a long list of what the city can do to try and incentivize or attract certain other businesses that would fit around Bass Pro.”

The process would take about three to five months and would include workshops and public hearings, discussions with other developers and a survey of the region to look at similar developments. The cost associated with using the firm would run anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000.

Gillett said the review would include parts of Watson Road and Lindbergh Boulevard and would look at making Bass Pro a “city center.”

Bass Pro Shops, an outdoor retailer, announced Aug. 10 that it would develop its third store in the St. Louis region in the vacant Toys “R” Us, 3600 S. Lindbergh Blvd., in Sunset Hills.

In September, the Board of Aldermen unanimously amended the existing Shoppes at Sunset Hills Community Improvement District specifically for Bass Pro. The 40-year, 1-percent CID sales tax for the location had been created in March when Amazon Fresh was supposedly eyeing the site for a new grocery store before that fell through. 

Bass Pro is currently conducting a traffic study of the area — to be completed in about a month — and has yet to sign a lease, so the committee will decide on the best move after the traffic study is completed at the earliest. 

“I don’t know if the traffic study will be completed by our meeting next month but I’d like to see … what on paper we’re going to get … and I think we’re going to learn a lot from the traffic study,” Ward 2 Alderman Christine Lieber said. “I think we can maybe come up with a gameplan after that.”

Staff will continue to research firms and will also contact St. Charles for information on the implementation of its Bass Pro.