Bass Pro Shops coming to Sunset Hills with the help of tax incentives

Aldermen amend 1-percent CID sales tax for Bass Pro

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A rendering of the proposed store.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

Bass Pro Shops will open its third location in the St. Louis-area in Sunset Hills with the help of tax incentives, after the Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the amendment of a community improvement district in a meeting last week. 

The Board of Aldermen voted 8-0 Aug. 24 to amend the existing Shoppes at Sunset Hills Community Improvement District for outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops, who announced Aug. 10 it will develop its third store in the region in the vacant Toys “R” Us, 3600 S. Lindbergh Blvd. 

The board had previously approved the creation of a 40-year, 1-percent CID sales tax for the location in March, when Amazon Fresh was supposedly eyeing the site for a new grocery store. The previous CID agreement required that a grocer occupy at least 25,000 square feet of space while the amended agreement requires a retailer occupying at least 60,000 square feet. 

“We tried desperately for two years to get (a grocer). Several members of this current board and the previous board worked with us … to get the CID passed, to give us a fighting chance to bring the grocery store here,” said Sansone Group representative Mark Kornfeld. “The fact of the matter is, we’re not any closer. … The positive thing, the grocery’s delay has allowed us to bring a user like Bass Pro Shops. … Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be and we think that we’ve found a partnership with a group that provides an even bigger benefit to the city.” 

The original CID approved for the grocer required some of the revenue generated from the sales tax be used to fund access to the development from West Watson Road. Under the amended agreement, the West Watson access is no longer required.

“I would think that a Bass Pro would generate more traffic than an Amazon Fresh. … Why is the Watson Road egress not included in this current CID,” questioned Daues. 

According to Sansone’s representatives, the Watson Road access was a condition that the grocer had placed as a prerequisite for the project to help with tractor-trailer traffic from delivery trucks, not to alleviate customer traffic. Additionally, automotive store Midas sits on a portion of the site that would be reconfigured for the Watson Road access. No cross-access agreement has been reached between Midas and the developer yet. 

The Watson Road access could still be enacted as a requirement during the amended development plan process depending on the results of a forthcoming traffic study and if a cross-access agreement can be reached.  

“If we put it in the CID now and make it a condition … and we are unable to get that access on Watson, because … We do not have any rights to take part of the parcel. … Are we ready to walk away from the Bass Pro development if we can’t get access,” Sanson representative Grant Mechlin said. “In our opinion, no. We would like to try to find a way to make it work.” 

One condition from the previous CID that remains part of the amended agreement is the development of cross-access between the Bass Pro Shops and Helen Fitzgerald’s next store. The cross-access would be required to be constructed within six months of opening the store.