Bass Pro Shops in Sunset Hills expands to include boat sales and servicing

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A rendering of the proposed Bass Pro Shops in Sunset Hills.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Sunset Hills Bass Pro Shops currently under construction is expanding from its original proposal to include boat sales, rentals and servicing.

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen approved a conditional use permit Nov. 8 for a change in use at the site at 3600 S. Lindbergh Blvd. for the yet-to-be-opened outdoor sporting goods store to offer boat sales and rentals, along with the servicing bays. Bass Pro Shops, which took over the former spaces of Toys “R” us and Ross Dress for Less in the shopping center, recently acquired The Tile Shop and will now be designated as a larger Bass Pro “outdoor world” rather than an “outpost.” The acquisition of The Tile Shop space adds an additional 17,500-square-feet of space to the original 75,000-square-foot layout.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the conditional use permit at its October meeting.

During a public hearing on the CUP at the board’s November meeting, Ward 4 Alderman Fred Daues questioned if the store would be willing to work with surrounding residents in case of noise complaints from the boat servicing bays.

“I happen to be a boat owner and own a boat with an outboard motor and even though the newer outboards are much more quiet than older outboards, they still make a significant amount of noise. I understand that you all are going to do everything you can to mitigate certain problems such as keeping the garage doors closed,” Daues said. “What I would like to ensure, being a good neighbor here in Sunset Hills, which I know you will be, that in the event that there are noise complaints, that you all will do whatever is necessary to mitigate those complaints to the best of your ability.”

Michael Black, senior director of construction for Bass Pro Shops, said they would work with residents to ensure that the service bays would be as quiet as possible. The bays will be heated and air conditioned, so keeping the garage doors closed is a matter of both utility cost and consideration to surrounding residents. 

Actual storage of sales boats would not be on site, although where that would be has yet to be determined. Black said they were still working on finding a suitable property and it may or may not be in Sunset Hills.

The store hoped to be open by the end of last month when Bass Pro first proposed its plan to the city last fall, however the acquisition of The Tile Shop Space has set the opening back until at least April.

“If we can get a first and second reading tonight, we can be on track to open at the end of April. If we do not get that, then that will push our schedule another 30 days, it would put us into the end of May. It’s really important for us to open in kind of that springtime time frame there to get all those activities leading up to Memorial Day, spring fishing and so on,” Black said.

Eric Albers, Insight Design Architects principal, said Bass Pro was “working hand-in-hand” with St. Louis County and the Mehlville Fire Protection District for early review of The Tile Shop addition.

“We’re kind of in a mode to where if we do get a second reading we should have full approval very quickly with the local municipalities to allow us to get that permit to allow us to start demo and construction here in a few weeks,” Albers said.

During the bill’s first reading, Ward 2 Alderman Casey Wong motioned to amend the proposal to add a condition that the service bay garage doors be closed at all times except when necessary to mitigate noise, which was approved unanimously. The board suspended the rules for a second reading, which requires a unanimous vote to do, and approved the CUP 8-0.

“We’ll have a Bass Pro Shop opening in April, congratulations,” Mayor Pat Fribis said.