Board OKs CUP for Fifth Third Bank branch

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen recently voted unanimously to approve ordinances granting a subdivision plat and conditional-use permit to Fifth Third Bank for the construction of a branch at 9550 Watson Road in the Sappington Square retail center.

The 4,200 square-foot bank will be built on a 0.76-acre lot at the northeast corner of the 5.61-acre center. Construction is projected to be completed within a year.

Sappington Square is owned by Pulaski Bank, which was the lender for the site’s previous owner, Sappington Square LLC, until the bank foreclosed on the property and purchased it at public auction last December.

The retail center opened in 2008 but has never reached full occupancy.

It currently houses four tenants: Starbucks, FedEx Kinko’s, Great Clips and Creve Coeur Camera.

A Panchero’s Mexican Restaurant and the Ink Stop printer store closed earlier this year.

In late 2006, the board voted to establish a $2.5 million community improvement district, or CID, on the property to help fund a roughly $13 million redevelopment of the property.

The CID is funded by a 1-percent sales tax on purchases made at Sappington Square businesses. Specifically, the CID revenue is meant to fund such infrastructure upgrades as stormwater-prevention improvements, traffic improvements, parking-lot construction and landscaping.

However, Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel noted at the July 27 board meeting that banks don’t generate sales tax revenue and indicated the forthcoming Fifth Third branch would not help pay off the $2.5 million Sappington Square CID.

Pulaski Bank attorney Kevin King said he agreed with Miguel but contended the request from Fifth Third Bank was the “first time we’ve had anything of real excitement in the eight months that we’ve owned” Sappington Square.

King hopes the new bank will generate further interest in the property from retailers. He said Pulaski Bank wants to get Sappington Square “leased up” and eventually sell it to another developer.