Board postpones selecting firm to operate Sappington Barn

City receives eight proposals to operate Sappington Barn

By Kari Williams

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen voted to postpone awarding a contract to operate the Sappington Barn Center facility, opting for the city’s Park Board to discuss and recommend one of eight submitted proposals.

The submitted proposals include: Sappington Park Grille; Masterpeace Studios; The Sappington House Restaurant; an unnamed specialty bakery and restaurant; Fozzie’s Sandwich Emporium; Gardeners Grove; The Barn; and Freewater @ Sappington.

Justin and Shelby Shire proposed Sappington Park Grille, which would be a full-service restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and private events.

The Shires also are interested in hosting or sponsoring a “Crestwood Days” event, with a percentage of proceeds donated to “a particular city need,” according to their proposal. If feasible, the Shires also proposed a “satellite beverage service area built into the shed between the barn and library.”

Masterpeace Studios, submitted by Meg Krejci, is a not-for-profit organization with a focus on “stress reduction, yoga, mindfulness, art activities, nutrition and healing arts,” according to the submitted proposal.

Krejci proposed adding an open art/air studio and healthy food services.

“Our addition of the open art/air studios would be a nice addition to the Sappington Barn Center and also serve the bike path,” the proposal stated. “Our menu of healthy snacks and green smoothies would also serve the Grant’s Trail passers and our mission of healthy living through the arts.”

The Sappington House proposal, submitted by Mike Matthes, is for a breakfast and lunch venue with afternoon tea and wine and cheese events in the early evening and availability for special events.

Additional uses listed in the proposal include: pumpkin patch and mum sale; Christmas tree lot; farmers market; Grant’s Trail events; antique car clubs; snow-cone and soft-serve stands.

Doll Sass and Sherry Dauphin submitted the proposal for a specialty bakery and restaurant. The business would serve breakfast and lunch, sell bakery goods and offer catering for special occasions.

Mark Lucas submitted the Fozzie’s Sandwich Emporium proposal. The business currently is established in Richmond Heights, and Lucas wants to expand to the Sappington Barn Center. The proposal includes the possibility of hosting a summer/fall concert series, community fairs and holiday celebrations.

Gardeners Grove, submitted by James and Janet Quinn, proposes a cafe and wine garden that will include: soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts, wine, beer, specialty teas, coffee and soft drinks. The cafe also would “focus on private parties, weddings and catering, corporate and special events,” the proposal stated. Themed dinner parties would be offered and a concession stand would be by Grant’s trail “to capitalize on the biker population,” according to the response.

The Barn, submitted by Karen Mott, proposes a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and special events. Mott would intend to establish a scholarship fund “for local students pursuing careers in hospitality” and host local fundraising events.

Stephen and Elaine Gruener and Brett Tintera submitted the Freewater @ Sappington proposal. The business, “built upon the ever-emerging fresh, local and green concepts,” includes uses for a farmers market, a live, acoustic music series, an art show and a plant swap, according to the proposal.

Three of the proposals — Sappington Park Grille, the Sappington House Restaurant and the specialty bakery/restaurant — offer the city a percent of gross of either 2 percent or 3 percent, which Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel said he would not find acceptable.

Another potential tenant, Masterpeace Studios, located in Crestwood Court’s ArtSpace, is a not-for-profit and did not offer any compensation to the city.

“I would not consider any of those four,” Miguel said. “Now, obviously, some other members of the board may think differently. But my question to everybody that submitted a proposal would be, ‘Why do you think you can make this work when so many others before you have failed?'”

Ward 4 Alderman Dan Tennessen said the board should keep in mind it should look at selecting a proposal “as a business incubator type of decision.”

“This is a site that has, I’d say, has been poorly performing for many years, and it takes a while to establish what I call a presence people want to come back to,” Tennessen said. “We should not come in thinking we’re going to charge top dollar.”

Seven of the eight proposals, according to Miguel, are similar to past businesses — soup, salad and sandwich shops. One proposal, Fozzie’s Sandwich Emporium, stood out to Miguel because it has another operation in Richmond Heights, but raised questions because of its revenue projection of more than $1 million a year.

“If that were on Watson Road, and a national and a brand name, I could understand those numbers,” Miguel said. “I have a hard time understanding those numbers for that location when no one else has been able to make it there in the eight years that I’ve been on this board.”

Representatives who submitted proposals were not present Aug. 14.