City reviews traffic studies, consultants for Bass Pro development

Aldermen direct staff to research consulting firms


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

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen voted in November to move forward with exploring different economic consulting firms that can assist the city as it prepares for the development of a new Bass Pro Shops. 

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen voted 4-4 at the Nov. 9 board meeting to move forward with directing city staff to research different consulting firms that can help with the Bass Pro development. Mayor Pat Fribis broke the tie in favor of moving forward. 

The Springfield, Missouri-based outdoor retailer announced in August that it would open its third location in the St. Louis area in the vacant Toys “R” Us at 3600 Lindbergh Blvd., — part of the Shoppes of Sunset Hills shopping center. 

Some aldermen expressed that they would prefer to wait until the December meeting – when the traffic study about the proposed development was slated to be wrapped up – to move forward with looking into a firm. Ward 4 Alderman Thompson Price, who sits on the Economic Development Committee, said that regardless of the Bass Pro Shops proposal, the city needed to look into development options for that area.  

“Bass Pro is absolutely what drove us to look at this and at least get started with it. … But the reality is …. this is more than just Bass Pro Shops. We may or may not get Bass Pro Shops. But we certainly should be looking into what the options are and what different consultants can bring to the table. … And waiting 30 days, or 60 days or nine months, it just doesn’t make sense. … Right now we have a little lull … and I think it’s a perfect opportunity to figure out what’s available to us.” 

Planning recommends approval

In January, the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed a traffic study returned to the city by Bass Pro Shops, as well as the its redevelopment plan for 3600 Lindbergh Blvd. According to the results of the study, the existing intersection going into the shopping center has the capacity to serve the development, however, there are concerns about the “weaving condition” on Lindbergh Boulevard coming from Watson Road to the center. That condition could be alleviated by a second entrance to the shopping center from Watson Road, however the property for a second entrance belong to an auto repair shop and a restaurant, and both did not agree to a request from the petitioner to purchase the property to obtain Watson Road access. 

Sansone Group Managing Director Grant Mechlin said that the efforts to gain access from Watson Road predate the Bass Pro proposal. Sansone Group oversees the property. 

“The previous tenant we had been working with two years ago … we’ve been pursuing this access off Watson. … We’ve spent a considerable amount of time working with the existing retailers … on the property to try to have some shared access scenario. To date we have not been able to reach an agreement with either of them,” Mechlin said. 

After some further discussion, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the redevelopment of the property to the Board of Aldermen, with several conditions, including obtaining necessary approvals from the Mehlville Fire Protection District and Metropolitan Sewer District, continuing to work on adding a second entrance off Watson Road and the installation an 8-foot fence between the back of the building and the property line where it abuts to residential property. 

The planning panel was slated to review the proposal with some revisions at its Feb. 2 meeting, after The Call went to press.