Commission hears plans for office building change in use, another car wash

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By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The St. Louis County Planning Commission heard two South County-based proposals at its meeting Nov. 14.

The first proposal was for a change in use for an office building at 5757 Lindbergh Blvd., just west of Five Oaks Parkway in Concord. The plan calls for a change in use to permit C-2 retail uses in the 18,000-square-foot building. The commission previously heard a plan for the site in the spring to allow for C-8 uses, which includes medical offices. However that plan fell through.

“We purchased the property a little over a year ago with the hopes of having a medical user occupy the entire building. Unfortunately after a couple of months of working with that, the deal didn’t pan out,” owner Nick Bahn of Bahn Real Estate said at the November public hearing. “We’ve been trying to attract other medical and office users … to backfill the property. Unfortunately since COVID, the office market as a whole has been hit pretty hard … so what we’re asking of you this evening is just the ability to add retail users as possible uses to fill … this building.”

As part of their efforts to attract new tenants, the parking lot will be resurfaced and restriped, as well as new landscaping but no other major changes are planned.

“This is the same site plan submitted earlier in the spring,” Mark Doering of Doering Engineering said. “All we’re asking for is a use change, we’re not changing the site plan … it’s a major refreshing of a worn-out property.”

During public comment on the petition, Chris Cuban, a resident and representative from the 82-home Five Oaks subdivision, said that his neighborhood was very pleased with the work Bahn had put into upgrading the property but that the neighborhood did not want to see a marijuana dispensary go into the building. Both Bahn and Doering said that there are currently no interested tenants but that if they were approached by a dispensary, they would be open to considering as permitted under county zoning.

“This property has been a problem property for many, many years … We’re very pleased with the new owners, how they’ve completely changed the retention basin … but the one concern that has been brought up by all of us … is a dispensary,” Cuban said. “We strongly encourage and support the revitalization of this building … and we do support what this owner is doing … the only stipulation that we request specifically is that there be no medical marijuana dispensary in that location.”

The second proposal in South County heard by the commission was a request for an amended C-8 planned commercial district to allow for an automated car wash with 20 vacuum bays at 4500 and 4504 Lemay Ferry Road. The tract is the site of a former Jack in the Box fast food restaurant and Jiffy Lube vehicle maintenance shop and totals 1.36 acres. The car wash would be a Club Car Wash.

“This would allow both parcels to be redeveloped into a very nice development and serve this area with a car wash,” Brandon Harp with Civil Engineering Design Consultants said.

North on Lemay Ferry from the proposed site is an existing Zip Car Wash at 3701 Southern Manor Drive and STL Wash at 3618 Lemay Ferry. South on Lemay Ferry is Classic Car Wash, 4800 Lemay Ferry Road.

“From my personal experience, I know that the traffic congestion in that area can be a real issue … getting in and out of the Sam’s center there and I’m concerned that this proposed car wash would only exacerbate those problems,” resident Connie Kuchar said during public comment. “We just don’t need the extra traffic so … I respectfully ask the board to deny this change.”

The commission will vote on the petitions at one of its future executive sessions.