Crestwood aldermen OK Big Bend Crossing CUP

Sale of lot requires approval from Sam’s Club

By BURKE WASSON

The city of Crestwood has done all it can to bring new business to Big Bend Crossing — now it appears that the rest is up to Novus Development Co. President Jonathan Browne and Sam’s Club.

Aldermen last week unanimously approved an ordinance allowing for a conditional-use permit to construct a mixed medical/retail building on Lot 1 of Big Bend Crossing. The two-story building will have retail on its first floor and a Metropolitan Urological Specialists office on its second floor.

At this point, all that is left to complete the sale of that lot from Big Bend Crossing — a Novus subsidiary company — to Hensley Construction is Sam’s Club’s approval and then Browne’s signature.

Brad Cytron, an attorney for Metropolitan Urological Specialists, told aldermen last week that he expects Sam’s corporate representatives to approve non-retail use at that lot in the near future.

“Right now, the only other major contingency at this point has to do with Sam’s,” Cytron said. “Because of the declaration of restrictions that were imposed on this development, Sam’s has the right to approve any non-retail use on that site as well as the plans for construction on that site. That is negotiated back when Sam’s came into the project. And unfortunately, the person who was handling this for Sam’s left the company and there was about a three-week period where there was really nobody overseeing this. We’re still going through that.

“We now have a person, an engineer, at Sam’s who’s looking at it. Sam’s general manager at Sam’s Club as well as the head pharmacist at that Sam’s location have both endorsed this project. And we should have that approval. Hopefully, this week. And that’s the only other issue at this point. But we really have not had any indication from Sam’s if they’re not going to approve it. It’s just that we want to get in writing what we need. And it may involve an amendment, as well, to our declaration of restrictions. So that’s the only issue.”

“You don’t see them coming up with any restrictions on the property that would prevent you from wanting to go forward on this at this point?” Ward 4 Alderman Steve Nieder asked Cytron. “Have they raised anything?”

“They have not raised anything yet,” Cytron said. “They’re still reviewing our plans right now.”

Once Sam’s approval is in place, then much of the contingencies in Hensley Construction’s contract with Browne will be satisfied.

“We don’t have really any reason to think that there’s going to be an issue,” Cytron said. “For the most part, the plans comply with the restrictions. There’s only one issue that’s major and it’s parking. Sam’s has a very heightened parking requirement. I guess originally they were hoping to prevent a situation where the development would utilize its parking or people would go over and park in their lot to the detriment of their own customers.

“The way this has been designed, we don’t think that’s going to be an issue at all. They have a 12-to-1,000 parking ratio that they proposed on this particular site, which exceeds the city standards. So we believe we have plenty of parking. We’ve done enough parking to comply with the city code. And that’s one of the issues they’re looking at right now.”

Aldermen previously amended the city’s contract with Novus to ensure that Lot 1, where the medical/retail building will be constructed, is properly zoned for that use.

In the city’s original contract with Novus, Lot 1 was designated for retail stores, restaurants or a hotel.

Big Bend Crossing, a $20 million project spread across 17 acres southwest of Big Bend Boulevard and Interstate 44, has been a source of controversy since Novus sued the city in 2002.

Browne originally filed suit after aldermen rejected his request to approve First Community Credit Union on Lot 3 of Big Bend Crossing. That lawsuit is still ongoing, although Mayor Roy Robinson recently stated he believes it is closer to being settled.