A representative of the company seeking to redevelop the southeast corner of Wat-son and Old Sappington roads recently pledged that eminent domain would be used only as a last resort.
The Crestwood Board of Aldermen re-cently gave preliminary approval to Sap-pington Square’s proposal for a nearly $12 million redevelopment of the 5.7-acre site that is comprised of six properties containing a muffler repair shop, two multi-tenant retail centers, two residential properties and a vacant lot.
Sappington Square has five of the six parcels under control — roughly 93 percent of the proposed redevelopment area. The only parcel not under control is a 0.53-acre parcel on the corner — 9596 Watson Road, the site of a Meineke Car Care Center.
As proposed, Sappington Square would have four buildings with 58,500 square feet of retail space. One building would have 25,000 square feet, two buildings would have 16,000 square feet each and the fourth building would have 1,500 square feet with a drive-through, Dan Thies, in-house counsel for Brinkman Constructors, told aldermen.
As proposed, Sappington Square would be a high-end boutique specialty center, Thies said, noting the developer would not seek tax-increment financing for the redevelopment project. Instead, the developer will seek the establishment of a Community Improvement District and re-quest the project area be designated as “blighted” under Chapter 353 — the Urban Redevelopment Corporations Law. With a CID, revenue to pay for improvements can be generated in a number of ways, including imposing a sales tax or a property tax within the district’s boundaries.
Regarding the use of eminent domain, Thies said, “We, of course, will do everything we can to avoid having it use eminent domain for any property.”
At one point Dec. 13, Ward 1 Alderman Richard LaBore asked Thies, “You’re only intending to ask for a CID?”
Thies said, “That is correct.”
LaBore continued, “Not 353?”
Thies said, “Well, a 353 we will request because of the possibility of having to use eminent domain.”
LaBore replied that if a 353 is used, “then the city gets to have some control over who comes in there. It will not be a roll of the dice and a blank check … Use 353 and we will have some voice as to who comes into your plaza. You may want to think about that.”
The alderman also cautioned the developer about the use of eminent domain, predicting changes in state law re-garding TIF and eminent domain.
Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding asked Sappington Square representatives if they could disclose the businesses proposed for the development.
Thies said he couldn’t reveal any specific tenants proposed for the development, but added, “The only thing I can point to is if you look at Mr. Brinkman’s retail centers in Ellisville and Frontenac, they’re generally boutique, high-end stores. So it’s going to be a nice mixture, and, of course, we as a developer are going to strive to have the nicest and class A tenants that have the best backing in our center because that means the consumer will be there, the tenant will be there for a long time, and we’re not going to have any turnover.
“So as a property owner, we, too, very much would like to have class A tenants in there and that’s what we will strive for,” he added.