Crestwood Board of Aldermen eyes issuing RFP for redevelopment of city’s shopping center

Bond counsel for project set to be selected by aldermen

By Kari Williams

A request for proposals for the redevelopment of Crestwood Court was scheduled to be considered earlier this week by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen.

City Attorney Rob Golterman told the board last month the next step in the redevelopment process is the city issuing a request for proposals, which aldermen were scheduled to consider Tuesday night — after the Call went to press.

The proposed request for proposals, or RFP, outlines the city’s objective for the property, which is to “attract new businesses to the Crestwood community and, thereby, generate additional revenues and attract more visitors to the community.”

As proposed, the redevelopment area would encompass roughly 48 acres, including the 1.1 million-square-foot shopping center at Watson and Sappington roads.

Crestwood, according to the proposed RFP, would consider using the following economic development and redevelopment tools to assist with the redevelopment:

• Tax-increment financing.

• The Urban Redevelopment Corporations Law.

• Transportation Development District.

• Community Improvement District.

• Neighborhood Improvement District.

Crestwood’s considerations in the redevelopment project, according to the RFP, include: a redevelopment program that will increase retail sales; high-quality urban design and architecture; improving accessibility to the site, as well as parking areas; and “financials support mechanisms upon demonstration of need and viability.”

Centrum Properties purchased Crestwood Court from the Westfield Group in 2008, and redevelopment has been on hold due to the economy. Representatives from Centrum Properties presented initial redevelopment plans to the board in June.

Sol Barket, of Centrum Properties, told aldermen his company is proposing to redevelop the mall into a unique open-air entertainment and retail venue — a one-of-kind experience in the metro area.

As proposed, the shopping center site would be developed in two phases.

The first phase would encompass roughly 30 acres and would include the demolition of most of the shopping center’s existing structures with the exception of the former Macy’s building, which could house a grocery store, health club and entertainment spaces.

Including the three-story former Macy’s building, the first phase of the project would feature about 310,000 square feet of space.

As proposed, the redeveloped shopping center would feature a nearly 47,000-square-foot theater, a 24,000-square-foot upscale bowling concept and a roughly 18,500-square-foot Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill that will include a concert stage.

The redeveloped mall also would feature a variety of restaurants, outdoor dining areas and a 25,000-square-foot main plaza.

Some board members last month expressed concern over the presentation, calling it “underwhelming.”

While Barket was not prepared to discuss the financial details of the proposed redevelopment in June, he said Centrum will request public subsidies, including tax-increment financing. Public assistance will be needed to redevelop the site, he said, primarily because of its topography.

Regarding the financing, the proposed RFP states the city will require “a detailed statement of the proposed method of financing the redevelopment project, which shall set for the estimated development costs of the project and the proposed sources of funds, debt and equity to meet such estimated costs; (and) a preliminary letter of commitment from the financing entity evidencing that construction financing may be approved for the redevelopment project …”

In addition, the city will require “a de-tailed stateent of the projected revenues and expenses during the first five years in which the project is in operation; and the assurances, including performance bonds, if any, to be given to the city.”

Last month, the board voted to have Golterman’s firm, Lewis, Rice and Figersh, create a draft of the proposed RFP, which the board received before Tuesday’s meeting.

The board also is scheduled to consider selection of bond counsel for the redevelopment project, which was postponed at last month’s meeting, and an ordinance approving a preliminary funding agreement with the owner of Crestwood Court regarding the proposed redevelopment.

In other business, the board was scheduled to consider:

• Presentation of Sappington Barn Center proposals.

• Spellman Park property acquisition.

• Hiring guidelines for the city administrator position.