Crestwood board to consider approval of RFP for planner to assist with mall

Watson Road Corridor Plan last updated by city in 2005

By Mike Anthony

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen was set earlier this week to consider approval of a request for proposals for a planning consultant to assist city officials with the expected redevelopment of the former Crestwood Plaza shopping center.

Aldermen were scheduled to meet Tuesday night — after the Call went to press.

Two weeks ago, aldermen voted to authorize City Administrator Mark Sime to draft two requests for proposals — one for a planning consultant to assist with the expected redevelopment of the former mall site and a second to assist with the development of a citywide Comprehensive Plan.

In September, Mayor Gregg Roby told the city’s Economic Development Commission that Chicago developer UrbanStreet Group, which owns the 1.5-million-square-foot, 47-acre mall property at Watson and Sappington roads, is getting close to presenting a proposal to city officials, most likely before the end of the year.

Board President Mike Tsichlis of Ward 4 said at the Oct. 14 board meeting that he understood the need to consider a citywide Comprehensive Plan, but questioned the timing of a request for proposals, or RFP, for the former mall site.

“It seems to me it might be a bit premature if we don’t have a (redevelopment) proposal before us to review …,” he said.

Roby said, “… The developer has told us that they will not be bringing a proposal to us until we have a planner on board to review that proposal. The city is not making any monetary commitment to the developer …”

The draft RFP for a planning consultant to assist with the mall project also notes city officials will release an RFP for the development of a citywide Comprehensive Plan.

“Companies making a proposal are encouraged to review both RFPs to be able to evaluate and incorporate this proposal into a proposal for a city Comprehensive Plan if the company should be selected for both,” the draft RFP states.

Only the RFP for assistance with the mall was on the board’s agenda this week.

The city’s Watson Road Development Plan, which is the city’s Comprehensive Plan for the Watson Road Commercial District, was last updated in May 2005.

John Brancaglione of Peckham, Guyton, Albers & Viets, or PGAV, the city’s longtime planning consultant, said in January 2005, “Most cities do a comprehensive plan for the entire community. However in Crestwood’s case, they’ve really never done that, largely because at the point at which comprehensive planning was really a common process in the United States, Crestwood was significantly built out and so the development plan for the portions of the community at that point that were within the incorporated boundaries really would have been sort of pointless.”