South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Crestwood designates Calvert property as ‘blighted’

Calvert’s owner does not want to give up rent income
Photo by Lucas Irizarry
The former Crestwood Plaza property Feb. 18.

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance June 28 designating Calvert’s Auto Express, 9415 Watson Road, as a blighted area according to state statute.

The property around Calverts, the former Crestwood mall, is being redeveloped into a mixed-used development featuring a Dierbergs grocery store, other retail and residential. Ground was broken on the Dierbergs portion of the project in April.

Dierbergs and Calvert’s were not able to come to an agreement on Calvert’s property as of June 30. The redevelopment agreement of the Crestwood Crossing site directs the city administrator to present the board with legislation that would allow for the condemnation of Calvert’s property.

Documents approved by the board include a blight study, a plan to remedy the blight, an agreement accepting the redevelopment plan and an ordinance designating the area as blighted.

The site was identified as blighted by PGAV Planners. The firm found “deterioration of site improvements,” conditions that “endanger life and property by fire and other causes” and found that the combination of these elements causes an “economic and social liability to the city.”

The mall site as a whole was identified as blighted about a year ago, qualifying it for tax increment financing for development.

Representatives from both Dierbergs and Calvert’s were in attendance to explain their sides of the situation.

Brent Beumer, director of real estate for Dierbergs, said the site was the last parcel the company needed to acquire. Buemer explained the ordinances would designate Dierbergs as a redevelopment corporation and allow it to obtain the property through eminent domain by condemnation. Buemer said the .92 acres would be used for multiple buildings.

“I still would like to continue to engage in dialogue with (Calvert) to come to an arm’s length-negotiated settlement of this that makes sense for everybody,” Buemer said. “But at a certain point if we can’t come to an accord as it relates to price, we have a budget that we have to be cognizant of as it relates to our overall project costs.”

Gary Calvert, owner of the site, said the city should have bought the property before he did in late 2015, as it had been on the market for three years at that point. He said at this time he is making money from renting the property.

Calvert said when he first received a letter of intent from Dierbergs with different terms from a later received contract — “they didn’t make any good effort to get a deal done,” he said.

“(The current rent) is $96,000 a year. At a 5-percent cap rate it’s worth $1,923,240 … We just need to figure out what I need to do to make this property more appealing to the city so I can maintain this income,” Calvert said.

Mayor Grant Mabie said he hopes the two parties can come to an agreement and find common ground. The board voted 6-0 to approve the ordinances.

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