Crestwood’s Pier 1 store to close in next two weeks

Westfield officials to address aldermen, residents in July

By BURKE WASSON

Pier 1 Imports’ Crestwood store will be closing its doors in the next two weeks primarily because of poor access to the business.

But city officials are working to find Pier 1 another location in Crestwood and also improve access to other businesses along Watson Road.

Crestwood Economic Development Specialist Ellen Dailey said last week that while Pier 1 is restructuring its stores on a national level, she has been in talks with officials from the chain to try to keep the business in Crestwood.

“I talked to Emily Gross at Pier 1, their regional contact person out of Texas, and she said they’ll be coming back into the St. Louis area a couple times before winter to assess other locations in Crestwood,” she said. “So we’re going to maintain contact with them and keep working on trying to keep them.”

One of the contributing reasons behind Pier 1’s desire to close its current Crestwood location at 9420 Watson Road is poor access to the business. The store sits on a lot across from the Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood, but can only be accessed by drivers in the eastbound lane on Watson Road. Those driving in the westbound lane, which borders the Westfield mall, cannot turn left into Pier 1.

Dailey said the city is addressing such business access problems by focusing on an access management plan, which stretches along Watson Road from its intersections with Sappington and Grant roads.

With this plan in place, both Dailey and City Administrator Frank Myers said Crestwood businesses should hopefully see less entrance-and-exit problems like the troubles that the Pier 1 location has experienced.

“It’s (Pier 1’s Crestwood store) just right in and right out,” Dailey said. “You can’t get there from the shopping center. It’s just ridiculous. You can’t get there from the shopping center. There’s no cross access and that’s really important to have.”

Pier 1 employees at the Crestwood location said business officials had previously discussed moving the store to Sunset Hills at the MainStreet at Sunset shopping center.

But those relocation plans died last year when the proposed project that would have razed 254 homes in the Sunset Manor subdivision was nixed after the Novus Development Co. lost its lender for the project.

With Pier 1’s Crestwood store set to close any time during the next two weeks, Dailey said city officials are working to help that business and others by trying to secure funding for its access management plan and working with the Missouri Department of Transportation to make improvements along Watson Road.

“We’re working with MoDOT trying to, if we can, make some changes more quickly using hopefully private dollars and also some MoDOT funds,” Dailey said. “But also in the more long term, we’re looking for grant funds to help us improve access along Watson. And again, the study just identifies specific sites that have problems. And we’re eventually going to have some cost estimates so we can include those into grant applications when we’re looking for federal dollars to make those improvements.”

Along with trying to appease businesses through the access management plan, city officials are also working to improve the facilities at the Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood. Myers said aldermen and the public will have a chance to hear about those plans at the Westfield mall during the Board of Aldermen’s July 25 meeting — when Westfield corporate officials are scheduled to discuss them.

“They are going to be attending our second meeting in July to address the board,” Myers said. “And they have some new staff over at the mall. They have a new mall manager and a new marketing person that we’re going to be meeting with locally before that meeting. There’s some transitional staff issues that’s been going on over there, and we’re working to meet the new team.”

Besides meeting with Westfield representatives, Myers said he has also been following up with retail restaurant businesses that he and Dailey met in May at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, Nev.

“We’ve had a number of conversations with them since the ICSC convention,” Myers said. “We’re moving forward with those discussions and planning on (Westfield Executive Vice President of Development) Tim Lowe to be addressing the board and the public in our second meeting in July.

“These things take, to do the due diligence and move forward, these things take time. But we believe some positive seeds have been planted and we’re working with those sources to hopefully bring some new retail to our community.”

The identity of those retail restaurant businesses can’t be released yet because Myers said discussions with them are ongoing and nothing is final. He did say he talked with one restaurant chain that is currently not in the St. Louis area and another “prominent restaurant” that is already in the region but is considering opening a location in Crestwood.

As for a new spot in Crestwood for Pier 1 Imports, Dailey said she would be working with development officials from the furniture chain to persuade them to stay in the city.