Entertainment venue for mall site not likely, Schlink says

Mayor expecting an update ‘quickly’ from mall owner

By Kari Williams

An entertainment district on the site of the former Crestwood Court “more than likely” will not move forward, according to Mayor Jeff Schlink.

Schlink announced the news to the Board of Aldermen last week while reporting on a meeting he had with Ryan Klenovich, a vice president with Angelo, Gordon & Co.

Angelo, Gordon & Co. and Centrum Partners LLC purchased the former Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood in 2008.

Centrum proposed the District at Crestwood, an open-air entertainment and retail venue that would include restaurants, a movie theater and an upscale bowling venue. As proposed, the total redevelopment cost is roughly $121 million, with economic assistance in the form of tax-increment financing, or TIF, a transportation development district, or TDD, and a community improvement district, or CID, reaching roughly $34 million, according to revised numbers presented to the city.

“More than likely a different proposal is going to be brought back to the board,” Schlink said. “More than likely we’ll hear more from Ryan at meetings and through conversations.”

However, Centrum is “still very much a part of the property,” according to Schlink, who said, “They are an owner of the property. There’s no changing that …”

One available option is to sell the property, and interest has been expressed in purchasing the site, Schlink said.

However, “knowing what (that) person wants to do with the property, we don’t want that to happen,” he said.

“I told (Ryan Klenovich) that the idea of what that potential owner would bring to the table wouldn’t necessarily be what would cause us to do something (or) not do something with them,” Schlink told the board.

Schlink told the Call he does not know who the interested party is.

Angelo, Gordon & Co., according to Schlink, “was very clear” they want to do something with the property.

“They want to help Crestwood restore one of its financial engines,” Schlink said, “and they would like to see the buildings razed, and they would like to work more closely with the state of Missouri.”

Performing an environmental study on the property and looking into Brownfields Assessment Program credits were good steps forward, according to Schlink, and something that was not on Angelo, Gordon & Co.’s radar. The environmental study is occurring with Centrum’s approval.

Brownfields credits are redevelopment incentives for properties containing hazardous substances or that have been under-utilized or abandoned.

Schlink said the city hopes the environmental study results will “change the numbers a little bit” in relation to TIF. But he also said these discussions do not mean “something wonderful is going to happen at Crestwood Court.”

“I think in the past we’ve always heard drips of information to keep things going,” Schlink said. “This is something that’s either going to happen very quickly or it’s not going to happen at all. We had talked about next year. We talked about other players being involved and they want to move things as quickly as they possibly can in the event that they don’t have the same group of players working with them.”

Schlink said he expects to receive an update from Angelo, Gordon and Co., “very quickly,” and will pass the information along to the board and the public as soon as he can.