Helen Fitzerald’s eyes parking expansion; Sheevam floats possible new hotel

Proposed hotel would be 87-unit Hilton Hampton Inn

10611+E.+Watson%2C+left%2C+and+10603+E.+Watson%2C+right.

10611 E. Watson, left, and 10603 E. Watson, right.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen heard a presentation last week about a possible new hotel in the city and expanded parking for Helen Fitzgerald’s.

At the Dec. 13 meeting, attorney Norbert Glassl, representing HR Sheevam, owner of the Comfort Suites Hotel at 3660 S. Lindbergh Blvd., and Sheevam, told the board that he was interested in building a Hampton Inn on the northeast portion of the lot with Comfort Suites and Helen Fitzgerald’s. The Comfort Suites replaced a former Days Inn at the location last year.

“The Comfort Suites has kind of made up for what he had with the Days Inn. He has a lot of sports teams come in and sports teams that like to use it,” Glassl said of Sheevam’s hotel. “The Hampton Inn would be more of an upscale, business-class hotel and it would compliment the Comfort Suites.”

During construction on the Comfort Suites in 2020,  Sheevam and Helen Fitzgerald’s owner Kirk Syberg petitioned the board to establish a Community Improvement District, or CID, at the restaurant and hotel to pay for facade improvements and new parking garage to alleviate longtime parking concerns at the restaurant. Visitors would have paid a 1-percent sales tax.

The developer also sought a 25-year tax abatement for the property, with the 2019 tax year as the base year, collecting tax as they would have in 2019 through the first 10 years, then a 50-percent abatement in years 16 to 25.

Plans for the abatement and the CID were eventually withdrawn by Sheevam and Syberg, although it could be brought back once development plans are actually submitted to the city.

Because it was just a presentation, no action was taken by the board, although Sheevam outlined possible variances that could be requested, including the building’s setback.

Ward 3 Alderman Cathy Friedmann questioned how many parking spaces the new hotel would require. Some of the property’s parking has been “lost” with the construction of the new Bass Pro Shops next door to Helen’s and the Comfort Suites.

“There would be 96 spots … We have adequate parking for both hotels plus 10 extra spots,” Sheevam said. “Between the two hotels, what we’re providing is 10 more surplus.”

Glassl added the times the hotel parking lot would be in use by guests and restaurant patrons was “complementary.”

“It tends to work out … It’s complementary. Different time periods on when his peak parking. It clears out by 10, 11 o’clock in the morning and they come back in at night,” Glassl said. ‘The lunch crowd isn’t going to be affected … Maybe weekends may be the only time … Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day.”

“Out of 365 days a year, there’s 20 days there’s struggle for parking but otherwise we’re a happy family,” Sheevam added.

Depending on approval with the city, Sheevam said he is targeting fall 2023 to begin construction, with an estimated opening in 24 months, “granting everything goes according to the plan.”

Helen Fitzgerald’s parking

Kirk Syberg, owner of Helen Fitzgerald’s, also presented a potential proposal to the board to build an additional parking lot at 10611 E. Watson Road. There is currently a residential house at the property, owned by the Sybergs. It is bordered by commercial property on three sides, and residential directly to the east. The neighboring house, 10603 E. Watson, is also owned by the Syberg family.

The proposed plan would remove the first house and create a parking lot that would only be accessed through the hotel and restaurant property, with no egress to East Watson. The new parking lot would create an additional 96 parking spots.

The restaurant previously leased the Ameren lot at 3700 S. Lindbergh Blvd. weekdays after 5 p.m. and all day on Saturday and Sunday, however the new owners of the property are not willing to lease the space, Syberg said, also pointing out the loss of parking from the Bass Pro at 3600 S. Lindbergh.

The proposal would require rezoning 10611 E. Watson to commercial.

“I know it’s not an ideal situation but the house we’re proposing to take is surrounded (by commercial),” Syberg said.

Similar to Sheevam’s presentation, no action was taken by the board.