Medical lab set to move from Concord to ex-bike shop site

Lab moving from Concord to Green Park Cyclery site

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The former South County Cyclery building, 9985 Lin Ferry Drive.

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

A new lab testing facility could move into the building formerly occupied by South County Cyclery on Lin Ferry Road in Green Park, after the bike shop moved its operations to the city of St. Louis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Green Park Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval for LabTest LLC to operate a medical lab testing facility at 9985 Lin Ferry Drive April 7. South County Cyclery consolidated its business to one store in south St. Louis city last year due to COVID-19.

A limited development plan, which amends applicable zoning regulations, is required for the site because LabTest LLC is seeking to operate as a medically oriented business in the city’s commercial corridor. Under the city’s code, that use is not typically permitted in the commercial corridor but is allowed in a Planned Office District or a Planned Light Industrial District such as Green Park Industrial Park.

The Board of Aldermen was scheduled to meet Monday, April 19 —  after The Call went to press.

The proposal was first discussed at the commission’s March meeting, although no action was taken since it was only on the agenda for discussion.

“(It’s) similar to the strip mall testing facilities that you see … around the county. … I don’t think it would have anything inconsistent with the uses around it,” said City Administrator James Mello in March. “This is strictly a discussion. If you had any reservations about a lab use going in, they’d certainly rather hear it now.”

There would be no exterior changes to the building, other than changes in signage. Interior changes would make it more suitable for a medical lab rather than a retail space.

“They (LabTest) do a lot of blood testing for medical facilities, hospitals, things like that. So basically their facility is pretty much private. … They do a lot of blood testing, toxicology labs for crime scenes sometimes and stuff like that, but they’re mainly a private entity in itself,” said property owner Randy Green.

The Green Park site would be a relocation of LabTest’s current facility at 5000 Cedar Plaza Parkway in Concord. Across the St. Louis region, LabTest operates out of five different locations.

At the April 7 meeting, much of the planning panel’s discussion centered around the parking layout. The submitted site plan shows 12 parking spots on the site, three on the south side of the building, two near the building’s entrance, two on the other side of the building including a handicap spot, and five spots to the southwest.

South County Cyclery had a shared parking agreement with the business center directly adjacent to the south — where The Call is located. A new shared parking agreement would have to be created between LabTest and the Lin Ferry strip mall, which is under new ownership.

“It’s an oddly shaped site and depending on the use, they might not need to conform to the strict St. Louis County proposed parking calculations. I don’t think you’re going to have 12 vehicles at the site at any given time. … It’s not a shopping center … or something like that. You don’t have that sort of foot traffic,” said Mello. “As long as the parking is within common sense reason, we don’t have an issue with less parking than normally required … because businesses in their own best interest will get as much parking as they can to serve their own needs.”

While no external changes are being made to the building’s appearance, the plan does call for a new trash enclosure around the trash can at the rear of the property to hide the dumpster from view. Green said that he believed it would be the first trash enclosure of its kind in Green Park.

“The architect was finishing that up. … We were going to look through your ordinances to make sure we matched,” said Green. “There’s not any trash enclosures out there anywhere. … We want to put it in that corner and keep it off that back line and build it to your specs.”

Although LabTest would be a medical facility, there would be no hazardous material dumpsters on the property. By state and federal law, any kind of medical office must supply dropboxes for used needles, vials and other hazardous waste. From there, a subcontractor that is licensed to clean hazardous materials cleans out the dropboxes and disposes the contents elsewhere.