Open house set July 8 on redevelopment of Crestwood mall

Public input, market will drive mall proposal, Burk tells Call

This rendering depicts a community plaza that would anchor the center of the entertainment and destination service retail area proposed by UrbanStreet Group for the former Crestwood Plaza site.

Photo by Lisa

This rendering depicts a community plaza that would anchor the center of the entertainment and destination service retail area proposed by UrbanStreet Group for the former Crestwood Plaza site.

By Mike Anthony

An open house to obtain public input about the redevelopment of the former Crestwood Plaza shopping center will take place Wednesday, July 8.

The city of Crestwood and UrbanStreet Group of Chicago, which owns the mall, will sponsor the open house from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Community Center, 9245 Whitecliff Park Lane.

UrbanStreet submitted the only response to the city’s request for proposals, or RFP, to redevelop the mall site, last known as Crestwood Court. The mall owner is requesting nearly $28 million in tax incentives, including tax-increment financing, or TIF, for a roughly $99.5 million mixed-use project at the 48-acre site at Wat-son and Sappington roads.

As proposed, the project includes four components — a retail area, a multiplex theater and restaurants, 225 apartments, and open space and community gardens.

Bob Burk, UrbanStreet Group managing partner, told the Call he is excited about the redevelopment of the mall and is looking forward to obtaining feedback from residents at the upcoming open house.

“… We’re just engaged in a process out there with the city and we’re excited about it. And our next step is a public open house on July the eighth, collecting some public comments and some input about what people think they want to see out there,” he said, adding UrbanStreet officials would take those “preferences” under consideration, along with market conditions.

“Market conditions are really the driver, and we’re going to work with the city and decide what’s the best process and what the best proposal is for the site,” Burk said.

UrbanStreet intends to work with the city’s TIF Commission and city officials “to decide what’s best out there. So that’s really what we’re doing. People have to understand that it’s a process and we’re excited to be working with the city to do it.”

Lindbergh Schools Superintendent Jim Simpson has said he believes UrbanStreet’s plan to construct 225 apartments at the mall site “is the worst scenario for Lind-bergh Schools,” as it would exacerbate the aggressive enrollment growth that already is challenging the school district. Students from those apartments would attend Crestwood Elementary School, which is already at capacity.

The Board of Education last month ap-proved a resolution opposing the use of TIF for residential development.

But Burk said it was premature to address the concerns voiced by Lindbergh officials.

“Like I said, we’re just in the process of evaluating all of the different individual uses, so I’m really not in a position to respond one way or another to individual concerns about a potential use on any of it until we really decide what the best uses are to propose,” he said.

Based on public input and market conditions, Burk said UrbanStreet’s proposal for the mall site “could be” modified.

“We want public engagement and we want to see what the market is going to tell us and we also want to see what the public is going to tell us,” he said, noting UrbanStreet officials intend to let the process unfold. “That’s why you have a TIF Commission. That’s why you have engagement with the city, the public, and it’s a long road. So yes, I think there’s a chance it will evolve — absolutely.”

UrbanStreet Group purchased the mall property last year for $2.625 million from Chicago-based Centrum Partners and New York-based Angelo, Gordon & Co., which owned the majority stake in the site.

While the structures on the site were valued at just $1,000 by County Assessor Jake Zimmerman last year, the property was valued at $9,849,000.

Crestwoood Mayor Gregg Roby did not respond to a request for comment before the Call’s press time.