QuikTrip applies for change in zoning at location of historic Kassebaum Building

QuikTrip proposes 16-pump gas station on Lemay Ferry

The+historic+Session+or+Kassebaum+building%2C+as+seen+on+Google+Maps%2C+would+be+demolished+under+a+proposal+for+a+new+QuikTrip+at+Lemay+Ferry+and+Butler+Hill+roads.+

The historic Session or Kassebaum building, as seen on Google Maps, would be demolished under a proposal for a new QuikTrip at Lemay Ferry and Butler Hill roads.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

QuikTrip, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based convenience store, is requesting a change in zoning to build a gas station in south St. Louis County at the site of the historic Kassebaum Building. 

QuikTrip is requesting a change in zoning from R-2 residential and C-2 commercial to just C-2 with a conditional use permit to build a convenience store at 5039 Lemay Ferry Road, at the intersection with Butler Hill Road. The building currently at the property is the historic Kassebaum Building, also known as the Session Furniture building. Session operated out the building for several years but moved to a different location in the early 200s, using the building for storage until 2015. Since then, the building has been vacant. 

At a public hearing on the proposal March 14, QuikTrip’s Director of Real Estate Gwen Keen told the St. Louis County Planning Commission that it would cost $3 million just to get the Kassebaum Building up to code. 

“That does not include the property. That doesn’t include any new business trying to fill that business with equipment in order to establish a new business in the building,” Kween said. “At the end of the day, the costs would far outweigh the value of the property and a new business.”

Keen said QuikTrip recognized the significance of the building and therefore had plans to construct a small monument sign on the corner of the property using bricks from the building once its demolished. 

“That’s if we can safely keep that brick together. There is a concern that it could crumble once the demo starts,” Keen said. 

Two members of the public spoke on the development at the public hearing, questioning if another gas station is what the area needs. Another QuikTrip is being built a few miles down Lemay Ferry Road at the intersection with Lindbergh Boulevard. Keen replied that QuikTrip would not put a store in a location it didn’t believe it would be successful. 

“Part of what we do is a lot of analysis. We don’t want to put one of our stores there that isn’t going to be supported. … We do have a couple of facilities that are less than a mile apart and both of them run very high volume because of their location,” Keen said. “As for competition … we find they do either one of two things: they either … close, but more times than not they step up their game and they update their facilities as well.” 

The proposed QuikTrip has been a discussion point in South County for the last year. The company held two town halls on the proposal last March to gather feedback from neighboring residents, in addition to conducting a traffic study at the intersection. 

In response to that traffic study conducted by CBB Transporation, as well as feedback from a town hall on the study facilitated by 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas in June, QuikTrip altered its plans before officially submitting the proposal to the county. Keen said the layout had been flipped so that the gas station no longer faced Lemay Ferry Road and instead fronted Butler Hill, with 16 total gas pumps and a 5,300 square-foot convenience store. 

QuikTrip will also add a right turn lane on Lemay Ferry based on the results of the study. The study showed that even without the QuikTrip, traffic had grown so much at the intersection to warrant a right turn lane regardless, but the Missouri Department of Transportation does not currently have plans to address that location. Access to the store will be restricted to right in, right out from Lemay Ferry. 

According to the study, the location could generate up to 90 new trips during weekday morning rush hour and 80 new trips during weekday afternoon rush hour, in addition to 220 pass-by trips in both the morning and afternoon weekday peak hours from traffic that already travels on adjacent roadways. 

“We’re looking to invest long-term. We understand what the surrounding atmosphere is, the growth expectations … it was all taken into account with the traffic study and it was all part of our analysis,” Keen said.