South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Traffic, noise are concerns of Dogwood Social House neighbors

Others against storage, in addition to noise and traffic
A rendering from the developer of the proposed redevelopment of the vacant Weekends Only at 6303 S. Lindbergh Blvd. The redevelopment would include a Dogwood Social House restaurant, retail space, a self-storage facility and two outs. Rendering via St. Louis County.

Noise and traffic were the main concerns expressed by residents at the St. Louis County Planning Commission’s public hearing on Oct. 9 regarding a proposed Dogwood Social House at the former Weekends Only location, 6303 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

Dogwood Social House is proposing a new location at the corner of Lindbergh and East Concord Road, requesting amended C-8 zoning for all C-3 Shopping District permitted uses. The proposal includes a 28,700-square-foot Dogwood Social House with eight pickleball courts, 22,575 square feet of additional retail space and a multilevel self-storage facility with a 39,300-square-foot footprint. In addition to converting the Weekends Only space, the proposal also calls for two new outbuildings fronting Lindbergh – a 3,400-square-foot bank as well as a 6,500-square-foot restaurant.

Dogwood Social House, which originated in Cape Girardeau, has one location in St. Louis County in Ellisville, as well as locations in O’Fallon, Missouri, and O’Fallon, Illinois. The restaurant offers a mix of entertainment and games, such as axe throwing, cornhole, table games and others, depending on the location.

According to George Stock of Stock & Associates Consulting Engineers, Inc, representing the petitioner, the northwest corner of the building with the retail space would include anywhere from four to seven tenants, while the two outbuildings would most likely house a credit union/bank and food tenants.

“I’m not supposed to use names … Qdoba would be a good example,” Stock said. “There is a very strong interest … I don’t want to call them fast food because they’re not; they’re more quick service. They’re a little high quality, they’re not high volume, and they go across the board.”

Part of the proposal includes adding another access point to the parking lot from East Concord Road, Stock told the commission, which would be reviewed via a traffic study. The lot currently has a single ingress and egress point from Lindbergh Boulevard.

“The belief is, in order to have ingress/egress, some portions of this traffic should have the utilization of the signaled intersection at Lindbergh and East Concord,” Stock said.

The restaurant would include an outdoor dining area on the corner of the building closest to East Concord. Hours of operation would be 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The pickleball courts would close at 9 p.m. daily.

“This concept of Dogwood Social, repurposing a building, making a building better, engaging it, making it sustainable, making it a destination for the community, making it a money generator and tax revenue,” said Stock. Both the O’Fallon, Illinois, and O’Fallon, Missouri locations are in old Gold’s Gyms.

The majority of public comments expressed concerns about possible noise as well as East Concord Road access.

Todd Ostrom, president of the Concord Oaks subdivision improvement association which backs the proposed site, told commissioners that while they were not necessarily opposed to the bar itself, they did have issues with the pickleball courts.

“The pickleball courts in the back would create an enormous amount of noise … There’s an acoustic path through our neighborhood that just makes everything louder,” Ostrom said. “I can hear my neighbor cough in his backyard and any dog barking … Any pickleball courts would just be a complete disaster for our neighborhood. And the outdoor patio they’re proposing. We could probably live with dining only. Anything else out there later at night, we’re gonna be hearing that also.”

Carl Vogt, also a resident of the Concord Oaks subdivision, echoed Ostrom’s concerns, adding that the idea for an access point to East Concord Road is “terrible.”

“Eight pickleball courts, operating six days a week. Do I have to wait until 9 o’clock to go out and sit quietly? So I hope that all activities, other than dining, are confined to the interior of the building, and that there’d be no music or speakers going outside, just so we can have a little peace and quiet,” Vogt said. “Also, the exit onto East Concord is a terrible situation … because it’s just adding to a complex intersection already.”

Other speakers focused on the self-storage aspect, including 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas, who represents the district where the proposal is located. He called it a “classic bait and switch.”

“That’s what this is all about (self-storage). Make no mistake about it. When I first learned of this project, it was presented entirely for storage and the front pat along Lindbergh car washes … Only after concerns were expressed did we get the nice images you see,” Trakas said. “This is the proverbial storage camel, trying to get its nose in the tent. Once it’s approved, over a relatively short period of time … this will become completely storage … South County has more than its fair share of storage facilities, we don’t need any more … This is a classic bait and switch. In the words of the 44th president of the United States, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. At the end of the day, this is all about storage.”

Another commenter, Brian Daus, expressed the same concerns as Trakas regarding the self-storage component, claiming that because the other proposed uses, such as the restaurant and retail spaces, were high risk, there was the potential for the entire development to eventually become storage someday.

“Retail, pretty high risk. Bar business, super high risk. If any of those fail, it can all become storage. And for me, being in South County, there’s plenty of storage,” Daus said. “I like the project, I hope it’s successful … but this very well could be, in the next three to five years, a big storage building … We are 100% not in favor of the storage petition portion of this.”

During rebuttal, Stock said they would be open to an alternative to pickleball courts and that they would leave traffic decisions to the professionals. As for the concerns surrounding the storage portion of the proposal, Stock said, “All businesses are risky.”

“It never was 100% storage. Dogwood Social was always a component … We have a very big building … there are only so many uses … There is a need — I don’t dispute there is a lot of storage, but there’s not storage within a mile of this,” Stock said. “We’re not asking for storage so in four years we can convert this building to storage … We were Dogwood Social; we had a storage component … We had a car wash, we listened. No car washes … We will take into consideration everything we heard … and try to create the assurances that the residents want.”

In total, two meeting attendees expressed their support for the project, while eleven were opposed or had concerns.

The commission will provide a recommendation at its executive session next month.