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Changes in Chesterfield: Another mall slated to be reimagined, redeveloped

By: Jessica Meszaros

Taubman Food Court - Topgolf in the distance

Interior of Taubman Prestige Outlets in Chesterfield

Out with the mall and in with an entertainment venue.

That’s the plan for the site now occupied by Taubman Prestige Outlets in Chesterfield.

Last week, Taubman Centers Inc. finalized and confirmed an agreement to sell the outlet mall’s building and operations to The Staenberg Group [TSG], headed by local veteran developer Michael Staenberg. However, TSG will lease the land on which those buildings sit for a 99-year term.

The sale and lease are expected to be executed on May 1.

What comes next for the 300,000-square-foot shopping center is a projected entertainment hub with sit-down restaurants, unique retail and recreational venues within a walkable vicinity and leveraging the adjacent Topgolf driving range located near Boone’s Crossing.

Tim Lowe, TSG’s vice president of leasing and development, said the goal is to create a completely new type of destination that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the St. Louis area and can leverage against the existing shopping centers in Chesterfield Valley, including St. Louis Premium Outlets, owned by Simon Properties, and Chesterfield Commons, which Staenberg and former partner Stan Kroenke began developing in 1999.

“Chesterfield Valley is an unbelievably dynamic regional draw, which draws from both St. Louis County and St. Charles County,” Lowe said. He added that the Valley can “draw in an immense number of people for a variety of different things.”

“This is a unique concept,” Lowe said. “Typically, these locations are all kind of independent of each other. This is an opportunity to take a lot of those uses and put them all in close proximity and let them benefit from each other … So it’s not, ‘I have to go here for bowling and then here for golf and here for something else.’ Everything is in this one area. You could go to one, or go to two, then have a few cocktails or have a nice dinner. You have all those options.”

Financial terms of the deal and possible tenants had not been disclosed at press time. Lowe did say that the new development might utilize some of the existing outlet mall structures.

“The buildings are all already there and in incredible shape,” Lowe said. “Taubman really did a good job of maintaining the property [which opened in 2013], and I think we’re able to use some of those structures and buildings and we’re going to be able to create something we think is really the best option for the property in the market.”

Taubman Prestige Outlets wasn’t TSG’s only acquisition in the Chesterfield market last week.

On April 24, TSG closed a deal to buy the Sears department store parcel at Chesterfield Mall in what Lowe described as a “first step” in redeveloping the mall into a modern lifestyle center where people could live, shop and work simultaneously.

“We already closed on Sears, we’re the proud owner of the store,” Lowe said. “The mall is in a foreclosure sale, and there will be multiple bidders that bid on it. We’ll be one. If we win, that makes it a little easier. If we don’t, we’ll just see who wins and go with that.”

Offers from prospective buyers for the property are due May 2. If TSG wins the bid, about $100 million would be invested to turn the mall into a high-end, mixed-use development housing luxury apartments, high-end retail, office spaces and restaurants.

Lowe said TSG hopes to be under construction for the entertainment complex near Topgolf by summer 2019 with its opening anticipated by the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020. The timeline for Chesterfield Mall’s fate is more tentative due to the multiple owners of different property parcels.

“The mall is a little different. I think you’re going to spend about a year figuring out who is going to participate and what the plan is, and then probably another year going through the city’s rezoning and site plan approval process. Then, I think ultimately you’re two to three years from starting something,” Lowe said.

According to Lowe, TSG’s projected high-end, mixed-use development on a “prime piece of real estate” also is an idea new to the St. Louis area.

“Times change, things change and the idea is not to get caught in this vehicle that fails,” Lowe said. “The idea is that we have the ability to change and we see what the market dictates. There are malls and other areas in St. Louis that don’t have this opportunity and the great demographics and great markets and great intersection and all those things that go with this. This is really a prime piece of real estate.”

Lowe said the ultimate goal is to create a downtown Chesterfield experience.

The idea is not new. The late Louis S. Sachs, chairman of Chesterfield-based Sachs Properties, pictured downtown Chesterfield as Chesterfield Village, a 1,500-acre residential and commercial development contained within 3-mile, circumferential Chesterfield Parkway. But as the Valley has grown up, many have seen it as the city’s retail hub. Former City Administrator Michael Herring went so far as to call it a “shopping and entertainment mecca.” A vision TSG seems to share.

“This is exciting, it’s a big day for Chesterfield,” Lowe said. “The mall has been getting a lot of negative press, and it’s about time for some positive press, and again, this is really just the first step of a long-term, positive redevelopment that will really be great for Chesterfield. The one thing Chesterfield is clearly missing is that there is no downtown Chesterfield. Where is downtown Chesterfield? I think this will really give Chesterfield a chance to have a downtown that becomes the center of activity.”

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