To stave off future development, the city of Chesterfield has decided to purchase a piece of property that was formerly slated for a multi-unit housing project.
The nearly eight-acre parcel is located near “The Awakening” sculpture, adjacent to the Samuel C. Sachs Branch of the St. Louis County Library and directly across the street from the Veterans Honor Park, the Chesterfield Amphitheater and Central Park.
Thompson Thrift Development, an Indianapolis-based company, had previously proposed a plan for rental units at the site at the intersection of Chesterfield Parkway and Park Circle Drive, along the east side of Veterans Place Drive. However, the company pulled its rezoning request in January after hearing negative feedback from both the city and the residents.
A petition circulating online to prevent the rezoning had garnered 750 out of 1,000 signatures needed to present it to the city. The Citizens for Developing Downtown Chesterfield said the development would have been an impediment to some of the city’s major attractions near and around the parcel.
The mixed-use development plan would have included 121 rental units, with single-story paired units and three-story townhomes, along with a clubhouse with limited commercial space for retail.
Council member Mary Ann Mastorakos [Ward 2] said the city’s purchase was exciting.
“All the things I hear from residents, ‘We’re losing our green space in the city,’” she said. “I think it’s so exciting. It’s in my ward, so it makes it all the more exciting. It will be an amazing asset to the city.”
And it’s one thing the city council all agreed on; it was a unanimous vote taken in closed session.
“When the proposal fell through, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to purchase it,” Mastorakos said.
The city purchased the 7.83-acre piece of property for $6.9 million from Sachs Properties [Central Park Square Inc.], according to City Administrator Mike Geisel.
Geisel said the city started negotiations to acquire the property once Thompson Thrift pulled out and backed off the proposal.
According to Geisel, the site will be developed as an adjunct to Central Park. Funding sources from the project will include a combination of new debt and cash reserves.
“We haven’t developed specific plans as to what will be included, but it will primarily be open space with softscape activities, not hardscape improvements,” Geisel said.
Although city officials have been mum about the property since the developer pulled out, they have been working like ducks to get the deal done – “quiet on top, but paddling fast underneath,” Geisel said.