The owner of the Meadows at Lake Saint Louis is expected to announce a plan to develop apartments on eight acres of property at the shopping center.
Representatives of Cohen Equities, the New York-based firm that acquired the shopping center in 2014, were at first closed-mouthed about details of the proposal when they came before the city’s Board of Aldermen on Feb. 6.
But on Feb. 10, the firm announced it had entered a contract with TriStar Companies to sell eight acres on the southeast portion of the property for “an integrated residential community.” Plans may be submitted to the city in two to three weeks.
Travis Burrows, director of retail asset management for Cohen Equities, told aldermen at their Feb. 6 work session that the company entered into a contract with “a very reputable local residential developer to build apartments on a portion of the
But he said he would not divulge the name of the developer then because of a confidentiality agreement. He said the apartments would be built on several lots near a retention pond and seasonal outdoor ice skating rink.
Construction cannot happen without amending zoning for the Meadows. City Administrator Paul Markworth said the site is now zoned highway commercial and the city is researching whether it should create an overlay district to allow the apartments or carve out a piece of property and zone it residential or planned unit development.
Markworth and Burrows said representatives from Cohen and the developers wanted to come before aldermen to get their input before launching into the project.
The open-air, 344,201-square-foot Meadows at Lake Saint Louis sits on the north side of Interstate 64 at Lake Saint Louis Boulevard. It has more than 30 shops and restaurants. According to the Cohen Equities website, nearly 93,000 residents live within five miles of the shopping center and the adjacent Interstate 64 corridor’s average daily traffic count is more than 46,000 vehicles.
Burrows said did not discuss specifics apartment plans with the developer. However, he said the addition could include about 140 apartments. He also said that the developer suggested having less density than normal apartment complexes, taller buildings and featured pedestrian access to the nearby shopping.
The board looked at a brief city staff presentation with an explanation of different apartment styles that included photographs of apartments considered suburban and others considered urban, similar to a city or main street.
Aldermen were generally favorable toward what they heard although several had differing opinions on what they favored. Alderman Gary Turner [Ward 1] favored a more urban development that may generate more foot traffic. Alderman Karen Vennard [Ward 2] said she favored the suburban setting kind of development.
Alderman Joe Pellerito [Ward 3] and Mayor Karen Schweikert said they liked the urban setting similar to what they see in downtown Saint Charles on South Main Street. “What makes that so dynamic is the people walking around,” Pellerito said.
“What makes that so dynamic is the people walking around,” Pellerito said.
They all agreed that apartments may be the spark the Meadows needs. “I want to see the Meadows thrive,” Schweikert said. “I think this residential component is a great edition to the Meadows.” Turner said aldermen may have “some reservations; we all have our own opinions but want to see you guys take off.”
“I want to see the Meadows thrive,” Schweikert said. “I think this residential component is a great edition to the Meadows.” Turner said aldermen may have “some reservations; we all have our own opinions but want to see you guys take off.”
Turner said aldermen may have “some reservations – we all have our own opinions – but want to see you guys take off.”
One reservation voiced was against the apartments having a look that is radically different than the existing shopping. In general, the aldermen preferred staying with brick rather than vinyl siding, Turner said.
Burrows said the new apartments “have to fit with the Meadows.”
“We don’t want our [apartment] residents to feel trapped, we don’t want it to look like there is just another set of houses next to us. We want to be one center,” he said.
Schweikert and other city officials say residents have already indicated that they view the Meadows as the city’s “center” and a community gathering place. Those opinions were voices in a survey and at open house meetings that are part of an ongoing effort to develop the city’s comprehensive plan.
The city is concerned about the viability of the Meadows because it is a major source sales tax revenue. It faces stiff completion from shopping centers and outlet malls in St. Louis and St. Charles counties. The Cohen Equities website lists 90,528 square feet of vacant space at the center.
Markworth cautioned that the city is working with attorneys and the board may have to pass enabling ordinances to establish an overlay district. Passing any ordinance may happen this spring, however, Marworth cautioned that there is work to be done.
“There are a lot of moving parts that have to come together,” Markworth said. “We will make it happen.”