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Growth in St. Charles County not always where expected

Map from St. Charles County website.public information.

Conventional wisdom seems to be that all of the growth in St. Charles County is occurring in the western half of the county – in the municipalities of O’Fallon, Dardenne Prairie, Lake Saint Louis and Wentzville. At least that is where much of the publicity points. However, the northern and central parts of the county, especially St. Peters and Cottleville, are seeing growth as well with new homes, businesses and jobs.

Specific examples of how northern and central parts of St. Charles County are growing and contributing to the overall economy include companies within the Premier 370 Business Park, new residential options, and new and expanded businesses.

Aerial view of Premier 370 Business Park
Aerial view of St. Peters and Premier 370 Business Park [Source: Evan Glantz/St. Louis Regional Freightway/Bi-State Development]

Premier 370 Business Park has been the site of tremendous growth. Huge buildings have been built, and according to St. Peters Communications Coordinator David Fults, 3,955 total jobs have been created so far by Amazon (2,500), SAIA freight shipping (160), FedEx Ground (300), Dayton Freight (110), Central States 88], Best Buy [36], Grove Collaborative Fulfillment Center (250), DM Distribution Management (111), and RB/Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals (400).  

On July 31, Colliers International Vice President/property agent Jeoffrey Orf told Mid Rivers Newsmagazine, “In addition to the other large employers already in the business park, construction currently is in progress in the land next to Amazon, building an 811,000-square-foot warehouse for Medline Distribution.” That warehouse would support the St. Louis area’s health care industry. Orf added, “Medline will create 150 more jobs.”

  • Premier 370 Business Park
  • Premier 370 plot sign
  • Amazon warehouse
  • Best Buy warehouse
  • SAIA Freight Center

In the central part of the county, the Mid Rivers Mall Drive corridor has seen enough growth to rival Hwy. K in O’Fallon.

Near the intersection of Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Mexico Road in St. Peters, a large senior living facility named Clarendale has been built; it opened March 23. Three residential lifestyle choices are available: independent living, assisted living and memory care. The facility includes 112 independent living suites and villas, 64 assisted living suites and 38 memory care suites.

Clarendale administrator Mark Golliday said occupancy is approximately 25%, about where they expected to be after only four months. Regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the facility, he said, “We are here to fill a need, and that need did not go away because the pandemic is here. The pandemic has had very little negative impact on our growth plans.”

The facility is following the protocols and guidelines set forth by the state and county health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Clarendale of St. Peters
  • Clarendale of St. Peters

Bellemeade Manor is a villa community across the street from Clarendale.

On July 31, leasing manager Laraine Proctor described it as a “low-income, tax-credit community for lease to qualified residents age 55 and older.”

Proctor said there are 100 units, all two-bedroom and all occupied.

“There are 100 people on a waiting list, and it can take years to get in,” she said. “Residents here have taken full ownership of the community, even though all units are leased, and they take care of the property as if they are owners.”

Behind the villa community is a large subdivision, also named Bellemeade, that contains several streets of single-family homes. Hundreds of residents now live in the Bellemeade neighborhoods.

  • Bellemeade Manor sign in St. Peters
  • Bellemeade Manor
  • Bellemeade Manor single-family homes

Continuing south along Mid Rivers Mall Drive, at its intersection with Willott Road, an old Quik-Trip (QT) gas station and convenience center has been torn down.

On July 29, Amy Ward, of Blanton Construction, clarified that the company is doing a “scrape and rebuild for QT,” located at 3000 Mid Rivers Mall Drive. The weather-dependent target for completion of the new QT is mid-November.

According to Ward, Blanton has removed the old fuel tanks from the ground, to ensure there is no corrosive leakage. 

“QT is investing to have the new facility built from scratch, with new-technology tanks, fuel pumps, lights and a convenience facility,”  Ward said.

QT construction at 3000 Mid Rivers Mall Drive
QT construction at 3000 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters (John Tremmel photo)

At 5987 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville, Hutchens-Stygar Funeral & Cremation Center is being expanded. On July 29, Owner/Director Mark Hutchens, explained that the addition gives the facility about 50% more space and adds 70 new parking spaces on the south side of the building. 

The new space “will be used for two ‘community rooms’ that if needed, could be combined into one larger room,” Hutchens said.

He said the goal is to support both traditional and non-traditional gatherings for and after funerals and memorial services.

“The rooms will be airy, with high ceilings and lots of windows,” he said.  “They will have, if desired, a bar, bar tables, food buffet and options for luncheons and dinners after funerals or memorial services. Some people now prefer to have celebrations of life.” 

  • Hutchens-Stygar Funeral & Cremation Center
  • Hutchens-Stygar Funeral & Cremation Center

Hutchens said the new space will include a third chapel, additional restrooms and additional coffee lounges. A large portico awning will run the length of the building.

“Everything in the facility will be connected within large one building, allowing flexible space,” Hutchens said. “Our goal is to provide as many options as possible, to support a wide variety of needs.”

Mellow Mushroom Pizza
Land formerly occupied by Mid Rivers Golf Links now contains restaurants, shops and homes. (John Tremmel photo)

The area on the east side of Mid Rivers Mall Drive – generally across from St. Charles Community College, south from Dardenne Creek and Calgary Church and down to Cottleville Parkway – also has grown. 

The 18-hole Mid Rivers Golf Links used to occupy most of that land but it was sold after the 2008-2010 recession. The land now is home to several subdivisions including Miralago Estates by Fisher & Frichtel, a Circle K gas station, bank, an animal clinic, battery store, beauty shops, specialty stores, the Mid Rivers Commons strip mall, a Firehouse Subs, White Castle and a Mellow Mushroom Pizza. 

The area is very busy during the day and evenings, regardless of whether the community college is in session or not.

Harmony Ridge Apartments
Harmony Ridge Apartments on Cottleville Parkway. [John Tremmel photo]

At the southern edge of St. Charles Community College, new development has continued along Cottleville Parkway during the past year.

A Peoples Bank & Trust and St. Charles County Dermatology Center have been built, as well as a large apartment complex named Harmony Ridge. One additional apartment building still under construction.

Behind the apartments is the Harmony Lake single-family and condo subdivision. All of those residences are for the general population, not just community college students. On a recent Saturday morning, numerous families with young children and older couples were seen walking the grounds.

Under construction now, with an opening date of spring 2021, is Campus Lake Apartments, which are being built on the southern end of St. Charles Community College. Students are expected to be the main residents of this complex.

Cottleville Parkway has numerous parcels of open land still available for commercial and other development on both sides of the four-lane roadway. This attractive and well-located property likely will see much more development when the economy eventually recovers.

Following Route N south and west from Mid Rivers Mall Drive through downtown Cottleville to the western edge of the city, one sees several new subdivisions that are nearly complete. All are on streets off Route N.

Four examples are Ashford Knoll, Legacy at Patriots Ridge, The Woods at Cottleville Trail, and Winterbrook Estates. Each has homes from $400,000 and up, are built to be golf-cart friendly and have plans to attach their walkways and trails to the existing extensive network of Cottleville golf cart paths, trails and parks.

New 364 off-ramp eastbound to Gutermuth Road
New 364 off-ramp eastbound to Gutermuth Road. [John Tremmel photo]

To accommodate the traffic that comes with growth, Cottleville residents will benefit from a new $5.5 million interchange currently under construction on Route 364 at Gutermuth Road, about half-way between Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Hwy. K. The interchange will be a “dumbbell” design, with Route 364 on/off ramps connected to roundabouts at each end of the Gutermuth Road overpass. When opened, by the end of this year, traffic will be able to enter and exit Route 364 eastbound and westbound from and to Gutermuth Road. 

Gutermuth Road extends north to Motherhead Road, where drivers can turn left and within a few hundred yards be in downtown Cottleville at the intersection with Route N.

Route 364 westbound on-ramp from Gutermuth Road
The new Route 364 westbound on-ramp from Gutermuth Road. [John Tremmel photo]

The new interchange at Route 364 will open up nearby land for the development of new businesses and homes. Courtyards of Cottleville, a new community of 35 single-family “maintenance free” homes already is being built now at the intersection of Gutermuth and Motherhead roads.

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