The District at Crestwood- Crestwood Plaza Redevelopment

New and changing stores, restaurants, and businesses in the City of St. Louis
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I went to see a movie at Crestwood Mall yesterday, and it appears to be on life support. The entire eastern section of the mall over by the (former) Dillard's has that "last days of St. Louis Centre" feel to it. I hope that something is done about it soon.

I agree. Very sad. I remember as a pre teen running around there BEFORE the mall was enclosed (IIRC, there was a WOolworth that was torn down to make part of the mall). I worked at the Benetton in the late 1980's. I still go to Sears there; love that place.

I was just in there after Christmas -- admittedly a bad time to check the pulse of any mall, but it was pretty quiet.



I can vaguely remember back when the Dillards was still Stix. Which I guess shouldn't be too hard since Dillard's never did anything to that store. :P Even looking into the empty building now it looks like stepping back into 1978.

Here is a link to information about possible redevelopment at Crestwood:



http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/business/columnists.nsf/joewhittington/story/BB36A175E2326A91862573DA001072C5?OpenDocument



Let's hope this is something great. I'm afraid that the only hope for the mall is pretty much a total redo. I would love to see a true mixed use development with housing, etc. but $200 million doesn't sound like a total gut job. Since this is in my 'hood, I'm very curious to see the plans. I'm just happy that something seems to be planned!

It will be really interesting to see what the new owners come up with. The demographics are still there, so there's no reason why Crestwood couldn't be successful again someday, IMO.

DeBaliviere wrote:
It will be really interesting to see what the new owners come up with. The demographics are still there, so there's no reason why Crestwood couldn't be successful again someday, IMO.




You don't think West County Mall being 10 minutes away doesn't do some damage? Plus (IMHO) everything out at Gravois Bluffs I think also hurts anything in Crestwood.



I also think the fact that Dillards never chose to renovate is what's killing Crestwood Plaza. If Dillards would have renovated, Famous Barr would have done the same thing.

dweebe wrote:
You don't think West County Mall being 10 minutes away doesn't do some damage? Plus (IMHO) everything out at Gravois Bluffs I think also hurts anything in Crestwood.



I also think the fact that Dillards never chose to renovate is what's killing Crestwood Plaza. If Dillards would have renovated, Famous Barr would have done the same thing.




Yeah, but at the same time, it's still the closest mall to Webster, Shrewsbury, SW city, Sunset Hills, Sappington, etc. so I have to think that it could still thrive.

The first problem with Crestwood is that it has no interstate visibility If you look at all the St. Louis area malls, there is an easy trend to spot. Malls that are easily accessible and visible from the interstate are successful, while those that don't have highway frontage are having problems. Jamestown, Northwest Plaza, Alton Square and Crestwood are all facing major problems, and they all are located off of major streets instead of interstates. Chesterfield Mall, West County, Galleria, Mid Rivers, South County and St. Clair Square all have highway visibility and all are pretty or very successful.



I think it is going to be difficult for Crestwood Plaza to once again become a dominate player in St. Louis retail. Also, I think it would be hard to get lots of retailers to sign on, when West County Center is so close. Many retailers see that there is no reason to operate a store at both West County and Crestwood, when they know that the people will drive that extra ten minutes to go to West County Center.

ChesterfieldKid03 wrote:
The first problem with Crestwood is that is that is has no interstate visibility...




which is, oddly enough, the one reason I really liked Crestwood Mall. I knew it was there; didn't need to see it sitting on the side of a highway, at some bottleneck intersection. And you could easily park directly under the mall and take the escalator right into the middle of it. I'd take Crestwood ca. 2000 any day over West County Mall today.

This mall is badly in need of an overhaul - the first (and only) time I went there - I actually got sad. So sad that instead of watching a movie like I planned, I had to leave.



It doesn't need to be another mall with Macy's etc. - but any mall with that many closed stores is worse than a mall that is altogether closed.

bprop wrote:
ChesterfieldKid03 wrote:
The first problem with Crestwood is that is that is has no interstate visibility...




which is, oddly enough, the one reason I really liked Crestwood Mall. I knew it was there; didn't need to see it sitting on the side of a highway, at some bottleneck intersection. And you could easily park directly under the mall and take the escalator right into the middle of it. I'd take Crestwood ca. 2000 any day over West County Mall today.




I agree. When I lived in South County several years ago, I lived in a location that was convenient to both South County Center and Crestwood Plaza. Crestwood Plaza (prior to the redo of West County Center) was still a vibrant mall, and South County Center had yet to be expanded.



Crestwood Plaza was my mall of choice in those days. I liked being able to park underneath Sears or Dillard's, the movie theater was preferable to other alternatives nearby, and the mix of stores and restaurants was good. Although the mall may be hindered by a lack of direct highway access, and the anchors didn't maintain their stores all that well, the real death blow came when the remodeled West County Center opened.



I would hope that Macy's and Sears could be part of the redeveloped property, because as DeBaliviere said, the demographics are quite strong in that area in every direction. And it would be nice to have an alternative to South County Center and West County Center, both of which are a bit annoying to navigate on the average Saturday.



I'm no fan of zero-sum retail relocation, but I think Barnes & Noble might benefit by moving from its present location across the street into the new development. And I hope the movie theater will remain in some form, because the last time I was there, it was still a decent place to catch a flick (unlike the Esquire or Ronnie's, both of which are usually crazy for very different reasons). I really miss that Dillard's store, because even though it was evident that no money was spent on it since it opened as Stix Baer & Fuller in 1967, the clothing and shoe selection was only surpassed by the Galleria Dillard's location.

Crestwood Mall was always a favorite of mine, too. There was something about the size and layout that I liked. Maybe it was because you could park underneath and not have to walk past a sea of cars outside. Sad to hear that is struggling. Looking forward to new plans.

Expat wrote:
Crestwood Mall was always a favorite of mine, too. There was something about the size and layout that I liked. Maybe it was because you could park underneath and not have to walk past a sea of cars outside. Sad to hear that is struggling. Looking forward to new plans.




I agree - for some reason, the undeground parking made it cool (at least to me when I was a kid). I used to love coming up the escalator into the mall from the garage.

I know a guy that got his car keys stuck up on a concrete beam in the underground parking garage..... Learned a very valuable lesson that day. Don't toss you keys in the air.

DeBaliviere wrote:
Expat wrote:
Crestwood Mall was always a favorite of mine, too. There was something about the size and layout that I liked. Maybe it was because you could park underneath and not have to walk past a sea of cars outside. Sad to hear that is struggling. Looking forward to new plans.




I agree - for some reason, the undeground parking made it cool (at least to me when I was a kid). I used to love coming up the escalator into the mall from the garage.




I worked at Crestwood Plaza for a short period one winter. I loved the covered parking after two straight ice storms. However it sucked during Christmas when they made mall employees park down at Grant's Farm.

I wonder why all malls don't put parking underneath. Your land costs would be lower, and it's obviously more convenient for shoppers.

Framer wrote:
I wonder why all malls don't put parking underneath. Your land costs would be lower, and it's obviously more convenient for shoppers.




I wonder the same about big box stores.

Framer wrote:
I wonder why all malls don't put parking underneath. Your land costs would be lower, and it's obviously more convenient for shoppers.




I'm guessing that land is cheaper than foundations.

Galleria, West County, Plaza Frontenac and South County are all within 6 miles of Crestwood. And all have easy interstate access (pre-Hwy 40 shutdown).



Not only does Crestwood lack interstate visibility, you can't even get there easily from an interstate. You either have to wind your through residential neighborhoods on Big Bend and Sappington, which is kind of confusing unless you do it regularly, or you have to go Lindbergh to Watson and go through a bunch of lights and traffic.



The demographics are among the best in the region, but I just don't see how anyone could make this work given the very strong competition and less than ideal location.

MattonArsenal wrote:

The demographics are among the best in the region, but I just don't see how anyone could make this work given the very strong competition and less than ideal location.




Obviously, the perceived need to be on an interstate has varied over the years. Crestwood, NWP, and Jamestown (the 'dead' malls) were never on an interstate. I guess NWP is close 70 but not exactly in the way that West Co is.



Personally I think the death of Crestwood is not so much its location but rather the other malls (in the "better" locations) are bigger, newer, and nicer.

bprop wrote:

Obviously, the perceived need to be on an interstate has varied over the years. Crestwood, NWP, and Jamestown (the 'dead' malls) were never on an interstate. I guess NWP is close 70 but not exactly in the way that West Co is.



Personally I think the death of Crestwood is not so much its location but rather the other malls (in the "better" locations) are bigger, newer, and nicer.


I think it was a function of the owners just not putting any money into the place, period.



I can't find too many dates on it, but I was able to find from googling that the major rehab that led to the Crestwood Plaza as we know it was 1983. Compare to Chesterfield Mall, built in 1976.



Chesterfield Mall certainly was stuck in the 70s for quite some time (the bright orange carpet and sheet metal sculptures in the center-court areas, or even the very existence of those center-court areas persisted until well into the mid-1990s). But when Westfield bought the place they did some serious changes, and over that next ten years pumped a good amount of money into it. They remodeled the food court, got rid of all the 1970s kitsch, and expanded the place pretty extensively.



Going through Crestwood Plaza, it's exactly as I remember it back when "The Ultra Mall Had it All" except there are less real stores and lots more cell phone kiosks staffed by people who yell out to you as you walk by. You wonder if you're walking in the right direction until you realize that the Verizon kiosk you passed is not the same one you passed five minutes ago because a different guy shouted at you offering a free phone. It isn't just Dillards; there just has been absolutely no investment in the place since Reagan was President, and now we see what happens when you do that.

I know people like the theatre there, I haven't been in years. Is it still decorated circa 1990? It's been years since I was there but I remember that place looking like The Max diner on "Saved By the Bell".

ben1040 wrote:
Chesterfield Mall certainly was stuck in the 70s for quite some time (the bright orange carpet and sheet metal sculptures in the center-court areas, or even the very existence of those center-court areas persisted until well into the mid-1990s). But when Westfield bought the place they did some serious changes, and over that next ten years pumped a good amount of money into it. They remodeled the food court, got rid of all the 1970s kitsch, and expanded the place pretty extensively.





I used to love the decor at Chesterfield!

It's not just the mall that's depressing in Sappington/Crestwood. Take at look at Watson between Elm to the east and Sunset Hills to the west. There's tons of underutilized land and vacant storefronts, especially big box spaces. Compare that to what's happening Manchester and you see how retail's really fallen off in that part of So Co.

julia wrote:
It's not just the mall that's depressing in Sappington/Crestwood. Take at look at Watson between Elm to the east and Sunset Hills to the west. There's tons of underutilized land and vacant storefronts, especially big box spaces. Compare that to what's happening Manchester and you see how retail's really fallen off in that part of So Co.




I'm not sure there's less retail along there; there is more space that just cannibalizes what's already there, and it makes it look a lot less empty. Crestwood recently had another giant strip mall (with a Starbucks) that has a few tenants but is mostly empty. What on earth do they think they're gaining by permitting another POS building?