ST. ANN, MO (KTVI) - The recently demolished Northwest Plaza shopping Mall will soon have a new face, and new tenants, as an effort is made to turn the area around the old mall into a new home improvement corridor. Two major retailers have already signed on.
Rothman Furniture signed a deal Wednesday morning to take over and renovate one of the buildings still standing on the property, a 46 thousand square foot facility that once housed Service Merchandise. Rothman CEO Jay Steinback says he’s confident the new edition of Northwest can succeed where the old one failed.
“It was a massive hub until the economy downturn and everything else and the mall got stale. It doesn’t mean retail ever left. It just slowed down.”
Rothman won’t be the only one opening in the fall. Home improvement retailer Menard’s is well into construction of its fourth St. Louis area store and will open around the same time. Stenback believes a home improvement corridor is developing in the area around Lindbergh and St. Charles Rock Road. A Weekends Only Furniture Store, a Value City Furniture and a Home Depot are among those already in place on the block.
Add to that, “Lowe’s, Best Buy, all within a quick drive. For someone who’s looking to do something with their home, this is becoming a destination location,” Steinback said.
Corporate Real Estate agents for the property say they’ve also gotten interest in the enormous amount of office space that will become available in the rebuild of the area.
“Call centers, technical schools, government agencies, medical users. Those tenants needing efficient space and lots of parking,” Pam Hinds of Balke-Brown Transwestern said.
But the question remains, why should the area succeed this time when it failed so badly, so recently? Those involved say the high traffic in the area is one reason, and the demolition of the old mall is the other.
“Part of the challenge was the mall,” commercial real estate agent Peter Sheehan of Naidesco said. “With over 1 million square feet, (it) had so much vacancy. Then more tenants moved out, additional tenants saying, ‘I can’t be here.’”
That, he says, is no longer a problem.
“It will become a super-regional shopping center, but with the office component, we’ll have that kind of mix that people will be able to work in here, then come in and shop in our stores and work in our restaurants.”
Steinback is betting on that vision with a project that will cost him about $3.5 million.
“Right around is a lot of dirt and a lot of construction trucks, so we have to put a lot of faith into Raven development and their partners around them that they’re going to be able to sign those leases, they’re going to be able to get these buildings built.”
Rothman and Menard’s are likely to be open in a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, developers expect remaining construction to be complete and vacancies filled by the Spring of 2016.