Crestwood Court Exterior
|Address||109 Crestwood Plaza
Crestwood, MO 63126
|Opening date||March 21, 1957|
|Closing date||July 11, 2013|
|Developer||Milton Zorensky and Louis Zorensky|
|No. of stores and services||0 (space for 157)|
|No. of anchor tenants||0 (space for 3)|
|Total retail floor area||1,034,494 square feet (96,000 m2) (GLA)|
|No. of floors||1 (2-3 in anchors)|
Crestwood Court, formerly known as Crestwood Plaza and Westfield Crestwood, is a defunct enclosed shopping mall in Crestwood, Missouri. Opened in 1957, it was the first major mall in the St. Louis area, and one of the first to have more than one department store. The mall previously included Macy's, Dillard's and Sears as anchor stores, all three of which are now vacant, resulting in a "dead mall".
Crestwood Plaza was the first regional mall in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Local retail developers Louis and Milton Zorensky developed the mall in 1957. Its original anchor stores included local department store Scruggs, Vandervoort and Barney (later Famous-Barr, then Macy's) and Sears, making one of the first major malls to have more than one anchor store, and the first to utilize a split-level parking lot to allow direct access to both floors of the anchors. The Zorenskys later developed a second St. Louis mall, Northwest Plaza, which opened in 1963. In 1967, Crestwood was expanded, adding Stix Baer & Fuller (later Dillard's) as a third anchor.
The mall was the subject of a 1975 lawsuit related to a Kroger supermarket that formerly operated within it. The suit was filed after Kroger moved to a new store across the street in 1972 and subleased its space in the mall to Tipton Electronics. Mall owners wanted to terminate the lease with Kroger, but Kroger wanted to maintain the sub-lease. The suit ruled in Kroger's favor.
Westfield Group purchased Crestwood Plaza in 1998 and renamed it Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood. The company sold two other St. Louis-area malls to CBL & Associates Properties in 2007, but did not include Crestwood in the sale. It had previously attempted to sell the mall to Somera Capital Management in 2006, but the deal was not completed. The mall was ultimately sold to Centrum Properties and renamed Crestwood Court. Also in 2007, Dillard's closed its store in the mall due to decreased sales. Famous-Barr had also announced plans to relocate to a new outdoor mall in Sunset Hills, but remained at Crestwood after the Sunset Hills development was canceled. The Crestwood store closed as a Macy's in 2009, leaving Sears as the only anchor.
The loss of anchor stores resulted in increasing vacancies throughout Crestwood Court. Although Centrum initially planned to redevelop the center as a lifestyle center, it filled more than half of the mall with art-oriented tenants, such as art galleries and dance studios. Sears closed in April 2012 due to declining sales. As of late 2012, the only remaining tenant was a LensCrafters. The mall concourses were officially closed off on July 11, 2013, leaving only LensCrafters, which had an exterior entrance. On September 16, 2013, LensCrafters closed, leaving the mall completely vacant.
In Summer 2013, proposed redevelopment hit a snag when the Crestwood board of aldermen refused to take the bid from the redeveloper, Centrum Properties, and the project was considered abandoned. The property at that point was entirely vacant. In April 2014 Urban Street paid $3.6 million for the Crestwood Court during an online auction. For comparison, the previous owner Centrum Properties paid $17.5 million when it purchased the 47 acre property in 2008. Centrum’s redevelopment plans were stopped when Crestwood aldermen refused to offer public tax incentives for the project. Of this interaction, Centrum Properties partner Sol Barket said, “The city of Crestwood is one of the finest communities in St. Louis, with wonderful people and some of the best demographics in the entire region. Although things may have gotten heated…, Mayor Jeff Schlink has been nothing but a pleasure to work with, and the aldermen, all good people, simply have different views and opinions of how the mall should be redeveloped.”
In 2014, UrbanStreet purchased the Crestwood Court property, which, at that point, had sat vacant for a year. On April 15 of 2015, the City of Crestwood released the initial proposal it received from UrbanStreet for the site. That proposal suggested mixed-use of retail and residential use, including open space and community gardens, entertainment, and service retail  So far, the City of Crestwood has moved forward in approving UrbanStreet as the developer for the property and has stated its intent to hold public meetings about that redevelopment. Crestwood Aldermen have called this step “completely procedural.”  The Lindbergh School District, which serves the City of Crestwood, has announced their opposition to the use of Tax Increment Financing for any component of a redevelopment that includes residential uses.
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