Is Jamestown Mall blighted? St. Louis County Council seeks public input

Jan 2, 2017

Updated Jan. 3, 2017 with County Council action: The St. Louis County Council did not vote on designating Jamestown Mall as blighted at the weekly council meeting Tuesday. Newly elected council member Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Blackjack, requested more time to review information about the proposal. The council will take up the matter at a later date.

Original Story from Jan. 2:

Plans to redevelop the vacant Jamestown Mall near Florissant could soon take shape.  St. Louis County officials say they hope to complete the legal steps necessary to own the entire mall property within months.

The first step is officially classifying the mall as blighted, which allows the county to use eminent domain. The County Council has scheduled a hearing at 4 p.m. Tuesday in its chambers in Clayton to get public input. Later that evening the council is scheduled for a final vote on the matter.

“If you travel to the property and you walk it, as I did, you figure out pretty quickly it is (a hazard),” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “I mean, you have a dilapidated structure; you have sinkholes on the property at this point. For a time, we had individuals that were breaking in to the property and making their way in and doing who knows what in there.”

Ideas to redevelop Jamestown Mall have been circulating for years but, Stenger said, this time is different because the county is purchasing the mall from its five owners.

“There was no interest prior to my taking office by the county of purchasing the property. That’s a huge step,” Stenger said.

Jamestown Mall is east of Florissant near Lindbergh Blvd.
Credit Mapbox | OpenStreetMap

After a trip to see owners in New York, and more than a year of negotiations, the St. Louis County Economic Development Partnership purchased Macy’s, Sears and J.C. Penney’s and has made arrangements with a fourth owner.

The county plans to use the blight designation to encourage Dillard’s owner to sell.

“It’s really too early to make a comment on what the ultimate productive use might be — and I want to stress the safe use and the use that is consistent with public health,” Stenger said. “But I can tell you at some point there will be a great deal of public input and this process will be moving as fast as humanly possible.”

The contractors who put together the blight and redevelopment study have proposed converting the area into housing and small neighborhood shops.

Follow Camille on Twitter: @cmpcamille.