Demolition crews are set to make way for a $106 million overhaul of the old Northwest Plaza Mall in St. Ann.
The nearly two-million square foot property has sat vacant for years and will be rebranded as “The Crossings at Northwest”.
On Tuesday elected officials took turns taking a sledgehammer to the old Sears Automotive Center, located at the corner of Lindbergh and St. Charles Rock Road.
The redevelopment involves tearing down much of the old shopping center and renovating the 12-story office tower.
St. Ann Mayor Michael Corcoran described the new footprint of what developers are planning for the property.
“We’ll have another big box retail on that corner and then another row of junior anchors and several restaurants,” said Corcoran, “We’ll also have assisted living at some point in time, a data center, a college, some kind of technical college. It’s going to be very good mixed use for our community.”
The former J.C. Penney, Macy's and Burlington Coast Factory buildings will be preserved. The spaces will be upgraded to serve as "high-density office space", which rely on lots of free parking and proximity to freeways.
When it originally opened in 1963, Northwest Plaza was the largest shopping mall in the world but deteriorated significantly over the past decade as ownership changed hands several times.
Corcoran says having the property back in productive use will be a huge boost for the region.
“It’s our biggest stakeholder we have in this city, it’s been our identity to the region for many decades and just to see the deterioration and eventual closings, and being helpless to stop it was very frustrating.”
All told, roughly half the cost of redevelopment, about $50 million, will be financed through a combination of federal, state and local tax credits.
The project’s developer, Raven Development says demolition and construction will begin in 2013 and should take as many as three years to complete.
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