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Slowly, Jamestown Mall revival plan takes shape

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 30, 2010 - First, a panel of experts came to town, presented a pie-in-the-sky vision for what Jamestown Mall could become, then headed for the airport.

Next, a professional planner from Florida came to north St. Louis County, convened public meetings to solicit ideas, then put all the proposals together, sketched out what might be done and went back to refine things.

Now, early next year, county officials say a draft plan will be made public.

Then the real work begins.

Tom Curran, director of intergovernmental affairs for St. Louis County, told the Beacon that the vision synthesized by Dover, Kohl & Partners of Coral Gables, Fla., will be presented first to County Executive Charlie Dooley, then to the public.

After that, it goes to the County Council, where Curran said he hopes it would be adopted and become part of the county's general comprehensive plan. Finally, the County Economic Council will take the plan to developers, trying to market it and make the transformation of the 142-acre site a reality.

With ideas ranging from housing to shops to restaurants to a farmer's market -- and a whole lot of empty space to work with -- the planners will come up with a blueprint that is likely to take many years to be fully realized, Curran said.

"When you see the plan," he said, "you will see that it's broken up in phases. The site has multiple owners, so there are a lot of different scenarios that could play out. We didn't want to end up with a rigid plan, dictating that this would happen by X date. Different components of the plan are interchangeable; part of it could be redeveloped while the rest would remain."

While a lot of the ideas that came from the public back in September will be incorporated, Curran said, so will Dooley's admonition that because it took a long time for Jamestown Mall to reach the stage it's in today, bringing it back to life won't happen overnight.

"It's an evolutionary process," he said. "It takes time."

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