Do the Math: Crestwood, MO

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If this kind of analysis excites you, it’s similar to what a firm called Urban3 out of Asheville, NC led by Joe Minicozzi does. We’re trying to get them to do an analysis of St. Louis. That takes considerable funding. If that’s something you’re interested in helping with please email me at richard at nextstl.com

Much of the focus of the region has been on the decline and troubles of north St. Louis County. Contrasting West Florissant to downtown Maplewood revealed why the built environment is such a liability and how it sucks away wealth rather than builds it up. Let’s look at another commercial corridor along Watson Road in Crestwood. Let’s do the math!

Crestwood Parcels with Colors and Scale

At 179 acres and $35M in assessed value the corridor’s productivity is $195,770 per acre. The commercial corridor of Crestwood occupies nearly six times the area as downtown Maplewood. Its assessed value per acre is 41% less than Maplewood’s. The most productive parcel is the Shop ‘n Save. This is because the parcel includes only the building and none of the surrounding low-yielding parking. The second most valuable is 9804 Watson which is tax-exempt and left out of the numbers above. The third is the 5/3 Bank at 9550 Watson at $567,526/acre.

With such low value it’s no wonder why cities with this type of development pattern are becoming ever more reliant on sales taxes. With such worthless structures their value must come from sales rather then the improvements to the land. As we’ve seen time and again sales tax receipts are at the whim of shopping habits tending towards the Internet, or the next new shiny shopping center on the edge, or the next TIF.

The most glaring signal of decline in the area is the shuttered Crestwood Mall. Once assessed at $28.7M in 2006 when open, it is now assessed 89% less. The quick decline of the mall exposes the vulnerability of this type of development. What happens in Maplewood when a establishment closes? People walk past it to the next place until a new establishment opens there. What happens when enough places are empty in a mall? People stop going to the trouble of driving there because one can’t tell how much of it is still occupied from the outside. Once it hits a tipping point, it crashes hard. Now an albatross, the mall sold for $3.5M at auction, and the town is left waiting for the extraordinary amount of capital it will take to bring it back to life or replace it.

Like Ferguson, Crestwood is being undermined by infrastructure and housing subsidies on the periphery of the region. Without population growth to fill in behind, Crestwood is very vulnerable. It used to benefit from being on Route 66. Now bypassed by I-44 its transportation advantage has slowly eroded as more rely on the interstate to go to a from further away homes.

Watson Road in the study area is 13.5 acres of pavement. Luckily for Crestwood it is a state-subsidized road, though not included in the Missouri 325 plan. This is a double-edged sword- the state’s priorities for the road may make it difficult to build the kind of high-productivity land uses sorely needed in Crestwood.

What stops Crestwood from becoming Ferguson? It’s housing stock is almost as old. Its median age is 13 years older. Its mall is shuttered. Its infrastructure is in disrepair. Its perception as a middle to upper middle income white area and the strength of the Lindbergh Schools keep it afloat. If either changes expect the downward spiral to begin. Or we could change land usage and infrastructure appropriations in the region to enhance places rather than undermine them.

Update 4/15/2015 – UrbanStreet’s plan for the mall site released

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  • 3A5UC

    Well, there’s less black people and I doubt the locals take kindly to their kind

  • Alex Ihnen

    Even the soft criticism of…”even some of the best places in STL face future challenges” is received poorly by too many.

  • matimal

    The real story here is the subsidization of exurban development. I wonder how the continued very low numbers of new, predominately exurban, single-family housing construction changes the dynamics of the suburban/industrial complex that have long sucked money and people away from cities. Any metro that has major new road or infrastructure building on its exurban fringes in our current economy is exhibiting nothing less than suicidal tendencies.

    • John R

      The Census estimates that the outer reaches continue to far outpace Saint Louis County in population growth…. JeffCo alone is estimated to have added as many people as STLCO since 2010. And then of course there is St. Charles Co., where the cities of Wentzville and O’Fallon each have gained more individually than the entire Saint Louis County. And while the Census estimates that Crestwood has had a tiny bit of population growth since 2010, many of the surrounding communities continue to lose people.

      Hopefully regional growth will pick up a couple notches to float all boats. But in the absence of that we’ll see more communities in the County face serious fiscal challenges.

      • matimal

        So, the suburban industrial complex will just consume St. Louis as it did Detroit? All hope is lost? Are you making plans to move to Austin or Denver?

        • John R.

          I was just about to book my U-Haul for Seattle but then I read in the paper today that McBride & Sons is planning a 527 home subdivision in Eureka so I’m staying. Or maybe I’ll choose to move to a new home along the soon-to-be glorious Page Extension Phase III.

  • John

    Perhaps with the aquarium at the City Museum getting the boot, Crestwood Mall could be a potential new home. Of course, it won’t be able to occupy the whole mall. It isn’t big enough. However, it could anchor it.

    • Thom

      If it is true on your statement of the City Museum and aquarium are getting the boot, perhaps this would be a nice incentive for the city of Saint Louis to practice urban renewal. It would be nice of Saint Louis would become more competitive by getting revenue to build an aquarium that will rival cities that have built one i.e. Atlanta, Georgia. While I will admit the Georgia Aquarium would be overdoing it for an area so far away from an ocean, but why not one comparable in size as the one in Mall of America and place it north of Edward Jones Dome? An area that is in need for something to bring in revenue and more business.

      • moe

        uhhh….the Shedd Aquarium is on a lake, not an ocean. And if partnered with the Zoo, one of the world’s leading organizations, an aquarium of large size could easily succeed. Perhaps the Zoo is already thinking that for the Deaconess property.

  • moe

    The problem of aging malls is not limited to Crestwood or the St. Louis area. Nor is it a new problem. However in yesterday’s USA Today was this article, which raises some very good points. With some highlights:
    “As newer and more recently redeveloped malls lure shoppers with trendy restaurants, spacious open-air layouts and popular fashion brands such as H&M and Zara, aging malls that have failed to reinvent themselves continue to see stores go dark and foot traffic dwindle.”
    “Competition among brick-and-mortar destinations and Internet shopping aside, the shopping mall remains popular among consumers. Annual sales per square foot were at the highest in nearly two decades in 2013, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, an industry trade group. But success at newer malls can mean older complexes – especially regional malls in small-town markets such as Upper Valley – take a hit.”
    “Upper Valley may take consolation in at least one trend: In many cases, losing an anchor store isn’t the death sentence it used to be. With the help of the Internet and smartphones, many shoppers show up with a plan, though they may not wander through other stores, Tron says. Increasingly that’s forced malls to think outside traditional retail, creating destination environments that entice consumers to stick around.
    The most successful malls have become one-stop-shop lifestyle centers, with broader dining options, gyms and health spas, says Mike Kercheval, ICSC CEO.
    The idea is that “you should have in a mall something you can’t get online,” he says.”
    Crestwood has a lot going for it, not just the mall, it will continue to be successful and not on the backs of drivers and other court-funded sources as seen in North County.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/03/14/springfield-ohio-upper-valley-mall-store-closings/23125539/

  • Crestwood_fan

    Crestwood is a great area. There’s lots of walking trails and decent shopping in the area. Across from Grant’s Farm there will be a new public county library built. The student population in Lindbergh School district is growing and new homes are being built across from Grant’s Farm will help bring in more families and grow the student population at the schools. My police officer cousin will be moving into his newly built house in the new neighborhood community. People love Crestwood. Even if the mall goes downhill, it will be replaced with something else. New businesses will pop up. People support their community and many families are active in events that happen in the Lindbergh schools. There are local bars near Lindbergh and watson (Helen Fitzgerald’s), Laumeier sculpture park is nearby, and so is the community college. It’s a great area surrounded by other great areas. I have only good things to say about Crestwood. It’s more than decent.

    • rgbose

      I don’t have a crystal ball. I’m just worried we’ll see a repeat of decline that we’ve seen in many other areas of the region without policy reforms at regional state and federal levels.

      Wouldn’t many have said similar things abut their city neighborhood in 1950?

      • T-Leb

        In 1950 I don’t think many thought their neighborhood would be overrun by crack epidemic and waves of heroin bombings, but that’s what happened in StL.

        • Adam

          The crack and heroin epidemics were more likely a result of suburban flight than vice versa. Jobs and money flee to the subburbs, the poor can’t follow the jobs —> concentrated poverty, despair, drug use.

          • T-Leb

            You are right, Mafia guy was bombed on Hwy 55 on his way to his home in Mehlville.

          • Adam

            Not sure what that proves. Since he didn’t live in the suburbs the epidemics can’t be related to suburban flight and the divestment of wealth from the city and resulting poverty, which generates a market for illegal drug activity?

          • T-Leb

            Michaels Sr lived in Mehlville, was bombed on Hwy 55 by Leisure cousins http://murderpedia.org/male.L/l1/leisure-david.htm

          • Adam

            the only mention of crack or heroin in that link is with respect to a law student on Leisure’s defense team. i’m don’t know what you’re trying to suggest. that a law student on crack and heroin implies that those epidemics are not related to suburban flight? please just say what you’re trying to say. are we agreeing or disagreeing?

          • T-Leb

            Neither, Both. Too much agreement kills a chat.

          • Adam

            Well, talking past each other about completely different things kills a chat too. So does being unnecessarily cryptic.

          • T-Leb

            Stay on topic.

          • Adam

            How am I off topic? What you’re arguing, I think, is that unforeseen factors (e.g. crack and heroin) led to abandonment in the city, and that policy reforms (as rgbose is suggesting for Crestwood) would not have helped. I’m suggesting that shitty policy is what led to the abandonment, and the epidemics followed. If I’m misinterpreting you then just say so. If you disagree just say so. If you don’t want to talk about it just say so. Not that difficult.

    • STLEnginerd

      Crestwood has a lot of strengths (notably schools and parks) and certainly some of the comments regarding its current state are hyperbolic. No question it’s strengths support higher housing values. That said it does not pay to be blind to long term trends. At one point Florissant was the best school in Missouri. Any school district can decline and there are parks and trails in MANY other communities in the St. Louis region. Stagnation will be death eventually. Granting that, how does Crestwood improve upon their strengths?

      I think Crestwood right now has no center and if they want to remain a strong community Long term I think it would pay dividends to invest in a town center. The concept of a town center at The Crestwood Plaza site along withs a “road diet” in the area that adds street parking on Watson in this section of Manchester would cement Crestwood as an actual “place” rather than a series of subdivisions and a long retail strip.

  • Anon

    Mr. Bose do you live in Crestwood? Do you send your children to the Blue Ribbon Schools here? Do you enjoy our safe neighbirhoods and low crime rate? Maybe you like to visit our aquatic center or enroll you children in our low cost gymnastics, dance or karate lessons? Do you enjoy being able to walk Grant’s Trail to Grants Farm from your house? I doubt so, but I see you do enjoy analyzing a community you’re not a part of from the comfort of your office. Don’t worry about what our community will do, it’s not your problem!

    • Tim E

      Okay, I will take the bait. No, I don’t live there but have no problem agreeing with the things that you like about Crestwood. But in all fairness this a narrow discussion on a type of retail that will not help Crestwood in the future but will result a difficult tax burden/question to the community. The same issue relative to a lot of communities in the immediate area. I own a house in Shrewsbury and see the same thing, a great small community that will have to find a way to pay for the nice parks, nice pool, police department and community services. In other words, how do you keep the services and the amenities of the local government with a commercial property tax payroll that is declining not increasing as the article accurately points out? Does it hope to attract a bigger and better Target to compete against the new Walmart going in Shrewsbury (more sales tax dollars for Shrewsbury services less sales for Crestwood).
      .
      For one, I would demo the Crestwood mall and introduce more housing back along with the road diet. As you noted yourself, their is some great things for why people want to live there so why not increase housing stock instead of chasing another big box store that is competing with every new box store along the way?
      .
      Finally, this is a blog about discussing things. Sorry it offends you that other people not from Crestwood comment on Crestwood. But does that mean I can only comment on Shrewsbury and you can’t? or people from Missouri can only comment about Missouri or those from California, my new home even though I still own a house in Shrewsbury, can only comment about California? How about TIF’s, do you agree or not or do you have to live near an area that has a TIF being initiated by that community?

      • moe

        Don’t you find it just a bit hypocritical to be claiming Crestwood has a dismal future and will face some sort of tax redistribution when you are living in Shrewsbury; which financed it’s new Wally World by the use of TIFs? How much damage is your community doing to not only Crestwood, but Webster, the City, Afton, and yes, parts of Maplewood by putting themselves first? Maybe Shrewsbury should have invested in more housing stock instead of a Walmart?

        • Tim E

          No I don’t Moe, do you feel a bit hypocritical when you freely state your comments? I see any community who will have to depend no a box store sales receipts having difficult years ahead including Shrewsbury when it comes to maintaining services and amenities that make a community desireable in the first place. Is things working for Crestwood as Anon noted in the reply above? For Anon, Yes. Have no problem with that.
          .
          Second, please read my statement again. I own a house in Shrewsbury but that doesn’t mean I currently reside there. So I couldn’t vote for or against the current leadership that gave Wally World a TIF. But you assume so now I’m hypocritical. Nor do you know why my wife and I first bought in the first place. Like Anon, mostly about committed community for which my family was within walking distance to three public parks, a refurbished pool, the police/fire Department three blocks away, the Webster Groves school District, the Des Peres River Trail (Not as nice as Grants trail but any bike trail is a good trail in my mind). Also, it was very easy for my wife to get to work as well as having a brand new metrolink station nearby which was a big plus for coming and going to Lambert on my business trips. Metrolink essentially let us drop a car and the associated costs.
          .
          Do I agree more housing stock would have been a better choice for Shrewsbury over Walmart. I agree. But it funny that you mention the Maplewood the King of big box TIF considering you got Walmart, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s and now Menards that came well before Shrewsbury Walmart. Which goes back to the article in the first place. Commercial property tax values decreases in time with big box store development.

          • moorlander

            Menards is Richomond Heights.

          • Anon

            Which is in the Maplewood-Richmond Heights schools district, so yes Maplewood kids will be hurt by this

          • moe

            I think you are confusing Maplewood for Richmond Heights with the King of TIFs; that Menards….in Richmond Heights. Maplewood is hardly decreasing overall. In any case….Shrewsbury seems to have suffered all the losses you associate with Crestwood…aging infrastructure, it’s largest shopping district shuttered, it’s housing stock is old, etc. But Crestwood’s median income is $54K compared to Shrewsbury’s $48K.
            Shrewsbury’s solution….your solution….is to build a Walmart. Yes, and as a property owner with a vested interest…living there or not…part of that is still on you. You want re-distribution of city income sources…sounds great in theory until you face issues such as increasing property taxes and then running out the poor, elderly, and all others on fixed incomes (or Shrews gives them waivers which just increases the taxes on everyone else) So to keep all those nice amenities…the park, the pool, the police (not mentioning the parks, schools, and trails Shrews “borrows” from the neighboring communities) …are you willing to pay more property taxes or have the Walmart?
            Shrewsbury could have gone with more housing stock and thereby helped themselves with a stable long-term income flow and which would have also helped out the neighboring communities by supplying the people to pay the sales taxes in those communities. But no, Shrewsbury instead decided to grant a TIF and build a Walmart which will harm the neighboring communities as all Walmarts do. Seems pretty selfish to me.

          • moe

            Oh..and my opinion, not that you asked, on the Watson Road commercial corridor? The corridor itself is fine. There is a great mix of large, small, chains, independents, etc. Really, something for everyone. So the for majority of Watson through Crestwood is and has been pretty stable. It is only around the Mall itself that the troubles develop…because the life expectancy of that type of mall is at it’s end. I think in some areas more apartments would be of benefit. I don’t see much value in condos and such because few that choose to live in a suburb want to live on top of a busy road. The mall itself could be redeveloped into a sort of Biltmore plaza (Phoenix, not the estate) with an outdoor mall in front and overlooking the back valley, appropriate housing…Crestwood residents would have to decide if that would be homes, condos, or apartments. Most of the residents are aware of the issues they face, I’m sure they’ll make the decisions that are right for them.

          • John R

            “Maplewood is hardly decreasing overall.”

            Not sure what you mean by decreasing, but of all the munis in that general Maplewood/Shrewesbury/Crestwood I-44 area, Maplewood appears to be facing the most immediate challenges of a shrinking population and rising poverty. Anyway, all these communities need to cooperate better.

      • Anon

        Oh it doesn’t offend me that people from other areas comment on Crestwood but rather I feel embarressed for them since they don’t seem to know what they’re talking about. First you do realize that the last developer sold it to the current owners because Crestwood refused to give them a TIF correct? Second, along with what Moe said, why didn’t Sherwsbury build new housing, my guess would be that the Affton schools are the best selling point to young familes. Third the “difficult tax burden” if we do not have retail/commerical really wouldn’t be all that difficult. Take a moment and look up what we pay for residential property taxes, we pay lower taxes than those in unincorporated St. Louis County who reside in the Mehlville Fire District!!!! We can afford to pay a bit more because our taxes are very low to begin with and our median income is stable and growing with the housing stock turnover to young familes coming here for all our community offers. In fact, a lot of new neighbors come here from Shrewsbury for more space and better public schools.

        • Tim E

          Anon, do I know every fact of every town and city. No. I’m I embarrassed? No and really care less if you feel embarrassed for me. You already noted one incomplete fact about Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury is actually split between two school Districts, Afton and Webster Grove but I doubt you are embarrassed by that.
          .
          What I want to know is what is your opinion to do with Crestwood Mall? What is your opinion about Watson Road commercial corridor? Should city encourage a different type of development, etc. From your comments I can only assume to do nothing approach is the best because everything else great.
          .

          • Anon

            No my fact was correct about Shrewsbury. In regards to the new Wal-Mart site in Sherwsbury, it is in fact located within the Affton school district, in regards to Moe’s comment of why they didn’t build housing on the Kenrick site instead of the Wal-Mart, Affton schools wouldn’t be that big of a draw.

            What I would do with Crestwood mall would be to get a Brownfield assessment asap. The previous one that was about to start terminated with the sale. Absolutely nothing can be done until we find out what were working with. My opinion on the Watson Rd corridor is that with the influx of young familes, the strip malls will be at capacity with stores that serve those demographics and I would also love to see the city and new beautification committee work with Ameren and the Public Service Commission to bury the unsightly power lines.
            I think the city should only encourage a different type of developemnt if a TIF or rezoning is requested, until then it’s private property owned by a private party.

    • rgbose

      I do not. One of my good friend’s parents live there. I’m worried because I see some the same trends that have lead tot he decline of other areas in the past setting up in Crestwood. The region ignored North County and look where it’s at today. We can’t afford to keep repeating this cycle.

      • matimal

        The region didn’t ignore North County, it actively worked to put undesirable people and activities there.

        • rgbose

          Ate, well disinterested in its long-term prosperity is probably more accurate.

          • Anon

            Nope Matimal was correct! We do not have Section 8 or HUD properties, we have a large population with bachelor’s degrees, and most important, our high earners are spread out working for many companies in many industries not just reliant on McDonnell Douglas / Boeing for our white collar citizens.

      • Anon

        Would you mind stating the specific trends you see setting up in Crestwood? And as far as being familiar with Crestwood through your good friend’s parents, are they perhaps in the 25-40 demographic? Do they have children under 5? See I do, and so do a lot of new residents in the last 10 years that have moved here. Baby boomers living in Crestwood are having a hard time coming to terms with the beloved mall of their youth being gone and “Route 66” being little to zero importance. The generation born after 1975 has zero emotional ties to the boomers nogastaila. The new young middle class familes flocking here are doing so due to the over 100% increase in parochial school tuition in the last 10 years, which creates a need for superb public schools, close drive to downtown and increasing property values for the last 2 being things that can’t be found in St. Charles County and parts of the Parkway district in west St. Louis county.

        • rgbose

          I’m guessing they are early 60s. I see a commercial corridor that is low productivity and easily undermined by the development subsidies on the edge of the region which will make it very difficult to maintain infrastructure and services.

          A median age of 46 which is 11 more than Maryland Heights for example. I see ever more population movement west and south. The project list on the Amendment 7 proposal included more roads and widenings in JeffCo. These things can certainly be buttressed or overcome, but I submit a place like Kirkwood has done/will do better with its strong foundation in a traditionally built downtown than those that don’t.

          • Brian

            Jessica Bock’s article about the Webster Groves school tax proposals in this morning’s P-D is interesting. Already among the highest in the county at $5.85/$100, if both proposals pass, the rate would go to $6.78 to be the highest. The primary cause for the need to boost property tax rate is the relative lack of commercial tax revenues compared to, say, Kirkwood ($4.25/$100). Nobody thinks Webster is going to go downhill anytime soon, but there are challenges when a municipality depends too heavily on one source of revenue, be it property taxes, sales taxes or (in many north county villages) traffic tickets. These trends move slowly, and are rarely apparent to the average resident. With the exception of Crestwood Mall (who misses going to Sears, anyway?), Crestwood still looks like Crestwood. I think Ron’s analysis is important because it digs beneath the surface and calls attention to potential pitfalls in the current business model.

          • rgbose

            How much in sales taxes do school districts get in St. Louis County? Does it vary by district? Is there a max? The SLPS gets 2/3%

    • moorlander

      Every one only wants the best for Crestwood. I think it’s important to try to look at outsiders analysis with an open mind. Crestwood is a very nice community but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to changing demographics as boomers age.

      • Anon

        Oh our demographics are already changing! It was the boomers parents that have aged and now the children of the boomers are moving back with their small children due to our affordable quality housing, low taxes and top school district. That’s why Lindbergh Schools are the fastest growing in Missouri.

        • STLEnginerd

          Out of curiosity Anon, are you just offended by what you see as Crestwood bashing (there is some in the comments, but i don’t think the author’s piece qualifies), or do you disagree with the corrective course proposed here by the author and other posters. Namely smaller scale denser, mixed use, live work town center type development (particularly for the old Crestwood Mall site)

          Think new developments like The Boulevard by the Galleria, or Streets of St. Charles, or New Town St. Charles. Does this vision sound unappealing to you?

          I really think the author’s concern here is about the long-term sustainability of Crestwood. As a resident, aren’t you also concerned about this?

          Right now the strengths of Crestwood, which you have sited, give that city a chance to set upon the right course of development that will make them successful long-term. How do you use that to Crestwoods advantage? What form do you envision for a successful vibrant attractive Crestwood in 20 years?

          • Alex Ihnen

            So well said. Thanks STLEnginerd.

          • Anon

            Yes the Crestwood bashing is offensive and that certainly includes the author’s comments. The author sounds ill informed and far removed.

            Look up the 1/23/15 South County Times article, it sums up my feelings on this. Lifestyle centers have spotty results and multi-family housing might work in other areas but it’s not what Crestwood residents want nor where typical condo would buy. The below grade street level is a major issue along with the tear down of the parking garage which could require 5-8years before the ground settles to be buildable again on. I’ve done an insane amount of research on this and attended 90% of public meetings pertaining to this as well as having young children in Lindbergh schools and getting out and speaking to my fellow neighbors about this. Referencing Ferguson in regards to Crestwood basically discredited the author. Next time make sure the demographics haven’t rapidly changed when using census numbers from 5 years ago.

          • Alex Ihnen

            In your offense to a perceived bashing you’re completely missing the point – which is that there are threats to Crestwood’s current status (of excellent place to live) and macro-development trends and micro political decisions are often decades too slow to identify these challenges and make any effort to address them. Community after community hold tightly to a belief that a) there’s noting wrong with where I live, and b) the place I live can’t possible get worse. This is dangerous thinking for a community that wishes to be a premiere residential destination two decades from now. This post is meant to be a conversation starter and not a final prescription for Crestwood. I figured that was apparent. Sadly, it’s always easier to shoot the messenger than to recognize the message.

          • Anon

            When the messenger is relaying an incorrect message it’s not the easier thing to do, its the right thing to do. Your comments of community after community holding tight to the beliefs you mentioned are not the case here. Crestwood is not a one size fits all situation. It’s not a “shame on you car centered suburbia why can’t you be more walkable like us ” situation. I am absolutely NOT missing the point, I disagree with the point that there are threats to Crestwood’s current status. You’re obvioulsy missing my point, Crestwood hit rock bottom around 2009-2010. Since then a rapid demographic shift has happened and will continue to happen with young famlies buying houses with actual $$$, actual % down, not subprime buyers. Lindbergh Schools is projecting another 1,000 kids in the next 4 years. Crestwood will have the upper hand as far as commercial development goes. Please trust that we aren’t going to slap up the first retail scheme that presents itself. We already told Sol Barket and Centrum to take a hike due to their unfessible plan and we will continue that until there is something that can be a legacy project. I’m not a lifetime Crestwood resident, I lived on both coasts and in the south east, rural, suburban and urban. I’m not just spouting off because I’m taking things personal rather I’m dissappointed that an article was written that wasn’t very factual. You know, kinda like that Target coming to Cortex article that was written here that turned out to be false.

          • Alex Ihnen

            I’m missing what wasn’t factual in this article.

          • John R

            I wonder if the article said that Crestwood approved a 2015 budget with a projected $650,000 deficit that wouldn’t be factual.

            http://www.callnewspapers.com/Articles-Impact-News-i-2014-12-17-276196.112112-Crestwood-board-OKs-budget-with-2percent-pay-hike.html

            Not as bad as the ugly years of a decade ago and it doesn’e mean Crestwood’s ship is sinking, but it also isn’t exactly the type of message Anon thinks has to be spread through the internet.

          • Adam

            Eh, seems like Anon is on a quest to get offended. The article is in no way offensive or misleading, unless one happens to be unreasonably defensive… about Crestwood.

  • Chris

    Crestwood mall location is difficult to get to. To far off the highway, same with all of Watson RD. There are a lot of service businesses on Watson and offices as well, things that WalMart doesn’t really change. It’s probably time to recognize that Fergson did t just die because it wasn’t developed properly. It has been through many ups and downs in its day. What killed it was the crime from the surrounding area creeping in and the flight of the residents west.

  • Nicholas Eberle

    I’m surprised you didn’t touch on the fact that there is a new Walmart going in Kenrick Plaza just down Watson in Shrewsbury. The big losers here are going to be Yorkshire Village in the Village of Marlborough and the desolate suburban wasteland of Crestwood. Research has shown that when a Walmart goes in, many small businesses (which are plentiful on Watson) are forced out of business. That retail business is then captured by Walmart, and the profits don;t circulate back into the local economy. It’s doubtful that there will be any net economic growth, and property along Watson will continue to decay in value as more and more businesses close. It’s hard not to be a little depressed riding the 21 Watson every day, watching Walmart rise and the hopes of Crestwood crumble.

    • rgbose

      Forgot about that. The Sunset Hills shopping center doesn’t help either. There is a massive oversupply of retail space thanks to our taxation system.

    • Anon

      “Desolate suburban wasteland”? Crestwood is an amazing community to live in, and is part of the Lindbergh School District that has been the #1 rated district in MO for the past 5 years. You just keep riding that 21 Watson bus everyday and don’t worry about us, we’ll be just fine!

      • Nicholas Eberle

        Lindbergh School district was actually ranked #2 in the region last year; Spring Bluff was ranked above. And, in 2013, Brentwood was ranked #1. Certainly, Lindbergh school district is a great district, but it also has the benefit of having almost no poor students. And I’m sure Crestwood is a great place to live and raise a family. Shrewsbury is a great place to live. South City is also a great place to live. Kirkwood is also a great place to live. None of that allows these communities to ignore their long term problems.

        • Anon

          Not sure where you’re getting your info from, according to the MDSE Lindbergh K-12 schools have ranked #1 for the last 5 years. Don’t let me confuse you with the facts! Also not sure what you mean by Lindbergh doesn’t have enough poor students? So poor students can not possibly be smart? Typical lib statement right there man!

          • Adam

            He didn’t say that Lindbergh doesn’t have enough poor students, nor did he say that poor students can’t be smart. Let’s settle down before the tiresome “dem” and “lib” nonsense starts flying. Statistically, schools populated by students from middle and upper class families perform better than those populated by poor students. And poor students integrated into schools with majority middle and upper class students tend to do better. The reason is not poor = dumb, but other stressors associated with poverty that distract from school.

          • Anon

            Yikes didn’t realize lib was a bad word! So are you saying that Crestwood is an middle and upper class area?

          • Adam

            “Yikes didn’t realize lib was a bad word!”

            Let me remind you of your logic:

            “So poor students can not possibly be smart?”

            —> obviously fallacious statement

            —> typically liberal statement

            Grow up.

            “So are you saying that Crestwood is an middle and upper class area?”

            I’m saying that the median household income in Crestwood is double the median household income in St. Louis City:

            http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29/2965000.html

            http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29/2917218.html

          • Adam

            And more importantly, 5% of Crestwood’s population lives below the poverty level versus 27% of St. Louis City’s. So, yes, comparatively Crestwood is a “middle and upper-class area”.

        • Ebsy

          I was getting my information from the Post-Dispatch, which in turn was quoting from MDESE report cards on the various districts around St. Louis. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/school-district-ratings-show-wide-divisions-within-missouri-districts/article_7f5709b9-5b78-529d-afc3-8bcabf7eb71f.html
          Also, I don’t appreciate you putting words in my mouth or resorting to ad-hominem attacks. This is an urban news website, not Politico or the Washington Post.

          • Anon

            Ah I see you were quoting the report cards, not the actual MAP test scores that measueres academic achievement. Lindbergh School district has rated the highest in academic achievement for k-12 schools for the last 5 years. And you do now that Spring Bluff only has 241 students and its k-8 right? And since you were offended by my lib comment could you please clarify your quote of ” but it also has the benefit of having almost no poor students”, not really sure what you meant by that.

  • tbatts666

    Let’s hope Crestwood is able to minimize the downward spiral with something sustainable.

    So excited that you are trying to get Urban3 to analyze STL. Their work hits the nail on the head, and their figures are so beautiful.

    Joe Minicozzi is the bomb.

    • Anon

      “Downward spiral”? Do you live here? Do you send your kids to school here? If Crestwood is in such a downward spiral then why are the average home sales prices continuing to increase? Why do many homes sell in days or a few weeks after listing? People are very eager to live here, maybe you should get a clue!

      • tbatts666

        hey anon,

        I think it’s great you care so much about your community in Crestwood.

        A lot of people have been demonstrating that certain development patterns don’t seem to to pan out too well in the long run. They don’t seem to be financially sustainable.

        http://www.strongtowns.org/the-growth-ponzi-scheme

        Lack of resilience financially has been A major factor for the financial troubles of many other Stl county municipalities. When a city’s infrastructure becomes a liability how do they keep paying for it? The original article suggests that Crestwood’s expensive shopping districts might not be that great of an investment.

        These downward neighborhood spirals happen in slow motion.

        At some point you need to be at the top of the spiral.

  • Alex P

    I don’t care what other development caused Crestwood Mall to fail, because those developments are going to fail in 10-20 years the same way Crestwood did. The point is that this quick return development is unsustainable. Hopefully we can salvage some of these buildings while carrying out the region’s first real sprawl repair project.

  • Andy Crossett

    Greed within Crestwood itself also played a part. Opening stores such as Koh’s and Gordman’s (now also closed) and all the new strip centers killed any chance for the mall. Then the Watson Road closure during Hwy 40 reconstruction made it worse. Then add in Gravois Bluffs and this was enough to kill the golden goose. I still believe that the Crestwood Mall could still be open today, since Watson is open again. But without serious renovations, its now probably a lost cause.

  • T-Leb

    Crestwood Mall was cannibalized by the complete redo of West Co Mall and the investment in South Co Mall.
    As far as what keeps Crestwood area going? Families enjoy living next to a National Park, Grant’s Farm, and the very popular Grant’s Trail.

    • Fozzie

      Gravois Bluffs…

      Don’t forget the very good Lindbergh School District. There is hope for Crestwood, but it needs work.

      • Ted Yemm

        Gravois Bluffs is often overlooked as a cause to Crestwood Mall’s decline, but probably the most impactful. The severely outdated Crestwood Industrial Park next to the mall is also significantly limiting the area’s growth. From a livability standpoint, Crestwood has a lot going for it including Grant’s Trail, and relatively easy access to downtown and west county.
        I believe that putting Watson on a road diet through Crestwood would be extremely beneficial and could really demonstrate the benefit of those types of projects effectively. My dream for the Crestwood Mall site would be luring the Kratig Brewery project with a biergarten and a brewing school as an anchor. The brewing school expands into a culinary school with a focus on grilling techniques, and the brewery tours drive increased traffic for the rest ofthe region!

        • Anon

          Glad to know there are others that know about the Kraftig secret and what Billy Busch has instore for us! Good things come to those (town) that wait!

          • Ted Yemm

            I hope that you know more positive news about Kraftig than I know. I have written to the old mall owners, the new mall owner, Kraftig, the mayor, and my aldermen to suggest Kraftig as a possible tenant and have really heard nothing back from any of them. The Busch family has a lot of history in this part of St. Louis, and I think that they would love to be a part of the solution here.

          • Anon

            Ted every can or bottle sold
            is a brick in a brewery here! I encourage you to attend any Sunset/Crestwood chamber of Commerce meetings or any Crestwood/Sunset Hills or even Grantwood city meetings when Billy Busch will be in attendance.

          • Ted Yemm

            I have recently attended the overview of the mall property by PGAV, and, as a member of the Chamber, I attend when I can. I have not run into Mr. Busch at any of my meetings, but hopefully I will see him at some time. His attendance at these meetings would certainly bode well for this area.

        • T-Leb

          Gravois Bluff is not a reason for Crestwood Mall decline, I mean, Ultimate Electronincs/Circuit City/Linen & Things/American all failed in Gravois Bluff and weren’t mall exactly stores. A road diet probably wouldn’t work on Watson since there isn’t even a turn lane now. Get ready for Fenton to attempt retail at old auto plant site soon.

          • Ted Yemm

            A road diet should include removing the medians on Watson which would become a turn lane. Crestwood has already begun to look into removing the median which would be difficult because there is no road surface below, but not impossible.

        • JZ71

          Gotta disagree on Gravois Bluffs – many of the stores, there, have locations closer to Crestwood in Kirkwood (Target, Walmart, Lowes, Buffalo Wild Wings). And the other two malls (West & South) are a much bigger factor in Crestwood Plaza’s demise than any big box stores. Still the biggest challenge is demographics – with an aging population, Crestwood’s residents, in their 60’s and 70’s, are spending less than they did when they were in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s . . .

          Bigger picture, as a region, we need to get past relying on trying to get “more” revenue from non-residents (from sales taxes and predatory policing) and focus more on taxing residents directly, through higher property taxes. Everyone loves “something for nothing”, but the reaility is “there is no free lunch”!