Shopping center

Development of a shopping center in southern St. Louis County

The mall at 6926 S. Lindbergh Blvd. in South County St. Louis, near the South County Center mall, has been owned and anchored for decades by Toys R Us.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The new owner of a mall that has sat vacant for years is taking advantage of a flurry of new development along South Lindbergh Boulevard by adding a new-to-St. Louis retail store with a pair of sought after chain restaurants.

The mall at 6926 S. Lindbergh Blvd. in southern St. Louis County, near the South County Center mall, was owned and anchored for decades by Toys R Us, whose store closed in 2018. But current Ohio owner Cornerstone Properties, which operates Planet Fitness locations, bought the site last year for $3.75 million to open a fitness center, and it filled empty big box space and created two outlets for restaurants along Lindbergh.

California-based Western clothing retailer Boot Barn opened a store in the mall earlier this year. And now the Five Guys and Panera restaurants are under construction and expected to open in the next three to four months, according to Kevin Shapiro of Leasing Commercial Real Estate, who served as broker for the new leases.

As the site’s anchor, Planet Fitness built 30,000 square feet of the former Toys R Us, and Boot Barn occupies the remaining 12,000 square feet. Their space is adjacent to an existing Joann Fabrics & Crafts store at 6910 S. Lindbergh, which is also owned by Cornerstone.

Boot Barn is the nation’s largest Western gear company, and this is its first store in the St. Louis area, said Shapiro, who represented the owner in the leases.

Although the property sat mostly unoccupied for years, getting new deals was a seamless process once Shapiro started shopping the sites after Cornerstone took over ownership, he said. It took a few months to register at Boot Barn.

For the company’s first location in St. Louis, Boot Barn chose the South County site for its accessibility to almost all parts of the region, with two nearby freeways, Shapiro said.

“It’s a super-regional site to serve a lot of people,” said Shapiro, who predicted the retailer will open more stores in the region.

Knowing which retailers had researched sites in South County also helped quickly align Five Guys and Panera for the outlot along Lindbergh. Shapiro knew that sites that allow drive-thru restaurants in South County are rare, he said, so he contacted burger chain Five Guys, which was looking for sites around South County and the Lindbergh Boulevard for years.

“It was a pretty easy sales pitch for both of them,” Shapiro said. “South County is a very, very strong retail market. Most retailers and restaurants do very well in South County. It is also a tight market. It’s not oversold. There are quite a few retailers who would love to have homes in South County that are still looking.

Other retailers seeking sites moved into locations south of Lindbergh, leading to a flurry of new construction activity along the busy corridor. More than 106,000 square feet of new retail is under construction in the South County submarket, according to a second quarter report from Gershman Commercial Real Estate. The retail vacancy rate was 7.5%, with rental rates of $13.65 per square foot, according to the research.

Read more of the story on the St. Louis Business Journal website.

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