St. Louis County Port Authority issues new call for Jamestown Mall redevelopers

The site of the shuttered Jamestown Mall near Florissant, seen here on June 1, 2019. (Post-Dispatch photo)

published in St. Louis Post Dispatch
by Jacob Barker
January 24, 2020

ST. LOUIS COUNTY — Developers with plans for the abandoned Jamestown Mall have until April 30 to submit proposals for the 140-acre site.
The St. Louis County Port Authority, which owns the north St. Louis County mall, released a request for proposals Friday.

Developed in 1972, the mall lost business to newer developments closer to interstates until finally shuttering in 2014.

St. Louis County has been trying to redevelop the site since then, using the St. Louis County Port Authority to acquire the property over the years. The Port Authority’s RFP says it will weigh purchase price, jobs created, financing feasibility, developer experience and the type of project, among other considerations, in choosing a developer.

Neighbors of the property have complained for years that the vacant property attracts vermin and vagrants and is a massive eyesore. Maintenance of the property lagged while the Port Authority was in legal limbo for a year as the St. Louis County Council and former County Executive Steve Stenger fought for control. The new Port Authority administration has spent the last six months securing the building and addressing overgrowth and other maintenance issues.

In 2018, the Port Authority selected prominent Kansas City logistics developer NorthPoint Development to purchase and redo the site as warehouses. But a sales contract was never executed, and NorthPoint officially withdrew its proposal this year after officials indicated they wanted to issue a new RFP, partly because of questions about possible improprieties related to Stenger’s pay-to-play corruption.
Stenger had urged NorthPoint to hire one of his top campaign officials, Ed Rhode, as a consultant, according to NorthPoint. And a federal sentencing memorandum prepared by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Stenger’s chief of staff — Bill Miller, who like Stenger was sentenced to prison time for his role in Stenger’s schemes — indicated that Stenger had orchestrated a plan to have the developers hire the father of St. Louis County Councilwoman Rochelle Walton Gray, now-disbarred lawyer Elbert Walton Jr., in an attempt to secure her support for the project.

Walton Gray initially expressed reservations about NorthPoint’s redevelopment plan, indicating she would prefer uses beyond warehouses.
In July, Walton Gray said she wanted a new RFP to be issued “so that there would be no thoughts of impropriety.”
Meanwhile, the Port Authority is also seeking developers for two prime properties it owns in downtown Clayton — the former family courts building at 501 South Brentwood Boulevard and a vacant office building and adjacent lot at 111 South Meramec Avenue and 121 South Meramec. Developer responses for those sites are due by Feb. 3.

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