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Costco and Menards Proposals Heard by Council

Richmond Heights City Council members had questions about trash, noise pollution and traffic.

*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the councilman who spoke about compensation for residents of the 19 or 20 houses in the southern portion of Hadley Township. District 2 Councilman Jim Thomson made the remarks. This article has been updated to reflect the correct information.

The Richmond Heights City Council heard Hadley Township development proposals from Costco and Menards representatives at a special meeting Wednesday night.

Ted Johnson of T.J. Design Strategies and Mike Stratis of Intrepid Strategies are consultants for Costco and delivered a presentation on behalf of the company. Scott Nuttelman, a real estate representative for Menards, spoke on behalf of Menards.

Both businesses just north of Maplewood Commons along Hanley Road. The council made no decisions about who will develop the space during meeting. Mayor James Beck said the council will hear another proposal.

Pace Properties has proposed that would be located south of Dale Avenue in the Hadley area.

Both presentations stressed what representatives described as the companies' positive attributes. Stratis said that discount retailer Costco is the second-largest retailer in the country, that 90 percent of its employees have benefits and that it supports the nonprofit sector. Nuttleman said Menards offers profit-sharing for its employees along with medical, dental and life insurance.

Various council members had questions for the speakers.

District 2 Councilman Jim Thomson* said that there are 19 or 20 homes in the southern portion of Hadley and that the homeowners should be offered better compensation than . Neither company detailed its proposed compensation amounts, though both groups said they shared a concern for the homeowners.

Erma Nevels, a homeowner in Hadley Township, attended the meeting because she has concerns similar to Notter's.

“I want to make sure these people go through with the project, this will be the fourth developer,” she said. “I think other developers offered a fair amount, but they didn’t put any money up.”

Council members voiced concerns about trash, noise pollution, traffic and the longevity of possible stores. Both presentations stressed that three entrances to the stores will relieve traffic in the area.

Stratis said a 40-foot wall could be constructed behind the proposed Costco to protect  the residential area behind it from trash. He said that Costco stores have no outdoor speakers or storage and that managers earn bonuses partly based on the cleanliness of their stores. 

Nuttleman said that Menards’ customers make larger purchases than at many other retailers and that this creates less traffic flow around the store. He also said that the stores’ loading docks and trash collection areas are enclosed behind a wall and that they receive deliveries during limited hours.

District 1 Councilman Paul Lore asked whether the presence of a Costco and the neighboring Walmart would create enough competition to destroy either store. Stratis said Costco is more in competition with Sam’s Club than Walmart.

Nuttleman stressed the jobs that a Menards would be expected to create, both in store employment and in construction. He said Menards doesn’t have a location in the St. Louis metro area and that a Richmond Heights store would be a flagship location.  

He said that Menards only places so many locations within a geographic location and that Richmond Heights need not worry about another location in their general area, which could create a negative effect on tax revenue.

Stratis said that the Costco project would cost $59 million and that the company would need $29 million in municipal incentives.

Nuttleman said that the Menards project would cost approximately $55 million dollars and that he hopes the city could pay for a little less than half of that cost with a sales tax.   

Rebecca D. March 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Thanks for this story. I'm very interested in hearing more about the Hadley project. Any idea or discussion about what Pace might have planned?
RDBet March 15, 2012 at 03:27 PM
"Costco project would cost $59 million and that the company would need $29 MILLION in municipal INCENTIVES."....So much for "capitalism." --- Is there such a thing as regional coordination with development? We have seen this far too much - municipalities are pitted against each other in a battle of the tax bases. Neighborhoods get put into play, speculators come in - and the municipalities are overwhelmed by the charms of a developer. So it becomes a foregone conclusion that the older neighborhood which meets corporate big box specs of being within X amount of miles of major highway gets turned into yet another generic giant hardware store etal....And that is if it we are lucky and it all works out according to the brochure..otherwise the area gets left with people and properties stuck in a limbo state for a decade.
RDBet March 15, 2012 at 05:34 PM
$29 million in public incentives. So goes capitalism. Why can't the region work together on developments? We've seen this so often in Mid-county -the battle of the tax base amongst municipalities -and thus they are easily charmed by a developer to give over a neighborhood. Older neighborhoods within the big box corporate specs of being X miles from major highway gets put into play. Then the speculators come in furthuring the neighborhood erosion. It becomes a foregone conclusion that a development deal has to happen, otherwise the people and the neighborhood are in a state of limbo for a decade, like they have been at Hadley. Meanwhile, older commercial space developments a ways off (Deer Creek, StL Marketplace) continue to rot. Hard to get excited about another generic development in the heart of the metro area-especially when we have an abundance of big box retail competition around here, and especially with taxpayers footing a chunk of the development. But it is what it is.

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