The new owners of the Meadows shopping center in Lake Saint Louis have unveiled plans for the expansion and revitalization of the seven-year-old outdoor shopping mall.
Daniel Sax, head of acquisitions for Cohen Equities, spoke to members of the Western St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce about plans that will make the Meadows “the heart of the community–a walkable, urban downtown.”
Sax said that Cohen hopes “to bring that local flavor and concept to the Meadows that would really make it truly exceptional–what the area truly deserves.” He described a mix of uses that would include a 132-room hotel, apartments, a movie cinema and a specialty grocery store.
The new owner will also emphasize community events and activities, continuing the annual Christmas tree lighting, outdoor concerts and movie nights.
The original owners, whose vision for the mall was purely retail, “ran into some bad timing” after the mall was originally opened in August of 2008, Sax said. Cohen will instead look for a strong mix of uses, he said, “Like you would get in a downtown area.”
Sax said they did not want a cookie-cutter mall. “We want more local businesses. National brands are fantastic, but they could be anywhere.”
“We want to bring the best of St. Louis, the best of St. Charles, to The Meadows . . . the best toy store, best burger joint, best pizza place that are from the area.”
When asked about two currently popular features, the Farmers and Artists Market and the ice skating rink, Sax was optimistic about their continued presence at the Meadows.
About the Farmers and Artists Market, Sax said, “We love it, we don’t want it going anywhere. We think it’s a fantastic amenity for the community and sets the tone for what we’re looking for.”
The ice skating rink, which was added as a temporary amenity to the mall this past holiday season, was a huge success, Sax said. Many stores showed strong sales gains during the holiday season, and he credited the ice rink. No decision has been made whether to build a permanent rink or to continue using a temporary rink.
The timeline for mall expansion could be anywhere from two to five years, Sax said. “It depends. If someone came to us tomorrow, and said here’s a deposit to build those buildings, we’d be off to the races. We’re waiting for one of the big pieces to fall into place,” he said.
Paul Markworth, Lake Saint Louis City Administrator, said that the city was eager for the changes. “It’s exactly what the community wants. The mayor and board of aldermen are saying ‘Let’s do it today.'”