On September 15, 2009 Schnucks, the largest grocer in our region, opened a new “flagship” location:
DES PERES, Mo. – After 46 years of serving customers in its present location, Schnucks Des Peres will close at 9 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14, and reopen at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at its new location, 12332 Manchester Road (next to West County Mall). The relocation of this landmark facility marks the beginning of a new era for the family-owned grocery company.
At 74,000 square feet, this combination food and pharmacy store is like no other Schnucks store. Schnucks Chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck explained, “We promised our Des Peres community something special and that’s just what we will deliver. Des Peres will be a flagship store in our company because of the atypical offerings it will include.” (Source: Schnucks)
Not to be outdone, the region’s 2nd biggest grocer, Dierbergs, opened a new flagship store nearby on July 31st of this year:
The supermarket, located on the south side of Manchester Road, one mile east of I-270, is a free-standing 75,000-square-foot store. It sits on approximately 6.5 acres, occupying a full city block of Des Peres. HBD Construction is the general contractor for the project.
Dierbergs submitted its proposed site plans to the city in fall 2009. With plans for three levels, including a mezzanine dining area, it was evident from the beginning that this would be a different Dierbergs. (Source: Dierbergs)
Two huge locally owned flagship grocery stores a short distance apart? This foodie had to see what each had to offer! On Saturday August 18th I caught the #30 MetroBus just two blocks from my downtown loft. At the Maplewood MetroLink station I transferred to the #57 MetroBus that goes all the way out to Wildwood. I got off at Manchester & Bopp Rd since the Dierbergs was the first location I came to arriving from the east.
Using public transit meant I was arriving as a pedestrian, not a motorist. Of course, no downtown resident is going to go all the way out to Des Peres to shop for groceries. But people living near these new stores may decide to walk, rather than drive, to shop on a nice day. This is a look at how Des Peres residents would walk to these two stores.
Located on the south side of Manchester, where Bopp Rd ends, this large building is highly visible to passing motorists.
This Dierbergs is a big box geared toward the driving public but they recognized the need to provide access for pedestrians from all possible directions. A neighbor might send their 8 year old for a loaf of bread or an 80 year old neighbor might want to do their shopping and stay fit.
Let’s head west on Manchester now to check out the Schnucks flagship store.
Part of a new shopping center called Des Peres Corners on the southeast corner of Manchester & Ballas Rd (map).
These new “flagship” grocery stores are world’s apart when it comes to pedestrian access. Dierbergs is still largely auto-centric but it goes beyond the minimums required by the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990. Those who planned the Dierbergs clearly made a decision in their process to provide a way for pedestrians to reach their store. These pedestrians include employees arriving for work on MetroBus, neighbors walking from nearby homes as well as residents of nearby suburbs also arriving on MetroBus. I’d give it a B+/A-
The Schnucks at Des Peres Corners is a total failure from a pedestrian perspective, a big F. Schnucks/Des Peres Corners makes no attempt to provide access to those from outside the development or even internally from one building to the next. The civil engineers responsible need to have their licensees taken away. They may know parking lot drainage and requirements for retaining walls but that are incompetent when it comes to pedestrians and the ADA. I hope someone with legal standing takes Schnucks and the developer to court to force them to come back and correct their mistakes — also known as a violation of my civil rights as a disabled person.
Only after I got back home did I see that my friend Herbie Markwort pointed out the flaws at Des Peres Commons in July 2009, prior to Schnucks opening:
A quick look around the site, however, reveals that no thought was given to accommodating pedestrians. (Gateway Streets)
It’s appalling that such a bad development can get municipal approval and bank financing. Loughborough Commons doesn’t look quite so bad now.
If you live in Des Peres please don’t patronize Des Peres Corners until they’ve retrofitted the site with internal pedestrian connections as well as access from both Manchester & Ballas.
– Steve Pattersin