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Hearing on Relocating South Grand McDonalds

January 26, 2006 McDonald's on Grand 14 Comments

Nearly a year ago I did a post about McDonalds possibly moving across Grand to the former Sears site.

In this time we’ve seen some activity at the new home development Keystone Place but not enough for my satisfaction. I can’t imagine a new McDonalds helping matters.

As I stated a year ago, I think a new McDonalds should be built as an out parcel on the former National. That entire city block is under-utilized and suffering from too many open parking. Building a corner McDonalds would actually be an improvement.

Here is a map of the intersection of Grand & Chippewa. To the North one block at Winnebego is the former Sears site.

A conditional use hearing on the McDonalds will be held on February 16, 2005 in Room 208 of City Hall, 8:30am. The former Sears site is 3708 S. Grand.

– Steve


Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. thomas says:

    Thanks for the update. This has to be one of the most disappointing, underperforming intersections in South City. Here’s hoping some positive developments occur.

    I remember attending the dedication for the Keystone development, with Mayor Harmon, Congressman Gephardt and a host of associates. Seemed that all of the 26 houses were going to be sprouting from the ground in a matter of weeks. Alas.

  2. oops says:

    Apparently politicians do little to bring buyers to housing developments.

  3. thomas says:

    During last night’s Tower Grove East neighborhood association meeting, Jennifer Florida gave an update on the corner. I’m paraphrasing, but… she indicated that:

    Demo and environmental work was done at SSN Bank building. Construction phase was now underway. Model condo unit (first of 12) will be done on April 4.

    Melba Theatre/Pizza-a-Go-Go building was under ownership and work initial work would be commencing soon.

    McDonald’s would be moving to Winnebago and Grand, with completion by July. (This was presented as a fait accompli, thus making the conditional use hearing a milepost in the process, nothing else.)

    Current McDonald’s location would be built on, as a 87-unit senior living home, with first floor commercial.

    [REPLY – Thanks for the update Thomas. It is funny how things like a public hearing are just assumed by elected officials. Any opposition to the McDonalds would likely be spun as holding up progress such as the new and fairly urban senior housing on the current McDonalds location. – SLP]

  4. Brian says:

    Though I agree if Mickey D’s even has to be in the area, that an outlot in front of the former National is better, at least where the drive-thru fast-food store is now currently will see a more urban development in its place– an 87-unit senior-living mid-rise with first floor commercial.

    In other words, the move provides for one win on the west side of Grand, while the east side of the street still loses. But given that International Institute doesn’t even have a pedestrian-oriented street presence, there is not much going on currently for this stretch of Grand. Maybe the Melba acquisition is the beginning of signs that better development will be coming to the east side of the street too, just apparently not as quickly as the west side, which is now blessed with the committed rehab of Southside National.

  5. Darren says:

    I live a couple of blocks from that hideous McDonalds. While I have no problem with McDonalds restaurants in general, (indeed, I eat there more often than I care to admit 😉 I do have a big problem with the management at that particular McDonalds! People! those of you reading this..how many of you have actually been inside this McDonalds recently? It’s hideous! It’s nasty! It’s unsanitary! And even if you can get past that, it’s pretty customer unfriendly….it currently closes at 7:00pm each day….so if a new McDonalds, at whatever exact location, is going to be operated by the same management as the current one, it’s going to continue to be a blight on the neighborhood!

  6. Dan says:

    Does anyone know what, if anything, the old National building is being used for? I see plenty cars parked in the lot every time I drive by.

    [REPLY – It is my understanding that at least part of the building is some sort of bank processing center. It contributes nothing to the area from an urban point of view. Using part of the expansive parking lot would only help an otherwise lifeless corner. – SLP]

  7. thomas says:

    I forgot to note that Ald. Florida mentioned that the senior home would be “blonde brick,” “art deco” and “like the old Famous-Barr.” I’d be curious to see artistic renderings, if anyone have access…

  8. Joe Frank says:

    I agree the Grand and Chippewa McDonald’s is nasty, disgusting, poorly-run, and with bad customer service.

    Maybe the new location will be different ownership? These kinds of franchises tend to change hands pretty often.

    I am also very disappointed with the lack of progress by Pyramid on building-out the Keystone Place development. They would have been more likely to sell, I think, if they’d actually built the houses on spec to begin with rather than waiting for buyers. People who want ‘custom-built’ homes are not looking at Grand and Chippewa! They are still too expensive for the area’s general housing market.

    That said, Pulaski Bank and Nettie’s Florist both have street-level entrances right at the corners of Grand and Chippewa.

    The former National supermarket is indeed a sorry sight, but at least it creates many jobs for part of the year anyway. It’s a call center run by a temp agency; at one time, under contract to US Bank, and other times for the IRS. You do see people coming in and out of there at shift change times, so it’s a substantial number of people working there at least from January to April.

    While it’s not ideal, at least the senior housing will be on the corner and urban in design. Actually, the McDonald’s would probably be LESS obtrusive to the streetscape if located at a less prominent corner like Winnebago.

    Maybe someday the always-ugly, suburban-style grocery store (built in 1975) will be knocked down and replaced with a replica of the old St. Anthony’s Hospital which was located there from 1900 to 1975. It was interesting architecturally, albeit in need of repair and remodeling. My mom worked there several years before moving to the current South County location.

    Here’s a picture postcard of old St. Anthony’s from 1916.

  9. Sandy says:

    The former National store is a US Bank processing center that becomes very active quarterly, the temp agency supplied the workers. Say what you want about the appearence, the grass is cut and the trees are trimmed, graffitti is removed. I wish I could say the same about Pyramid’s management of Keystone Place. The two storage trailers have resided on the lot for so many years they are about to receive city addresses, we did however get them to remove the propane looking tanks, we had to call the Fire Department when one was leaking. The lots often need mowing and cleaning. I feel any recent development of homes is only to ensure the McDonald’s project. I am very dissapointed in Pyramid, at neighborhood meetings we were assured that a development of 26 homes would create “It’s own neighborhood”. Note the quotes, they are Pyramid’s. We are also disapointed in the city and Alderperson Florida, who knows there is a development plan for the area and chooses to ignore it. The city decries lack of planning, however when plans are put in place they are largely ignored for brokered gain or favors. The neighborhood residents are ignored even though their years of effort made the current development possible.

    I have refused to enter the McDonalds at Grand and Chippewa as it is truly nasty, decorated in contempory grease prints accented by flaked paint, and sour mop water. Has been for years so an impending departure is not the reason.

    I wouldn’t put too much hope in a quality development at the current McDonalds’s site, after all these years, Mr. Steffen we are still waiting for the 26th house.

    [REPLY – Well put! But I think we are still waiting for houses 10-26! It is projects like this that make me question the project at St. Aloysius even more. Do those residents really know what they are getting? – SLP]

  10. anon says:

    What was Pyramid’s responsibility at Keystone? I remember when the site was covered with piles of debris; it looked like a waste transport site.

    Rather than relocate the McDonalds for senior housing, they should buy out the few Keystone Place homeowners and put the senior housing there.

  11. Matt B says:

    My understanding was that the orginal deal for Keystone was signed without any performance guarantees (This was before the current administration and alderman). Thus Pyramid was under no obligation to really do much of anything. Once attention was turned to King Louis Square and downtown lofts, Pyramid was spread pretty thin and Keystone was a forgotten project.

    Apparently the new McDonalds will be more “urban” in design. So I would like to see those renderings. Hopefully new management is planned as well, but I haven’t heard anything in that area.

    The deal with Pyramid for the senior complex includes performance clauses for Keystone that will compel them to finish what was started years ago.

  12. Sandy says:

    True, there was no “keep your word” clause. Responsibility is to do what is right or at least what was spoken to. The development was never properly marketed, there was no definition of boundries, landscaping was/is sorry, no large trees or entrance.The block should have been cleared to Pulaski. The spread to thin is a valid point, however it is also very telling about the choices Pyramid made. I was looking through some old papers trying to locate some information on the South Grand Team and very early efforts of the Dutchtown North neighborhood and some of the information surfaced reminding me of the many battles fought and who was part of what. Too bad it was all for a proposed McDonald’s, and a car detailing shop.

  13. anon says:

    If part of Keystone Place is being dropped for a McDonalds (leaving the few actual Keyston buyers to breath the fumes of french fries and auto exhaust), how will there be Keystone related “performance requirements” on Pyramid in connection with the elderly housing development?

    What performance? Build the McDonald’s?

    If I were a Keystone homebuyer, I’d feel like I had been left holding the bag. Well, in a sense, they will be…french fry bags.

    Why reward McDonalds with a new location (after they’ve run the current operation into the ground?

    Since Keystone houses were already hard to market to prospective homebuyers, imagine the sales pitch once there’s a new McDonalds right next to your house: “Convenient to fast food!”

    Was the Grand frontage of Keystone always slated for commercial use? If so, then why has that taken so long? Was it supposed to be fast food?

    Has anyone asked the buyers at Keystone what they think of this scheme?

    Why not concede failure at Keystone, buy the few homeowners out, and then build senior housing on the Keystone site? Seriously. Why not?

  14. Joe Frank says:

    I believe the Grand frontage of the former Sears site was intended to be retail.

    That parcel (address: 3708 S Grand) at the SE corner of Grand and Winnebago is zoned Neighborhood Commercial, just like all the adjacent parcels facing Grand. Not that zoning means much – the block of new houses and vacant lots behind there along Arkansas, as well as the existing houses facing Chippewa, are also zoned F.

    However, I don’t think buying out the current Keystone Place homeowners would be a good idea. The current McDonald’s site where the senior apartments are proposed seems ideal for such a use: right on the corner, accessible to bus lines, etc.

    Frankly, I’m pleasantly surprised they’re considering building on such a relatively small site. By comparison, McCormack-Baron’s senior development on Manchester-Kingshighway took out at least a dozen houses!


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