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Rumor: Schnuck’s to Open in Former St. Louis Centre

December 30, 2006 Downtown, Local Business 12 Comments

The rumor is Schnuck’s will be opening some sort of grocery store in Pyramid’s St. Louis Centre project, which is to be renamed 600 Washington. It has been many years since Schnuck’s was even close to downtown, after shuttering their store on Cass in 2000.

An earlier rumor had Schnuck’s locating a store directly behind the Syndicate in the base of the parking garage in which Schnuck’s development company Desco is a partner. That would be the parking garage that replaced the historic marble-clad Century Building that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And Desco is the same group that is developing the sprawl-centric Loughborough Commons in South St. Louis.

Recently developer Craig Heller announced that his City Grocers was moving across the street into a significantly larger space in the Syndicate Building. So the question becomes can we support two downtown grocers? Frankly, I don’t think we can. City Grocers is now established and the newer space will allow them to carry more products and help serve the daily needs of loft dwellers. However, Schnuck’s buying power may allow them to undercut City Grocers across the board.

The battle may not be over price but instead over location and perception. With numerous lofts around City Grocers and further to the West, will people venture over to 6th and Washington for Schnuck’s? Also, will Schnuck’s seem too ordinary for the loft crowd? Will Schnuck’s that is focused on 60,000+ square feet stores be able to design a smaller format store? If they can pull off a nice small format store, I’d like to see it be considered in other areas of the region, especially near transit stations. For example, a smaller Schnuck’s might do well at the new Forsyth MetroLink station on the border of University City & Clayton without completely sabotaging their larger store on Clayton Road in Richmond Heights.

Back to downtown and St. Louis Centre. If Schnuck’s does open in the former St. Louis Centre (again, this is still just a rumor at this point), this might help me get more on-street parking along Washington all the way to the Eads Bridge. Once the pedestrian walkway over Washington Avenue to the former Dillard’s is removed the vista will be opened again but the street will look very wide and vacant. Having 4-5 spaces which are say 30-45 minute limits would be a good way for someone to quickly stop in to buy a few things. This will also make the area look more lively, a key factor in impressing conventioneers in the area.


Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jeff Jackson says:

    What about a more healthy store like “whole foods” or “Wild Oats”? I do shop at Schnucks. Just would think since more people are purchasing high priced “lofts” they could afford some good organic “healthy” foods? There are some organic items at Schnuck’s but they aren’t as many.

    my .02

    Happy New Year!

  2. Anthony Coffin says:

    If Schnucks had any balls they would have been the first grocery downtown. As it stands I feel they do not deserve to be down there at all. If they had a little bit of vision they would consider going into the old Foodland on Jefferson. If they had a lot of vision they would be looking at Old North and the 14th street mall area. Either of the two would attract people in the downtown lofts and also other locals.

  3. DB says:

    “What about a more healthy store like “whole foods” or “Wild Oats”? I do shop at Schnucks. Just would think since more people are purchasing high priced “lofts” they could afford some good organic “healthy” foods? There are some organic items at Schnuck’s but they aren’t as many.”
    Wow. It’s hard to believe that someone can be this gullible!
    But back to reality – This is great news if true! And as to the question “can the neighborhood support 2 groceries”? Ever been to Viviano’s or De Geregorio’s? Therein lies your answer.

  4. I have long wondered why Straubs has not opened Downtown. They would fit in much better than a Schnucks which is used to big box suburban types.

    The Slay Administration will herald this as key for Downtown’s revitialization.

  5. bev says:

    “For example, a smaller Schnuck’s might do well at the new Forsyth MetroLink station on the border of University City & Clayton without completely sabotaging their larger store on Clayton Road in Richmond Heights.”

    You’d have to pry the land out of Wash-U’s cold, but very much alive and non-tax-paying hands. And we U-Citians have a Schnucks that’s actually within a long walk from that very intersection.

    Anyway, I think a large downtown Schnucks (followed by other retail such as Target and a replacement to Walgreens) is due. The wealthy loft-dweller won’t carry the downtown revitalization alone. Downtown needs families and families like mine need Schnucks. I’d move my crew of husband, 3 kids and pets into a loft, send the spawn to magnet schools (I’m a big-time public school advocate) and walk on over to Schnucks for my non-organic but decidedly less expensive milk. I hope this is not a rumor.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I was thinking more along the lines of the vacant land near the station that has not yet been developed yet, rather than the old Famous store owned by Wash-U.  The idea behind a transit related grocery is it becomes less reliant on auto traffic.  

    While the St. Louis Centre location is also adjacent to a MetroLink station too few of the lofts are.  Those moving into the Ballpark lofts at the old Cupples Station warehouses would have a pretty easy ride to the grocery store as would those staying in the hotel there.

    If this rumor is true I hope they don’t offer their typical store layout and merchandise.  The idea is you would walk to the store to get things in smaller quantities rather than fill up the back of the SUV with tons of groceries.  This means the ketchup section might have only a couple of sizes, in a couple of brands — hopefully one that is organic.  An urban format store does not need 4-8 feet of ketchup.  Schnuck’s has been quite successful over the years so I hope they will get better consultants for this type of store than they did for the site planning at Loughborough Commons.]  

  6. “Also, will Schnuck’s seem too ordinary for the loft crowd?”

    No offense, but given the pricing on lofts these days, the loft crowd ain’t what it used to be. Schnucks will do just fine.

  7. Jimmy James says:

    I think Schnucks would be a good local addition. For too long they have sat on the sidelines complaining about the competition with WalMart and other big box stores in the suburbs while failing to build new stores and keep up high quality urban stores where they could have cultivated the type of loyalty they will need in the future as compeition grows.

    Better late than never. A Schnucks would be a big name for downtown to get and be an important step forward for the sucess of downtown when viewed by suburbanites.

  8. rl\’e says:

    What goes around…comes around…

    Back in the day, Schnuck’s had a “mini-me” Schnucks nestled below the Famous Barr parking garage on the
    600 block of Olive. It was generally packed at lunch and after work.

    In my mind, the community development part that is, a grocery store is like a playground, it can send
    a positive message of stablility and if it is a good one screams “neighborhood!”.


  9. Maurice says:

    I guess loft dwellers have excess money to burn. Whats wrong with loft dwellers wanting generic ketchup? Is that below them?

    First there are complaints there aren’t enough grocery stores now it’s we can’t support two or more.

    Schnucks has Loughbough, Hill, Arsenal, Lindell stores…where is the Diebergs? Where is the other Straubs?

    Oh and I have yet to see more than a few people walking to and from carrying groceries. Thats why people drive (or steal the carts and abondon them in the alleys). So I’m not going to hold my beath for a mini mart next to a metro station.

  10. City Girl says:

    As a downtown loft dweller (renter, not owner), I enjoy the fact that I have City Grocers near my work and my home. I pick up necessary items now and again, along with some of the great specialty items they carry. However, when I need to restock the basics, I get in my car and make the trip out to the less pricey stores, like Schnuck’s, Target, and Walgreen’s. Not everyone who lives downtown has excess money to burn and we need a place to grab these things at a low price.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Exactly.  And hopefully as City Grocers expands into a bigger space they can do a higher volume of business and thus be able to offer more competitive pricing.  Having a Schnucks’ store a few blocks away will increase price pressure on them — just hopefully not to the point of extinction.]

  11. St. Louis dweller says:

    I really believe…we don’t have a choice or say in the matter of what grocery retailer might locate into the downtown area. I do however, know for fact, that Schnucks Markets owns more real estate than any of the other grocery chains in St. Louis. It will probably end up being Schnucks. Also, if it is a Schnucks Market, they always try to cater to the areas needs. So, if you desire organics, you will get organics. (Supply and demand). But, I will not lie, I know that the prices will be inflated slightly from the suburban stores, only because of higher crime rate/security, and insurance. The city store prices are slightly higher, but it may not be noticed, due to the fact they are selling merchandise that is more suited for the needs of the people for that location of store. An example would be: fresh herbs or higher end of wines and liquors and so forth. These would be easily assessable at the Ladue location. Fresh pig ears, chittlens, mustard and collard greens, would be located at the Brentwood store. Bosnian bread, at the Affton area and toward the city. And so on…

    I really think that no matter who does actually move-in; the store should be given a fair shake, from the pulbic. Sometimes, PUBLIC, can be terribly RUDE and UNFORGIVING. After all, we are all only here on earth for a short time together, can’t we all just be considerate of each other!

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