Valley Park Site Near St. Louis to Be Medical-Retail Complex

Mar. 10--Acres of undeveloped land in Valley Park that had been pitched to several big-box retailers instead will soon become medical offices and retail space.

Commercial real estate brokerage Foundation Commercial along with Taylor-Morley Homes Inc. and TB Realty are planning to build the Shops at Seven Oaks at Dougherty Ferry and Big Bend roads.

The $20 million project will be built on 20.14 acres and resemble a town square format, said Kurt Lord, chief executive with Foundation Commercial.

The development will include 90,000 square feet of retail and restaurants and 60,000 square feet of medical offices. Arby's and Fifth Third Bank are confirmed tenants, Lord said.

First Bank will finance the project, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2007 City officials hope the development will attract more commercial and retail development to Valley Park.

"When they widened Interstate 44, we lost our commercial district completely," said Alderman Mike White, Ward 4. "We have a lopsided economy now, so we're basically a bedroom community."

The city looked to big-box retailers at one point, but "we saw potential splitting it into smaller parcels," said Tony Bosworth, president of TB Realty.

SSM Health Care's decision to close St. Joseph Hospital in Kirkwood and build a new hospital near Fenton will leave a void for medical services in the area, Bosworth said.

"We think there's a pretty strong need for general office and medical office, particularly for direct patient services in the area," he said. "We've received a lot of interest from physicians who --don't want to move south of (Interstate 44)."

The development is one of the first for Foundation Commercial, which specializes in leasing commercial property. Lord, formerly with the Koman Group, formed the company in 2005 with Chris Zoellner, previously with G.J. Grewe Inc.

Lord said Taylor-Morley joined the project because of relationships with the partnership team. Taylor-Morley did not return calls for comment.

<<St. Louis Post-Dispatch (KRT) -- 03/13/06>>