Redevelopment planned for Warrenton outlet mall

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENTON, Mo., AP) — A desolate outlet mall near St. Louis may soon get a rebirth.
The Warrenton Outlet Center was once a thriving spot along Interstate 70 in Warrenton, 55 miles west of St. Louis. The 200,000-square-foot property was one of the few outlet malls in Missouri when it opened in 1993, featuring discounts at Nike, Levi’s and other big-name retailers.
But the novelty wore off and three newer outlet malls opened closer to St. Louis. Today, just a few retailers remain at the Warrenton mall.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2aKhmeI ) reports that a suburban St. Louis-based developer, Raul Walters Properties, plans to reposition the mall as a retail center called the Shoppes at Warrenton. Aldermen unanimously support the plan, which calls for a mix of restaurants and non-outlet stores.
“It was a slow decline,” Warrenton Mayor Eric Schleuter said of the outlet center.
Art King, president of Raul Walters, said the company not only plans to keep the current mall, but also build new structures. One tenant, Rural King, has signed a letter of intent to occupy a new, 85,000-square-foot building on the site, which will be expanded to 45 acres from its current 30, King said.
“This used to be a destination for St. Louisans and people who live in Columbia,” King said. “It’s a large trade area it draws from.”
Raul Walters Properties’ experience in retail development includes building many of the nation’s first Walmart stores. Among its largest developments is the 1-million-square-foot Shoppes at Branson Hills in Branson.
King said his company is in talks with several clothing retailers and restaurants about opening in Warrenton. But for the project to move ahead, a new highway intersection must be added to improve access. Voters on Aug. 2 approved two half-cent sales taxes to fund the $15.4 million interchange.
Raul Walters also plans to pursue tax increment financing, which uses tax revenue generated by a project to reimburse the developer for project costs.
King believes the redevelopment could create 1,000 jobs and grow annual revenue to $50 million. The former mall’s peak revenue was $30 million, he said.
City leaders are enthusiastic.
“This would be huge for us,” Schleuter said.
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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com