Kenrick Plaza Walmart Redevelopment - October 2014

See also: April 2015 update.

As a resident of the City of Shrewsbury for the past 10 years, and someone who lives within walking distance of the old Kenrick Plaza development that was basically in ruins until it was torn down this year, I've taken a keen interest in the Walmart-anchored redevelopment that is being financed through TIF.

Kenrick Plaza Redevelopment - Walmart in Shrewsbury

For those who don't know, here's a brief rundown of the situation: the old Kenrick Plaza strip mall had been in decline since the early 2000s (and likely earlier), and was anchored by an antique mall, a sports bar, and some transient stores, as well as a freestanding First Bank building. Other than that, an abandoned and decrepit Burger King, and a decaying movie theater building (which was in pretty bad shape even before it closed in 2004) rounded out the ugly buildings surrounding the KDNL 30 TV tower. The strip mall stood in stark contrast to the well-manicured residential development behind it, and residents of the small town of Shrewsbury were not happy seeing a large portion of their commercial real estate rotting, generating no tax revenues, and generally being an eyesore along Watson Rd. (Route 66).

Between 2010-2011, work began to find a developer to rebuild Kenrick Plaza (after the majority of the development was vacant, and the movie theater was becoming an active health hazard), and the city council and TIF commission were both working hard—and getting lots of feedback—to work out TIF details, development details, and timelines.

When Walmart was announced as the primary tenant, a large number of people started focusing more on the 'Walmart' issue rather than the redevelopment as a whole. I don't blame them, but when you get distracted by Walmart's morality, you start to lose sight of things like how the city is financing the development, how it affects other communities around Shrewsbury, traffic considerations, etc... and you're easily dismissed as someone who doesn't want to see the redevelopment (even if you do!).

There is a ton of information available on the City of Shrewsbury website, but it's quite a bit to parse through, so I hopefully summarized the important parts above...

Anyways, here are some notes on the current state of the redevelopment of Kenrick Plaza:

  • The old buildings are completely gone, the ground has been excavated and backfilled to the point where the 'pad' (basically, the leveled ground and support structures) for Walmart is complete. The old First Bank out building is about to be demolished; it's the last building of 'upper Kenrick Plaza' to remain standing.
  • First Bank's new building (which is tiny in comparison to the old building, but no longer includes office space for lease above the main bank) is open for business, though you have to drive through a semi-active construction zone to get to it.
  • It was rumored a movie theater would be one of the new tenants of one of the out lots; this is unsubstantiated; there may have been talks, but nothing was signed, and honestly, the old Kenrick movie theater wasn't such a hot destination in its final years. Additionally, there were concerns that a movie theater wouldn't be support the tax revenue necessary to pay off the TIF. The only confirmed tenants are Walmart and First Bank.
  • Walmart has not yet started construction, and apparently they don't have to until they want to. Usually, they open stores either during the back-to-school or Christmas shopping season, so I would guess the store will be built and opened no earlier than mid-to-late next year.
  • The lower Kenrick property is not part of the redevelopment, and though it is for sale, it is likely going to remain in it's current (shoddy) state for some time. There are only a few tenants, and the parking lot and building look to be in pretty bad shape.
  • There will be no pedestrian access from Shrewsbury and/or the residential developments along Trianon or Kenrick Manor. If you want to walk or ride a bike, you'll have to go around the lower Kenrick parking lot or approach from Watson Rd.
  • The egress from lower Kenrick to Trianon will remain, so for the few people that still feel the stop-go-stop-go-break-your-suspension cut-through from Laclede Station Rd. to Watson is worth the 1-2 minute drive time savings, they will still be able to cut through.

Those are all the things I can recall hearing from confirmed sources and/or observing directly while driving through the redevelopment. There's a massive, monolithic retaining wall along the creek area, but other than that, the rest of the development is already shaping up to look decent, even before landscaping and lighting treatments!

Anything I miss? Any other questions you have? Let me know!


Your synopsis is a good overview with same truthful interpretations, but I guess the local citizens did not like the drive thru from Laclede Station Rd. to Watson Rd. There are still a few small office bldgs. behind the Proposed Walmart that now are completely cut-off from Watson. I think this will further kill this area, but not Walmart. Also there are some elderly condos back there with only one entrance to the subdivisions while the fire dept requires two min..I think this redevelopment was just for Walmart's favor and all other businesses without Walmart's monetary contributions are doomed. This is very poor planning!

i might remind you that the reason the old shopping center fell from grace, and the movie theater closed was because the local residents quit going there. Once that development was shiny and new, and had high hopes also. Ealmart will get what it wants from that location, and then you will be left with another large empty building.
And others there close by , as walmart drives them out of business..I would look for both the Dierbergs and the Shop N save to close within 2 years..

I seriously doubt that Dierberg's and Shop N' Save will close just because Walmart has a grocery store. Dierberg's has its strong customer base, as does Shop N' Save. Yes, there may be an initial decline in customers shopping at both establishments when Walmart first opens just to see what it has to offer in its grocery selection, but it will not be such a large impact that it'll force Dierberg's and Shop N' Save to close.

People shouldn't get upset about this development. The fact is that I think the last time this center was in good shape was when I saw the first Jurassic Park movie at the theater. The place was a possible goldmine, from my point of view, but it seemed that the landlord made bad decisions on what businesses would go in and sell there in those areas. Furthermore, I don't think the landlord was welcoming new ideas to help landscape and clean up the center. I remember that There used to be a garden store called "Frank's Nursery and Crafts" and when it went out of business and closed, some cheap dollar store took over. It seemed that with each place that left, something worse moved in and the look and feel never improved. Also, I always wondered why a movie theater when it was packed full of people, would still need all of that parking lot space? When the movie was packed full, there was still about 1/2 of the parking lot empty.

Now just who was the landlord that let it fall into such an unsightly state of repair?

Could it be G.J. Grewe, who stands to walk away with $30 million or more in free public money to fix what he let deteriorate?

I was just in STL for Alumni Day, and I drove by Kenrick Plaza and noticed the old theater was gone. That had me wondering what was going up there. Now I know.

The building that has the "Powerhouse Gym" in it - will it be demolished? Seems most of that building/space is empty.........

I wish! According to the developer, that entire property is owned/managed separately. And supposedly, the city has told the landowner that they need to update the building to meet code/safety/appearance ordinances... but I have my doubts.

The falling-off siding is held up by ugly silver nails, the paint is flaking off everywhere, the lot is full of giant potholes, the glass is dirty and grimy, the sidewalks are breaking up, the landscaping is actually weedscaping... need I go on?