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QuikTrip Lease Signed for Move to Manchester and Big Bend

The owner is going through the governmental processes now, but knows there is opposition in the community.

has signed a long-term lease with the owner of the northwest corner of Manchester Road and Big Bend Boulevard. The company also has the OK from St. Louis County to incorporate right-turn lanes to accommodate traffic.

Regardless of having a signed lease, the proposal needs to go to Maplewood Planning and Zoning for approval. If it passes there then it will go to the City Council. If it doesn't pass Planning and Zoning, they can still go to the council for approval.

Those both for and against QuikTrip moving from its current location on Big Bend to the busier intersection ­–but no matter–the move is progressing.

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At the concert Wednesday night at , Maplewood mayor James White collected signatures on a petition to run again for mayor, and spoke to residents about the issue. He said the plan is to get QuikTrip and Maplewood Richmond Heights School District representatives together to “hopefully reach a compromise.”

“Mayor White hasn’t told us that,” MRH school board president Maria Langston said, when reached later by phone.

Langston said the school board represents the parents and the community. “Whenever we’re out there fighting for something, it’s because that’s what our constituents want,” she said.

“We’ve met with QuikTrip once, and voiced our concerns. We met with the city and voiced our concerns,” she said.

Langston wrote an open letter, as school board president, .

The property is owned by Elsie Lesseg. Her son, Daniel Lesseg, a St. Louis attorney, is representing her in the process. She also owns the lot that CVS is building on, and the parcel next to CVS, which so far is unleased.

“She’s looking forward to having a new lease with QuikTrip,” Lesseg said. She realizes it does have to go through governmental approvals, and the citizenry of Maplewood will obviously have to agree to the building going there as well; at least a majority.”

He said QuikTrip approached his mother a couple years ago about a long-term lease.

“At this point we’re progressing through their due diligence which includes the governmental approvals, and at this point, I’ve been assisting QuikTrip with presentations,” he said. “This afternoon we spoke to the special business district tax advisory commission.”

Lesseg realizes there is opposition from the school district, and he plans on addressing those concerns.

“Barry (Greenberg, Maplewood city council member) is in possession of talking points that we’ve disseminated among members of the chamber as well as the tax advisory commission,” he said.

“They include a lot of accommodations of the worries that I know of,” he said. “We’re attempting to find out what, if anything can be done.”

He said QuikTrip is interested in staying in Maplewood, and that the proposed shop is what is known as a “generation 3” QuikTrip.

“It brings a lot of new things to QuikTrip,” he said. “Instead of just a brown box, the building itself is beautiful. It’s about 2,000 more square feet. The services it offers is much more.”

He said the Maplewood store would be like one that is opening on St. Charles Rock Road, west of Interstate 170. Its grand opening is on Thursday.

mormit May 24, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Bad idea. Ever see the Shell stations pumps busy? Nope. Getting in and out of a gas station at that intersection is just not worth the trouble. If they move, Phillips 66 becomes the most convenient station for me. That simple. Mayor White refers to a compromise. The only compromise I see is for QT to stay put and they can keep our business. Current location is better.
Jennifer Day May 24, 2012 at 05:04 PM
What will happen to the current location. Is that to be another vacant business lot? Haven't we learned our lesson with Deer Creek. That place has been an eyesore for years. There is a vacant business across the street from QT's current location. I'm so sick of businesses moving and abandoning their old properties to be eyesores and problems in the community.
Jill Storm May 24, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Yes, Doug, thank you for clearing that up. This also means I am completely opposed to this. Tear down a perfectly good building currently housing a cool scooter shop to build ANOTHER gas station? No thanks! This provides no benefit whatsoever to Maplewood. I just wrote Quiktrip to voice my opposition, and I suggest others do the same. I regularly go to the QT on Big Bend, but I will not frequent any of them in the future if this goes through. And don't forget to write the current mayor and council person to express your disapproval and particularly how it could influence your vote in the next election.
Doug Miner May 24, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Correction - Nadir Djavaherian, the owner of the recent Plaza Ford, still owns the Maplewood Scooter Company and the connected service center. Again, he doesn't own the property. If QT goes through, his lease would end and QT's would begin.
Andrew Monti Bolin May 24, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I wrote the mayor and my two councilmen. You should too if you have a strong opinion. The walk from downtown Maplewood to the metrolink station is already unpleasent enough once you pass city hall. This would make it even worse. I am for a more walkable, not less walkable Maplewood.
Luke Havel May 24, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I sent an email as well, expressing the design concerns and whether or not Maplewood citizens really benefit from a new station at that corner. Being on historic Route 66 it would be cool if QT had a retro designed station, that could be cool. But, i am sure they dont because that would limit pumps.
Barry Greenberg May 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM
It is both my intention and I believe the Mayors intention to facilitate a dialogue with the owners of the property, the proposed tenant, the MRH School District, the City of Maplewood and the citizens of our community. This is a complex process that involves feasibility studies, economic projections, governmental approvals, but most of all input from all affected entities. I start from the premise that an owner of a piece of land in this country has the right to entertain development proposals from any business that plans to use the site in a manner that is legally allowed and in conformance with the zoning ordinance. That is what currently is happening and the City is not acting as developer. The debate as to whether the proposed use is the highest and best use is somewhat moot as there have been no viable alternative proposals presented. I say viable because the project is structured as a land lease and no one else has committed to the design, approval, and infrastructure costs required to develop the property. There is no public money involved, so the City does not solicit requests for proposals. Our job is to make whatever happens there a project that will take into consideration everyone’s needs and satisfy as many of those needs as possible.
Barry Greenberg May 24, 2012 at 10:55 PM
A follow up to the comment above that implies that I think that Quick Trip is beautiful architecture: I have never opined as to the aesthetics of the proposed building. I think that citizens of Maplewood could perhaps draw a more objective conclusion about my aesthetic sensibilities based on my design work on the Schlafly Bottleworks and Saint Louis Closet Company projects.It disappoints me that more than one of the comments advocates not voting for a public official based upon incomplete or inaccurate information and subsequent conclusions. Let's continue to have this discussion in an open forum so that everyone's voice can be heard.
scot May 25, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Thanks Barry for giving a city council perspective. I was wondering what part of QT being built can te city be involved in? Can they block it from happening? If not, what type of input does the city have on design? I, for one, am clueless as to what role the city may have in a private transaction like this.
Luke Havel May 25, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Thank you for providing a description of the process and where things are and for responding to the concerns. My reading of the article lead me to believe that Mr. Lesseg was praising the design. If it appeared that any of my comments were criticizing you or your firm I apologize. The St. Louis Closet Co. is a great example of a design that fits our community.
TP May 25, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I think what I find most disturbing is that only two weeks ago the mayor was at my daughter's softball game with his clipboard asking for families to sign his petition so he could run for mayor again. However, when confronted with concerns regarding QT he told them the deal was dead in the water and they didn't have a thing to worry about - just sign this petition so he could run again. I find it impossible to believe that the deal went from dead in the water to signed in ten days time. I'm thinking many of those young families would like to take their signatures back so they can support a candiate who is more forthcoming with information.
Roger G May 25, 2012 at 10:58 PM
It's nice to see someone is approaching this with property rights in mind.
Diane Moran May 25, 2012 at 11:14 PM
The gas pumps at the shell station are empty because they charge twenty cents more per gallon than either the Quick Trip or the Conoco down the street three blocks. Nobody is going to pull into a gas station and pay more for gas when they can drive one block farther and get the same gas at a better station for less money. I honestly wonder how that shell station even stays open because from what I can see they barely sell any gas and all I can assume is that the service station there keeps them open which is amazing to me because Claude's Auto service at Flora and Big Bend is cheaper and provides better service.
Diane Moran May 25, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I have signed the Petition for Mayor White and frankly, what TP says that he told them the deal was dead in the water is not true. My friends and I who live in Maplewood have asked questions of Mayor White and he's always answered them and even told us where we could go for more information re: our questions. I think TP may have heard him answer another question and she assumed he was talking about the QT deal.
Chris Moran May 25, 2012 at 11:43 PM
I have lived in Maplewood my entire life, and I currently frequent the existing QT. On that note I am for the move to the corner of Big Bend and Manchester. I would love to know why the school board is even opposed to this. What do they think is going to happen? The comments I hear above makes it seem like QT is a bar or a strip club or something, this is a gas station convenience store what does that mean, when the kids get out of MRH they are going to have to simply cross the street to get to Quick Trip instead of walking two blocks up Big Bend which they already do. I see a stream of kids heading up there from MRH every time I go there around the time the schools let out. In my eyes it would seem like having the QT across the street would be safer for the students since they don't have to cross both Manchester and Big Bend to get to the QT and if they aren't going to go there now then the kids aren't going to go there when it moves, so what is the school board so worried about. I would simply like to know their reasons for opposing this.
Diane Moran May 25, 2012 at 11:48 PM
As a Maplewood resident, I was uncertain about QT moving to the Manchester intersection because it's going to be busier with CVS going in there. But frankly, I haven't heard anything from MRH School District as to why they don't want QT to go in there? As for the design of the building, it's all brick and glass, just like the Closet Company and I think the design is a whole lot better than the existing building. I don't want to see the Scooter Co lose their lease, but when you lease from a private owner, you don't have a choice if the owner wants you out. If that happens and QT does get the ok to move, let the Scooter Co move into the old QT building. It will still be on a main street and the building will be bigger than the store they're in now. The building that houses the Scooter Co is not and has never been a nice looking building and never will be. If they tear it down for the QT, good, that alone will improve that corner. If someone knows where I can read why the MRH School District is so opposed to this, then please let me know. As far as walkability to the Metrolink station being "ugly" after you pass City Hall, what the hell are you looking at? Except for Steak N'Shake & Aldi, the businesses along that way are small businesses and a car dealership. Do you think all of those businesses should close just for your walk? The QT being at the new intersection might even bring more new people & business to our community.
Chris Moran May 25, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I would also like to address the attacks on the design of this building. I will grant the building picture with this article is no great piece of architecture, but it looks a lot better than the current QT and looks a hell of a lot better than the Shell or White Castle currently on this corner. The building that is currently in place there is ugly and I personally would be happy to see it go. The buildings in downtown Maplewood are beautiful buildings that eyesore on the corner of Big Bend and Manchester is horrible and I will be glad to see it go. I mean for god sake they had to paint it grey to make it look somewhat decent. They could tear that building down and replace it with a steel warehouse and it would make that corner look better than it does now. Losing the scooter store will be a lose for the city of Maplewood but nothing says they have to leave Maplewood just that corner. The one legitimate comment I have read above is that the old QT will be left abandoned, but in answer to that why doesn't the scooter store move up to the current QT or the old Quizno's for that matter. This is a good idea and I would really like to hear a reasonable excuse for why people are opposed to this because this opposition doesn't make sense to me.
TP May 26, 2012 at 02:25 AM
I know exactly what I heard and what was said as I was the one there. If there are multiple versions of the truth floating around - well I guess that is politics - but I only have the one version of what was said because it is the truth. What purpose could be served otherwise? That is silly.
TP May 26, 2012 at 02:46 AM
I can summarize some the reasons why I am against this development: Adding a QT to this intersection will increase traffic in an already overly congested area is a recipe for disaster. Morning drivers at Manchester and Big Bend are already too busy trying to beat the traffic lights to pay attention to pedestrians like the kids walking to school. The QT parking lot is even worse. Adding a QT to this intersection all but guarantees a tragic accident. I am also incredibly concerned about the abundance of delivery trucks cutting through the school campus and, for that matter, regular drivers, cutting through the school grounds as they try to bypass traffic lights or get around the incredible amount of traffic at the (again) already congested intersection. It's not that I'm against kids going to QT. I'm against them taking their lives in their own hands when they walk to school. I'm a huge fan of QT and go there quite often. But I don't think having one at Maplewood's busiest intersection is a good idea.
Diane Moran May 26, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Do you even know what the school grounds you're talking about look like? The whole campus of the school is "FENCED" in, including the parking lots. As far as traffic in the morning and drivers not paying attention, that happens everywhere because people are going to work, that's not just in Maplewood. I would not say that area is overly congested, it may be busier in the morning when the kids are going to school and when the schools let out, but I wouldn't say that area is overly congested. If QT goes in there, and actually it looks like it is, that might get Martini Drive fixed, which as a main street for school buses, should have been fixed a long time ago. And, if Martini Dr wasn't in such a sorry state, there would have been a lot more people using it to cut over to Manchester, so there would have been more traffic on Martini Dr, which would have been more dangerous for the kids instead of putting in a QT. I don't know how many delivery trucks there would be, but the QT truck, that brings QT brands, delivers in the evenings. I've been at QT in the evenings several times, when they were making their deliveries. Any child that walks to school, as you put it, "takes their lives in their own hands", has been doing this since I was a child and my sister and I had to walk to school. My suggestion, if your kids don't ride the school bus, you need to drive them to school if you're that worried about them walking to school. I drove my son to school when he was younger.
Me May 26, 2012 at 09:22 AM
Has anyone given any thought to the exhaust fumes created from such a busy gas station.
Pat Maloney (Wilken) May 26, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Until I read about the lease signing....which by the way Mrs. Lessig is having her son, a lawyer, represent her....I had not read anything about the addition of one or two right turn lanes south bound on Big Bend, onto west bound Manchester. That alone would be an improvement. Most of the early talk was about the congested traffic. That alone would help the traffic on that corner. My concern now is why do they want to move two blocks north, from where they now are? Don't they have enough room, since within the last few years, they have enlarged their station?? I object to the same type of businesses going into the same area. I feel that seems to eventually have one of them put out of business. The small business owner has worries enough about staying in business these days, without a larger station moving next door. These stations are leased to people like you and I.....Shell, BP (British Petroleum), Conoco, Phillips etc. QT is a large corporation, who make their money on all the extras that they can sell......thus the bigger the store, the bigger their profits. These smaller businesses make their money on the gasoline..(which by the way, prices are dictated by the oil companies, every day.) and so QT can lower their prices to whatever they want. The differences in prices usually runs .02 to .04 cents. Times that by 10 or 12 gallons, amounts to .24 or 28 cents a tankful. I will gladly pay up to .28 cents or so, to keep our long time business in Maplewood.
Regular Guy May 26, 2012 at 02:02 PM
#1 thing listed above...."kids walking to school". I bet at least 100 students both before and after school have to navigate that intersection (usually twice). I telling you now...all will be fine until the first kid gets struck and killed during rush hour while walking to school.
Pat Maloney (Wilken) May 26, 2012 at 02:08 PM
By the way Diane, there is a place to go where you can read Maria Langston's letter to Maplewood citizens....it is in the article above.....just click on "opposing Quik Trip moving to the corner"........
Diane Moran May 27, 2012 at 02:47 AM
The school buses parked on Martini Drive to let kids out in the morning and pick the kids up in the afternoon put out more exhaust fumes than a busy gas station.
Diane Moran May 27, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Thanks Pat, Doug Miner sent me the link to read the school board letter and frankly, they didn't say anything about what their grievances are with QT going in. All it said was that after they met with QT, they decided immediately that they didn't want them moving, but didn't give any reasons. Also, QT going in there will make the Shell Station become more competitive with their gas prices and may even make more business for them. Most gas station owners will tell you that selling gas doesn't keep their business open, it's the other things that do. The Shell Station must have a good auto service, because that's the business you see going on there. Very seldom do you see cars in there getting gas. Also, they have a service center on Chippewa that used to be a gas station too, but is now an auto service center. Shell, BP, Conoco, Phillips, etc are also big corporations. Honestly, I have seen the QT gas trucks along with other brand name trucks at the Phillips Petroleum Company in Sauget, IL filling up those trucks. All the gas stations, QT included, are given suggested prices for their gas, they choose the price they want to sell their gas for. Another complaint I heard about QT is that they're going to be selling liquor. The D-Mart across the street sells liquor and is currently the closest convenience store to the school and CVS will be selling liquor also and they actually have sales on their liquor. Nobody has said anything about them.
mormit May 27, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Do you drive? How is somebody going North on Big Bend going to enter and exit the proposed QT? Do you see how South bound traffic blocks up to the top of the hill to the Imo's during evening rush hour(s)? Not a pretty thought. It's not a matter of walking a few blocks out of your way but drivers are not attentive and will drive in the way of walking kids to get where they thing they need to be. The school board is right. It is a dumb idea. QT should stay put.
mormit May 27, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Have you driven through this intersection 7-9am or 3-6pm? If so you would have to agree with the school board.
mormit May 27, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Maybe Maplewood taxpayers will be on the hook for abatement of the fuel tank. Remember that Maplewood closed a public street to give QT more space. They will argue that their fuel tank is public property. No good deed goes unpunished. I'm sure QT lawyears are looking into it but only after they get approval for a new location.
Joe Spageouts May 25, 2013 at 03:02 PM
The scooter shop is no longer located in the building sitting on the proposed site of the QT. The building is a former service center for the auto plaza car dealership (now CVS) and quite frankly it is falling apart. A gas station would be a big improvement over what sits there now.

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