St. Louis Post-Dispatch Has It In For Competing Shopping Centers

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posts another story, “Two more CEOs weigh in on proposed Chesterfield outlet malls“, about two shopping centers being built at the same time in Chesterfield.

The paper is aghast and shocked that two development companies would see the need for competing “outlet mall” style shopping centers in Chesterfield, which has become something of a retail destination for west St. Louis County (when I lived in Maryland Heights, we’d often cruise down Olive to get there ourselves to go to the strip malls along Highway 40).

This follows another piece, “Chesterfield may get two malls as rival developers refuse to budge“, which also decries the situation:

Two rival outlet mall developers are now betting that Chesterfield, already rich with retail, can indeed support both proposed malls, with about 200 stores between them, co-existing just a few miles apart.

That marks a change in the trajectory of the ongoing mall war between Taubman Centers and Simon Property Group, with the assumption up until recently being that only one would be built.

Yet analysts and industry observers have reacted to the prospect of these dueling outlet malls so close to one another with skepticism, noting that the malls would cut into the sales of the other.

Frankly, I’m not sure why the paper is so worried about the free market system, and I’ll leave it to you, gentle reader, to speculate as to why the paper is spending so many pixel inches on it.

But here are some random ideas to get you started, none or more of which might be true:

  • The paper doesn’t like that the two independent developers are going ahead on their own. Instead, in a reasoned, well-engineered system, government officials would pick one developer and lavish tax credits and so on upon that developer, and be left holding the bag if the thing worked out.
  • The city dwellers from the paper are envious that Chesterfield gets all the retail development while downtown St. Louis cannot, for some reason, manage to hold onto a major retail development in the downtown area or gets left holding the bag for strip malls in other parts of the city when their developers walk away from loans co-signed by the city.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch just has trouble with suburban bourgeois consumer culture in general.

I’ll leave it up to you. But they’re certainly tarting up this story with a lot of drama, intrigue, and disproval.

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