(KMOV) -- Concrete barriers block every entrance to the parking lot of the old Crestwood Court mall along Watson Road. The mall's last tenant, Lens Crafters, moved out last fall. But, as of Friday the mall has a new buyer.
A Chicago-based development group just closed on a deal to buy the empty Crestwood Court late Friday. UrbanStreet Group, LLC bought the mall at auction for $3.6 million.
UrbanStreet Group is the same firm that purchased the unfinished Roberts Tower high-rise in downtown St. Louis in 2012. The work wrapped up this year and the first tenants in the residential tower were allowed to move in May 1st. There's hope in Crestwood that the development group would be able to perform a similar turnaround for Crestwood Court.
"We're sort of at this tipping point because it's such a wonderful community. We have great parks, a great school district, great houses, we have affordable houses. People are hungry to have something here," said Crestwood resident Anne Milford, who founded a Facebook group called "Lets Grow Crestwood".
The last potential developer of Crestwood Court walked away after the Crestwood Board of Alderman voted down a tax increment financing package. At the time, the alderman voiced concern about supporting tax abatements without a tenant confirmed.
Newly elected Mayor Gregg Roby tells News 4 the new developers have not yet broached the subject of seeking public money. Friday, the mayor says he received an introductory email from a managing partner of the development group - but the deal is still fresh.
"I think we're still going to be pretty cautious in how we move forward with any tax incentives, but certainly the board has a better understanding now of how the process needs to work. I do believe every member of this current board wants to see something develop over there," said Mayor Roby.
In a statement emailed to News 4, UrbanStreet Group wrote that it, "...will be exploring various alternatives for the site, including a mixed use of retail and residential components. Plans may also include partnerships with local developers on portions of the site."?