Despite recent approval by the O’Fallon City Council, the new Southview Plaza development may not proceed as proposed if the Illinois Department of Transportation recommends any changes.
U.S. Highway 50 is under IDOT jurisdiction and the state has ultimate authority on any traffic improvements regarding the access to Starbucks and any other development on Southview Plaza.
The council approved revisions to a new mixed-use development proposal at the southeast corner of East Highway 50 and South Lincoln Avenue. It’s a scaled down version, and the planned use includes a 2,016 square foot drive-through restaurant/café (Starbucks Coffee), with an outdoor patio, which is slated for this year.
The developer must coordinate with IDOT and St. Clair County for full review of the traffic study and any additional improvements not currently recommended in the traffic study will need to be approved and permitted through the jurisdiction having authority.
Now that the ordinance was approved last month, IDOT will review the project. They will evaluate it and can request additional data prior to their issuing any access permits.
The developer must coordinate with IDOT and St. Clair County to obtain necessary permits prior to any reconstruction of entrances.
Community Development Director Justin Randall said his department will not issue a building permit until IDOT is OK with the plan.
City Administrator Walter Denton explained a traffic study provided by CBB Traffic and Planning Engineers that has resulted with an altered site plan.
At a prior Community Development Committee meeting, several aldermen expressed concern about parking and queuing of the drive-thru lane. The study showed alternative ways to accommodate some of the concerns of stacking.
The original proposal was for a 4.93-acre mixed use development, including a 9,000-square foot retail strip center on Lot 2, including a sit-down/full-service restaurant uses, with alcohol sales for on-site consumption, not to exceed 2,000 square feet, and a drive-thru restaurant, plus a 41,500-square foot multifamily apartment or mixed-use building.
They have been scrapped from the current project. Phase 2 was for 2024 and Phase 3 was for 2025.
Phase 1 includes the removal of those improvements and re-establishes the surface with grass until a building permit is issued for a project. It also states that removal of all gravel associated with the demolition of the original Southview Plaza must happen and that grass or landscaping must be re-established.
The amended proposal included that Wellesley Drive should be closed to Southview Plaza. This followed residents expressing their concerns.
Residents had discussed traffic throughout the site, in Southview Gardens, and on E. Highway 50 and South Lincoln at several meetings.
Changes agreed to
Staff said the Starbucks would have a right-in right-out access point.
A sidewalk will be required along Lincoln Avenue, pending St. Clair County approval for the sidewalk in the right-of-way. If St. Clair County will not permit the sidewalk, a variance to remove the sidewalk along Lincoln Avenue is granted.
Robert B. Kim of JRJ Family Limited Partnership, who filed the application, has agreed to the changes.
His father, Yong B. Kim, now deceased, owned the property for 30 years.
“I think it is a good choice to pause on the second phase,” Kim said.
A previous proposal in 2021 did not advance, and developers returned with a different project this January.
At the meeting, Kim conceded that the original site had not been maintained properly, and had been a struggling business when his parents took over. He said his mother took over the Hallmark shop to keep it going.
He acknowledged that the new plan was “a good first step.”
Southview Plaza History
Southview Plaza’s heyday was as a shopping center during the 1960s through 1980s. Originally built in 1959, it was home to Keck’s Tomboy grocery store, Ben Franklin, Dollar General, several Hallmark shops, Bollmeier Hobby Shop, Movie Mania video rental and a few chain stores, now defunct in the U.S., including P.N. Hirsch department store and Western Auto, plus mom and pop restaurants, clothing stores, beauty and barber shops, dry cleaners, hardware stores and gift shops were tenants during its 59-year history.
The center had been in decline since the 1990s, with residents complaining and calling it an “eyesore.” Many businesses had already left when Dollar General moved several years ago. The last tenant, a Papa John’s pizza, relocated to Regency Park.
Rejuvenating the nearly vacant center took a major step forward om 2018 when the city council approved a TIF redevelopment agreement with Dover Frontier, the plaza owner, who planned to demolish the buildings.
They performed the environmental remediation necessary to make the property development-ready. The property was demolished in phases, finishing in summer 2020.
Great Street Grant
In related news, the city received a Great Streets grant for a detailed plan for Highway 50 from Exit 14 to Exit 19 and a portion of Lincoln Avenue. Randall provided an overview of the grant, which is up to $500,000 and the city’s portion is $100,000.
Within the agreement, if the study doesn’t require the entire $500,000, East West Gateway will provide the city with a refund.
Mayor Herb Roach said the results of the study could take several years to complete.
Other Developments Approved March 6
On March 6, the council OK’d plans from First Baptist Academy to rezone 28.2 acres at 1111 East Highway 50 and South Seven Hills Road. to allow for the construction of a 15,9000 square-foot gymnasium/multi-purpose building addition to the existing church and school, which will be used for students’ physical education classes, sporting events, adult education classes and sports.
The council also approved Jude Fam Sports application for planned use for a recreation/sports complex development with indoor and outdoor baseball facilities as well as outdoor sand volleyball facilities at 5628 Old Collinsville Road.
Hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. during weekdays and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends to reduce the impact of lighting and noise to surrounding residential uses. All lighting of the parking lot and fields will need to conform to the lighting standards of the city’s code.
All recommendations of the final traffic study must be incorporated in the development and any improvements to Old Collinsville Road must be approved by St. Clair County.