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Fenton: New Strategy Should Speed Redevelopment

Brett Blume
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(KMOX/Brett Blume)

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

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FENTON, Mo. (KMOX) -  Fenton Missouri continues to deal with a giant hole in the ground — and in its economy — as demolition of the two Chrysler plants reaches the final stages.

Drivers on nearby I-44 are treated to a stunning sight…a vast stretch of empty land where not so long ago thousands of workers gathered everyday to assemble Chrysler trucks and mini-vans.

Fenton mayor Dennis Hancock tells KMOX News that a recent decision by the company in charge of selling the 5-million square feet of property should make it easier to sell off the land so it can be redeveloped.

“They’ve decided the property can now be sold in pieces as opposed to trying to sell the entire parcel,” Hancock says, “which from what we’re being told has generated more interest in the property.”

No names have been attached to corporations who are looking into buying the land, which was once rumored to be in the running as home to a new stadium for the St. Louis Rams.

The decision to split the property into separate parcels is likely to end speculation about the stadium once and for all.

img 3739 Fenton: New Strategy Should Speed Redevelopment

7/5/11-A vast empty sea of broken concrete is all that remains of the site where thousands of workers used to gather daily to assemble Chrysler trucks and mini-vans at two giant manufacturing facilities in Fenton, MO. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

Hancock says that’s not up to the city, which keeps a hand in the process through the zoning process.

But he’s anticipating an announcement about at least a partial sale of the property by the end of this year.

“We think it’s a very attractive place for people who are looking to move a business, to bring some new type of development to the area,” Hancock says.  “Possibly some new types of retailers to the area, things like that.”

It would take at least another two or three years after the land is sold, he says, before a new business could be designed, built and open.

The sooner the better, as far as Fenton is concerned — the city is losing more than $1 million dollars annually in tax revenue that was generated by the Chrysler North and South plants before manufacturing ended for good in 2009.

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