There has been a little bit of buzz in the media over the last year about the declining fortunes of poorly planned, sprawl-centric commercial corridors in affluent West County, such as Manchester Road. The intersection of Barrett Station Road and Manchester, approximately two miles west of I-270, is a great case study in how suburban style development fails. Below, this now underutilized building on the southeast corner once housed a steakhouse that seemingly only went out of business because the national chain, Stuart Anderson’s went broke. For the last twenty years, it has struggled to hold occupants, and has not served as a restaurant for at least fifteen years.
The northeast corner possessed a small doctors’ office building, which was demolished for a gas station about fifteen years ago. It failed, as the glut of filling stations along Manchester road eventually yielded casualties. That corner is now relegated to a power exchange station.
On the northwest corner, where a Fuddrucker’s once stood–and then an antique shop that failed recently, a bland, monotonous bank building is going up. It will probably fail, as it is very difficult to reach.
Ironically, the most stable corner, the southwest one, possesses the corner’s oldest resident, a White Castle.
Back behind the new bank building sits an old Wal-Mart, now relegated to second hand use as a Burlington Coat Factory, whose parking lot on a Saturday afternoon was largely vacant.
The accompanying strip mall, built perpendicular to Manchester Road in a seeming effort to make it as difficult as possible for motorists to see its tenants, sits severely underfilled, a victim of Wal-Mart packing up shop and moving to Town and Country Commons two miles to the west.
Various municipal officials along Manchester Road in West County have expressed confusion as to why business is so bad along Manchester. Could it possibly be because the form it takes?
Update: This intersection remains moribund as of April 2016. The old Stuart Anderson’s Steakhouse sits empty as of April 2016.
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I was actually expecting you to praise that intersection for their half-assed use of jughandles to avoid left-turn lane slowdowns on Manchester.And has it really been fifteen years since there was a restaurant on that lot? I think it was called Ground Round last, wasn’t it?Never went there.
Yes, the Ground Round, exactly! I almost mentioned the jughandles, which are more common in New Jersey, as you mentioned one time. Actually, the intersection is so commercially dead now that the jughandles are not necessarily needed–not many people are turned left at Barrett Station in the first place. I will admit that the jughandles were an early attempt at creative solutions to Manchester Road’s traffic problems.
BTW, do you remember when we used to do snow donuts in this parking lot?
Fun update. Walmart is now abandoning it’s “new” location at Town and Country Commons to move just a little further west into Manchester Meadows, the huge new commercial development at Manchester and 141.
Hi, Chris – I’ve been enjoying your site so much lately. Regarding Barrett Station Road: my bicycle rides sometimes take me through the Manchester intersection, usually from the north. At the top of that long rise, where it’s gated off from Thornhill Drive, there’s an old farmhouse on a vast lawn. Ever photograph or investigate it? Having grown up on northern Illinois farms, I’m tantalized by this place.
I’m not familiar with it–it sounds like it’s worth checking out!
1907 Barrett Station Rd
St Louis, MO 63131
I found one house the assessor claims is from the 1870s.
I’d believe that. I do wonder if the lot it’s on is part of what was once a much larger farm.
Part of the farmland is now being chunked away and developed for new homes. The farmhouse and outbuildings remain, though maybe not for long. Sure put a damper on last week’s ride. Sigh.
Yikes, I never got by there to photograph it yet.
In reading about the Barrett Brae neighborhood – again, the result of recent bike rides and curiosity – I thought of that home on Barrett Station Road again. Searching the St. Louis County Collector of Revenue’s website does say the home dates from 1874 and is on a subdivision called “Nathan Rannells farm”. Looking at nearby homes on Zillow, that name comes up again and again; running Nathan’s name through findagrave.com provides additional clues.
Apparently, the home changed hands in March 2015, February 2011, and August 1967, if Zillow is to be believed. I sort of hope this old farmhouse was the heart of a working farm back in ’67. Given the August sale date, though, I wonder if the owners had already given up farming ahead of their move.
Eminent domain for private gain forever changed the landscape of this business district.
Yes, it did.