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.