ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — When south St. Louis County shopping center Ronnie’s Plaza went on the market for the first time since it was built in the 1980s, Brentwood-based Savoy Properties jumped at the chance to own it and potentially add another adjacent development.
In a deal that closed Dec. 27 for an undisclosed price, Marcus Theaters sold the shopping center to Savoy, while retaining its Ronnie's Cinema movie theater real estate that anchors the strip mall, at 5320 S. Lindbergh Blvd. Marcus, based in Milwaukee, acquired the shopping center in 2016 when the theater chain purchased St. Louis-based Wehrenberg Theatres.
In taking over Ronnie's Plaza, which has been a moviegoing destination since Wehrenberg first built a drive-thru there in the 1940s, Savoy plans to invest in upgrading the strip mall's dated look while weighing two new potential sites for development, officials said. An outlot and 2 undeveloped acres next to the movie theater open up many development possibilities that could strengthen the shopping center and bring in more customers for existing tenants, said Ryan Pennington, a partner at Savoy.
“It was just a good opportunity for us to come in as operators and developers and make some upgrades to the center that mutually benefit the center and the theater business,” Pennington said.
The new owner will first update the plaza’s facade, lighting, paint and signage, including the existing Wehrenberg-era monument sign. Designs are being drawn up by TR,i Architects. As of the time of the sale, there were three vacancies in the shopping center’s 39 spaces.
For the 2 acres currently used as a parking lot next to the 20-screen movie theater, Savoy is weighing a range of options to complement the existing tenants, from housing to medical build-to-suit to more entertainment. The developer could build a smaller boutique-style apartment complex, condominiums or townhouses at the site, which would benefit from the walkability of the neighborhood and nearby commercial developments outside Ronnie's Plaza, such as a Schnucks grocery store and Fitz's restaurant.
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