CLAYTON, Mo. — A longtime businessman is planning to push out some very popular restaurants and shops in downtown Clayton.
5 On Your Side's partners at the Business Journal have learned Fred Kummer has bought a half-block of Clayton real estate with plans to redevelop it into a $270 million mixed-use project
Some business owners aren't happy about his plans for the future.
"It's another challenge for me and we will overcome that challenge," Business owner Gerard Ezvan said.
Since 1954, Jon's pipe shop has been a staple in downtown Clayton.
"The store has done very well since it has been in this location." he said.
In the 1980's, Ezvan took over the shop and built the business that still sits near the corner of Maryland and North Central Avenue, but the ground where his shop stands will soon change.
"It will be the end of small business in Clayton," he said.
In 2020, developers plan to bulldoze his entire block to build luxury condos and a high-end hotel.
That means Jon's pipe shop, Vincent Van Doughnut and J.P. Fields and others will all have to move to stay in business.
"You're going to have some very high rises. I don't know if that's the answer," Ezvan said.
The development also comes as Clayton is undergoing another costly project, fueled in large part by Centene corporation's $770 million dollar expansion.
"The next challenge as far as I'm concerned is to relocate and keep Jon's pipes shop alive," Ezvan said.
Ezvan believes the new projects will forever hurt business, but he's hopeful even with a move his business will survive.
"The key to a good live downtown is to have foot traffic," he said. "Our customers are very loyal. They will come. They will follow us."
The development will be privately financed and the developer isn't asking for any tax breaks.