Two chicken restaurants sign onto Costco-anchored Market at Olive development in University City

Gloria Lloyd | Nov 17, 2022

St. Louis Business Journal

article originally appeared

Two fast-casual chicken restaurants are the latest tenants planning to build at the Costco-anchored development in University City.

Raising Cane’s and Chick-fil-A are the latest projects up for zoning approval at the $190 million Market at Olive development at Interstate 170 andOlive Boulevard.

If zoning is finalized, Raising Cane’s will build on the south side of Olive near McKnight Road, and Chick-fil-A will construct its latest St. Louis location on the north side of the development near the new Costco, which opened Oct. 25.

The developer of the project is U City LLC, which was acquired from Novus Development a year ago by a partnership led by Larry Chapman, CEO of Seneca Commercial Real Estate, and Bob Clark,CEO of construction firm Clayco and developer CRG.

Site work on the north side of Olive will begin this year, after the last resident moved out in October, Chapman said in a city presentation last month. Site work on the south side of Olive will be finished over the next three to four months. Discussions about the project’s second and third anchors are still ongoing, he said.

The proposed Raising Cane’s location, which could start construction as soon as the first quarter of 2023 and would be the company’s 14th in the region, according to its website, was granted zoning approval Monday as part of a 12,000-square-foot mixed-use development at 8616, 8620, 8624 and 8628 Olive that will feature retail and the restaurant. In total, the sites surrounding the fast-food restaurant will have about 26,000 square feet of retail, restaurants or office, according to plans approved by the city’s PlanCommission.

The 3,800-square-foot Raising Cane’s, now a vacant lot, will use the company’s new standard building layout. Inspired by pandemic-influenced changes to consumer behavior, the new design utilizes more drive-thru — and less indoor — space. The U City location will have two drive-thrus with stacking lanes.

A Chick-fil-A will occupy one of two out lots developed by Costco in the fourth phase of the project, after receiving approval from the city.

The chicken restaurant is taking an open spot at 8637 Olive Blvd.immediately to the west of the Woodson Road and Olive Boulevard intersection, where a separate corner out lot is also planned. A larger anchor site is planned to the north of the two out lots for a future tenant, which hasn’t been named.

The site targeted by Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A is now a vacant commercial building and houses, according to filings from the city.It was previously part of Jeffrey Plaza. The lots at 8600 and 8614Elmore Court are under contract and the other parcels at the site are already owned by U City LLC, the developer said in city documents.

Like other new Chick-fil-As, the company plans a double drive-thru lane to stack more cars — up to 59 cars, according to a city report.It’s a similar style to the new Chick-fil-A proposed in MarylandHeights at the site of a vacant Steak ‘n Shake.

For the University City location, the frontage along Olive Boulevard will have a 5- or 6-foot retaining wall that rises as it nears a bioretention basin, the developer said.

A spokeswoman for Chick-fil-A said the company does not comment on pending locations.