Part of the 'Original Route 66'
Manchester Road, as it was officially designed more than 100 years ago, was initially laid out as "Market Street" as one of eight roadways ordered in St. Louis County by the General Assembly in 1835 with the intention of creating a roadway from St. Louis to Jefferson City.
The road was built in 1841 replacing an earlier primitive trail that was probably formed by the Indians and early trappers. Manchester Road has been recently recognized by the Missouri General Assembly as a part of the "Original Route 66" and approximately 2.4 miles of the Road run through Des Peres.
Development of Manchester Road and Impact on Des Peres Commerce
The building of Manchester Road by the Missouri Department of Transportation, motivated the early development of a business community to serve the needs of travelers and farmers and helped to shape the modern Des Peres as we know it. The primary commercial focus was initially on general merchandise, livery and blacksmith shops, and saloons.
In the early 1900s, the first gasoline station was opened near Manchester and Bopp Roads. In the early 1950s, retail development commenced to serve the lightly populated area around Des Peres with a recorded 63 businesses along the corridor.
The opening of Interstate 270 with its exit at Manchester Road in 1965 combined with urban sprawl from the City of St. Louis to western communities marked the beginning of Des Peres’ transition from an agriculturally based area (greenhouses) to a modern day hub of commerce. Old greenhouses and family homes began to give way to more modern commercial developments. In the late 1960s, a State Charter was issued for Colonial Bank, the first bank in Des Peres. In 1967, Eime’s Greenhouses gave way to what is now Des Peres Commons Shopping Center. The year 1969 saw development of Colonnade Center and the conversion of the Manchester Road DriveIn Movie Theater into the original West County Shopping Center.
The late 1970s and 1980s witnessed the next wave of commercial development in the form of large scale office development. The first of such developments was that of the Community Federal Building (now the International headquarters for Edward Jones) followed by substantial growth in additional office developments along the Manchester Road West corridor. To the East, Olympic Oaks Shopping Center was built in 1984.
Manchester Road took a new shape and focus again in the 2000’s, as it was reconstructed in 2002 with the new split road configuration that features separate four lane eastbound and westbound roadways from Barrett Station Road to Interstate 270. Featured between the new roadway design split, Des Peres Pointe was built in the late 2000’s in two separate phases and includes well known shops and eateries such as St. Louis Bread Company, Trader Joes, Treats Unleashed, Noodles and Company, First Watch and Five Guys
Burgers and Fries.
East of town, redevelopment continued with the 75,000 sq. ft. Schnuck’s Des Peres opening in 2009 featuring both al Fresco and Bistro Grill restaurant concepts; temperature-controlled walk-in Wine & Cheese Room; a beer cave; Kaldi’s coffee shop and a state-of the-art cooking school. A mile or so down the road to the east, the Shoppes at Tallbrook were also built in the late 2000’s.
Late 2012 brought the opening of another 75,000 sq. ft. state of the art grocery store - Dierberg’s Market at Des Peres. The Market at Des Peres includes a second-level mezzanine restaurant, the Mezz, complete with complimentary wi-fi for dine-in customers; Bento Asian Grill and Sushi Bar; a farmer’s market hall concept with a selection of locally grown produce and Dierberg’s School of Cooking and Culinary Events Center.
In 2013, approval was given for two new developments on Manchester Road east of I-270. Russell Stover Candies is located at 11697 Manchester (now M1 Bank) and Raising Canes Chicken (previously Deutschmann’s Nursery) is now located at 12333 Manchester. Approval was also given for renovation of the Olympic Oaks Shopping Center with addition of an Aldi Grocery Store and Missouri American Bank (on the outlot parcel of the property). The City estimates approximately 255 businesses are located along Manchester Road in Des Peres.
In 2014, West County Center welcomed Banana Republic, Altar’d State, Gap, Cardinals Clubhouse and Chipolte to name a few; Three King’s Public House developed the space formally occupied by Mosaic Restaurant and the Boys Scouts of America Outfitters were an addition to the Des Peres Pointe Development. West of I-270, The Kiddie Academy (previously Patton Interiors) opened offering additional educational opportunities for families.
From 2015 thru 2017, the City welcomed Jersey Mike’s Subs, Rally House, Yoga Six, Investors Title Company, Ivivva, Central Bank, Paper Dolls Boutique, Circa STL, and Rosalita’s Cantina. A major expansion to the Apple Store at West County Center also took place in 2016. In 2017, approval was granted for Circle 7 Ranch Taphouse to launch its second location at 11769 Manchester Road.
Between 2018 and 2020 the Drury Corporation purchased and substantially renovated the 130,000 sf office building located at 13090 Manchster Road (formerly Scottrade). That renovation was followed-up in 2021 by another significant office expansion at 12851 Manchester Road where McCarthy Holdings relocated its cooperate headquarters encompassing 83,000 total square feet.
West County Center
Redevelopment of West County Center was the issue of the 1990s. Developed in the 1960s as one of the first regional shopping centers in the metropolitan area, West County had seen it's predominate status overshadowed by redevelopment of Northwest Plaza, Crestwood Plaza, The Galleria, and Chesterfield Mall.
The importance of West County Center to the financial stability of the City of Des Peres cannot be overstated and resulted in proactive efforts by the City to revitalize the mall.
That effort culminated in 1997, with the decision by Nordstrom's to locate it's only St. Louis area store at West County and the City of Des Peres' agreement to provide up to $29.5 million in Tax Increment Financing to assist in the effort to redevelop West County. The development plan was approved in June 1998 with construction delayed until February 2001 by litigation filed by the owners of Chesterfield Mall challenging the use of TIF for the project.
The new regional West County Center is managed by CBL Properties and was rededicated in 2002. It is anchored by Macy's, Nordstrom, JC Penney, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. In 2009, Restaurant Village was opened featuring speciality restaurants such as McCormick & Schmicks and Bravo! Cucina Italiana.
On December 31, 2012 the City paid off the TIF bonds associated with West County Center eight years earlier than scheduled.