The Great One, Wayne Gretzky said it best: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” And one investor would say that’s true of business as well as hockey. So he’s taking the shots.
“Hockey players surround themselves with good teammates. In real estate development, you have to have a strong team and fight hard for one another,” said Tom Kaiman, a former hockey player who has gone full-strength into real estate development.
Kaiman, the president of St. Louis-based Mia Rose Holdings, and Jim Cook, IMOs Pizza franchisee and co-owner of Sugarfire Smokehouse, are partnering with Benton Homebuilders on “The Prairie,” a mixed-use, multi-phase project located near Hwy. N and Bryan Road in Dardenne Prairie. The joint venture team, Bryan 364 Junction LLC, broke ground in June. The Prairie is scheduled to be completed in December 2022. It sits on an 18-acre property made up of 16 acres that were once the Gilmer farm and two additional acres referred to as the Siefken parcel. The property abuts Hwy. 364 on the north, Winghaven Center on the south, Dardenne Presbyterian Church on the southeast and Dardenne Meadows on the west.
According to Dardenne Prairie Mayor John Gotway, the city’s Board of Aldermen “approved a rezoning request and Planned Unit Development (PUD) in February of this year” for The Prairie, tweaking what he and some other city officials have said are outdated zoning requirements that fall under the previous administration’s “Uptown Zoning District” rules.
On Sept. 15, the board voted to replace the current “Uptown” zoning district as adopted by Ordinance No.1175 (as amended) with the New Development zoning district (ND).
According to the ordinance’s defining details, the purposes of the ND district include the following:
- To create a pedestrian-friendly and walkable environment that connects residential, recreational, and commercial uses.
- To encourage site and building design that establishes a sense of place and establishes an image for the designated areas.
- To encourage increased private investment.
- To encourage an imaginative and innovative design of land development.
- To promote development compatible with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
According to the ordinance, “all existing and proposed developments approved prior to Sept. 15 shall continue to be governed by the existing applicable approved area plan or site plan or such plan as may have been approved for a proposed project not completed as of that date.”
Hence the reason why Gotway said The Prairie PUD required “tweaking.” Overall, Gotway said the development is a “good fit for Dardenne Prairie.” Kaiman heartily agreed.
The Prairie will support the live, work, play lifestyle that “has become more desirable as the pandemic has shifted the culture toward working and recreating at home,” Kaiman noted.
The multi-phase project includes the construction of five, three-story luxury apartment buildings consisting of 120 one-bedroom units and 60 two-bedroom units. Benton Homebuilders also is constructing nine buildings featuring 60, 1,550-square-foot villas, each with three bedrooms, a full basement and a two-car garage.
One of the apartment buildings will feature 12,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor. An additional 4,500-square-foot retail center will be home to a new Imo’s Pizza. A future restaurant also is planned on an out-lot within the development.
Kaiman founded Mia Rose Holdings in 2014 and has overseen more than $1 billion in projects including multi-family and mixed-use developments, as well as ice rinks and other athletic facilities – an expertise that grew out of his professional hockey career playing for the Arkansas Riverblades, Baton Rouge Kingfish and Lowell Lockmonsters.
Kaiman isn’t the only hockey player developing property in St. Charles County.
Last year, former St. Louis Blues player Brett Hull put his name on a $4.3 million sports bar and restaurant in Wentzville that Kaiman also developed. Brett Hull’s Junction House is the anchor tenant for The Junction of Wentzville, an 18-acre mixed-use development at the intersection of Lodora Drive and I-70, which is also home to Sugarfire Smokehouse, Junction Apartments and an F45 fitness center. Wentzville-based entrepreneur and owner Keith Horneker took a chance on Junction House as one of the first new restaurant projects to be announced after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders.
Pointing to both The Prairie and The Junction of Wentzville projects, Kaiman declared, “We love St. Charles County!”
“Our whole business model is focused on the growth in that area,” he said. “These are amazing sites, strategically located. You cannot replicate the Wentzville location. Everyone has to slow down on that curve on I-70 and they see us up on the hill. It’s right in their face.”
He said he expects The Prairie will fare the same situated just off of Hwy. 364.
“Finding a city that’s open and receptive and wants to see our vision come to fruition in their boundaries, having that support from Mayor Gotway – it makes it easier to get a project approved and get it done,” Kaiman said. “Dardenne Prairie had a ton of folks in the right seats politically and administratively willing to work with us. There are certain municipalities in St. Louis County, and even in St. Charles County, that were not supportive. Our vision is a very simple – mixed-use development anchored by amazing multi-family components in strategic locations that are not all retail or all commercial.”
Dardenne Prairie Economic Development Coordinator Doug Potts called mixed-use developments are the wave of the future.
“In economic development, mixed uses and market development are very hot right now. It is the way things are going,” Potts said. Not just locally but nationally, there is a real push for developments where basically your residents are also your customers, that capture the local marketplace and bring the amenities and services to them and making it all part of the overall development plan.”
Kaiman said Phase II of The Prairie is slated to begin by the end of 2022. It will include additional retail spaces as well as 24 more multi-family units.