BJC rehab hospital

BJC Health System in partnership with Encompass Health is seeking permission from the city of Town & Country to redevelop the former Wellbridge site on Woods Mill Road as its newest Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis. (Source: Google Earth)

 

The May 18 Town & Country Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting originally was set to be the second part of a public hearing on the proposed redevelopment of Woods Mill Center by Maryville University, KEAT Properties and Keeley Construction. However, that further discussion was postponed until June 15. 

The redevelopment of the property proposes the construction of a 3,000-seat esports and events venue, a 400-bed residence hall, a 1,168-car garage and a mix of retail and restaurant space on the 11.58-acre site. On April 20, it was the subject of a long and heated public hearing during which nearby residents came forward to raise concerns about traffic flow, limited setbacks and increased noise they said would affect their quality of life. After nearly four hours, the commission voted to hold the public hearing over until May 18. P&Z also sent Greg Yawitz, CEO of KEAT Properties, back to the design team with some specific “homework” regarding the residents’ concerns. 

On May 18, Yawitz appeared before the commission to ask for a continuance to the June 15 meeting so the team can “work on that homework,” which the commission granted. 

With the Woods Mill Development off the table, P&Z turned its attention to a proposed boundary adjustment plat, zoning amendment, preliminary site development plan and conditional use permit for a proposed rehabilitation hospital to be located at 998 and 1002 Woods Mill Road. The site is south of Anthology of Town & County and was formerly the home of Wellbridge. The hospital will be jointly operated by BJC Health System and Encompass Health as The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis - Town & Country.

The boundary adjustment plat would consolidate the properties into a single lot located in a commercial zoning district, amended to allow a hospital (conditional use) on a property of 10 acres or less. The preliminary site development plan outlined the construction specifications of the single-story, 48,000-square-foot building, which expandable to 53,000 square feet at a later date. 

The facility will be used to provide in-patient rehabilitation services for patients, particularly those who received initial care at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, who have had a stroke, brain or spinal cord injury, and neurologic and orthopedic conditions.

Encompass Health has partnered with BJC Health System on the construction and operation of four rehabilitation facilities, including one in St. Peters. Shivani Bass, CEO of the St. Peters location, spoke at length about the nature of the hospital and the services it provides. 

In addition to the development team, nearby residents from the Ballwin subdivision of Woodsmill were given the opportunity to voice their concerns about off-street and on-site parking, increased cut-through traffic within the subdivision, light and noise pollution and an absence of safe walking space between the subdivision and the Town & Country Crossing shopping center. 

Regarding that last item, George Stock, of Stock & Associates, who presented the construction details of the proposed 50-bed hospital complex indicated that the development’s design did allow for sidewalk connectivity between the hospital site and Town & Country Crossing. However, achieving further pedestrian improvements would need to involve the shopping center’s owners.

While the commissioners gave significant time and consideration to the Ballwin residents, the board ultimately voted favorably (9-1) to recommend all four items to the city’s Board of Aldermen, which will review and vote on the project at an upcoming meeting. Only commissioner Dennis Bolazina (Ward 3) stood opposed on each item. 

Managing Editor

Kate is the managing editor of West Newsmagazine, Mid Rivers Newsmagazine and tour/st magazine. She previously worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as managing editor of the advertising special sections department.

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