Anchor store opens at Shawnee Center

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Station West expected to be regional draw

By Jim Obert

Business Today

Shawnee Center's anchor tenant, Station West, is the first of several businesses to open in Cape Girardeau's newest retail and office development at Highway 74 (Shawnee Parkway) and Silver Springs Road.

The kitchen, bath, carpet and interior design business relocated from its former location at Kingshighway and Cape Rock Road. It opened June 9.

Station West is owned by Virgil Jones of Jackson and Keith Flynt and Andy Wallace of Carbondale. The three men formed Rebel Group LLC to develop Shawnee Center and other properties.

Shawnee Center has more than 27,900 square feet of commercial lease space that is being marketed by Tom Kelsey, president of Lorimont Place Ltd. Kelsey said 54 percent of the new center is under contract for lease. Q -- The Audio & Video Store will open next to Station West in a few weeks.

Kelsey said the high traffic and high visibility location of Shawnee Center is attracting rental prospects that like the close proximity of Interstate 55, the new technology center, the new high school, Westfield Shoppingtown West Park Mall and the Siemer's Drive retail corridor.

The new development is also located near Southeast Missouri Hospital's future West Campus project, which consists of 26 acres along new Mount Auburn Road south of Highway 74.

Several years ago Virgil Jones and his partners began a market study for a concept store -- an upscale interior design showroom.

"Since I lived in this area, it was up to me to find some land to build the business. A couple properties didn't work out, then I saw this corner," said Jones, referring to the southwest corner of Highway 74 and Silver Springs Road. "I brought my partners here and we decided there was enough land to develop a shopping center."

Jones said he expects Station West to be a regional draw. He anticipates business from Sikeston, Perryville and Marble Hill.

"It's a high-end store. I can build a kitchen for $1,500 or $100,000," said Jones. "Our appliances are all high end because we don't want to compete with the big box stores. Our two main brands are Subzero and Wolf, and you can't get anything better than that.

"We cater to discriminating customers that want the very best."

Jones said Station West carries five lines of cabinetry, laminated and granite countertops, carpet, glass, doors and more.

Station West has been a fixture in Cape Girardeau for many years. Jones bought the store and the name in 1991, and he operated it at Kingshighway and Cape Rock Road. For 12 years it complemented his other business -- KMC Construction Servicemaster -- a regional fire and water restoration business that relied heavily on flooring, counter tops and cabinets.

Jones thinks the location of Station West and Shawnee Center is ideal. He anxiously awaits the opening of the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.

"I can sit here in my office and see all the traffic that goes by now. Once that bridge opens it's going to increase. This will be a good spot."

Kelsey, the real estate broker, said lease space at Shawnee Center ranges from 1,500 square feet to 12,000 square feet. He said his real estate firm is focusing on retail, office, restaurant and service-oriented tenants. The developer, Rebel Group, will finish lease spaces to suit tenants. Rental rates will vary depending on size and interior finish requirements.

Kelsey said interest by retail businesses to locate in the Cape Girardeau area has steadily increased in recent years. He said Cape Girardeau County leads the state in per capita retail sales with more than $1.2 billion during 2001.

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