At 100% occupancy, Chesterfield Commons in St. Louis, the nation's largest open-air retail center with 1.9 million sq. ft., is making plans to expand with a $15 million, 200,000 sq. ft. retail addition.

Developed by THF Realty of St. Louis, the $275 million center opened in 1998. The brisk pace of leasing, says Michael Staenberg, THF president, “has given us the confidence to move forward with the final 200,000 sq. ft. of retail to complete the shopping component of the master development.”

When the expansion is completed, Chesterfield Commons also will include 275,000 sq. ft. of office space and 205,000 sq. ft. of industrial space, bringing the total of commercial space to 2.58 million sq. ft. Once all projects have been executed, the retail center will be 1.5 miles long over 380 acres.

Chesterfield Commons is anchored by a veritable ‘Who's Who’ list of big-name retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Sam's Club and Home Depot.

There are 80 retailers and 35 restaurants at Chesterfield Commons. The expansion will add Pier 1 Imports, Sports Authority, Borders, Applebee's and Bank of America.

Booming retail sales have enabled the developer to pay off public infrastructure bonds faster — shortening a $30 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from 15 years to seven.