Plans to expand the airport would spare most of Lambert's hotel
row - at least for now.
The $1.7 billion plan would spare the larger hotels nestled
south of Lambert's terminal on Natural Bridge Road - the Airport
Marriott, Drury Inn and Hampton Inn - and a handful more near
Interstate 70 and Lindbergh Boulevard. In fact, the expansion could
shower them with new business as air traffic continues to climb.
But the plan to add a third runway through Bridgeton would take
a landmark hotel - Henry the VIII Hotel and Conference Center - as
well as three "mom-and-pop" motels along Lindbergh Boulevard.
The owners of those motels say the demolition would knock them
out of the business forever.
Typical is Gary Moore, who with his wife, Theresa, has owned
the Linair Motel on Lindbergh Boulevard across from the Henry the
VIII for 13 years. They do a brisk business, mostly with business
travelers who stay for weeks, or even months, while working with
firms like McDonnell Douglas.
The expansion plan would cost the Moores their motel and two
homes on three acres. They said they could never find a small motel
anywhere else with the steady, year-round business they now enjoy.
"Once you lose a business like this, where do you go?" Moore
asked. "This is a mom-and-pop motel, and there aren't many out
Lambert officials announced July 6 that they had chosen the W1W
plan that would raze about a third of Bridgeton, without
identifying specifically which homes or businesses would go.
After huddling for a week with planners and consulting with the
Federal Aviation Administration, the airport provided details of
what would be razed to make way for the new runway.
The expansion would take about 1,500 homes and 70 businesses,
most of them along Lindbergh Boulevard and Natural Bridge Road west
of the airport. The airport expects to spend $400 million buying
those homes and businesses.
On Thursday, hundreds of Bridgeton residents and businessmen
complained about the plan during a public workshop - the sixth the
airport has held on the expansion process.
The expansion aims to increase the number of landings possible
during bad weather, when the airport is limited to a single runway.
That delays flights here and snarls connecting flights across the
The new runway would put enough distance between runways to
allow air traffic controllers to use two at once in bad weather.
Airport officials could not say last week how often one runway is
closed because of the weather.
The airport will formally propose the plan to the FAA in
September. The FAA must study the effect on the environment, and
the agency is expected to decide the plan's ifate next year. If
Lambert wins the FAA's approval, it can begin buying property.
Bob Dopuch, the airport's planner, said Lambert's boundaries
would gerrymander around many businesses like the hotels in the
hope of limiting disruption and trimming Lambert's costs for buying
The hotels it would spare - including the Marriott, Hilton,
Drury Inn, Hampton, Holiday Inn and the Radisson - have a total
value of $130 million or more, says the St. Louis County assessor.
In contrast, the Henry VIII and smaller motels on the hit list
have a total market value of about $8.5 million.
One of the private consultants who drafted the plan, Mike
Cullivan, has since been hired to work full time for the airport.
Cullivan said that for a time, planners worried that hotels
south of the airport and those near Lindbergh and I-70 would have
to be razed to allow planes taking off on the new, third runway to
clear them safely. …