Ambulance District Buys Raw Land in St. Charles County

The Need for Raw Land in St. Charles, MO

St. Charles County is an exciting place to be. Its growth over the past three decades leads to some compelling numbers.

In 1990, the county’s 592 square miles only supported 213,000 residents. In 2019, the numbers are closer to 400,000. Though this has slowed, St. Charles County has still seen a consistent 1% to 1.5% growth rate every year since 2010.

Of the services that have had to grow along with the county, the St. Charles County Ambulance District (SCCAD) is among the most critical.

Though ambulances serve residents with non-emergency transport (as well as health and safety programs), they respond to life and death situations daily.

The department responded to 41,685 calls in 2018, a number projected to increase to more than 44,000 calls in 2019.

SCCAD maintains 16 permanent base stations across the county for emergency response. But to keep up with the county’s growth, it has had to spread administration, vital IT functions, training, and vehicle maintenance over five locations and three municipalities.

The lack of a central office for all of these non-emergency functions had become a strain on the district’s resources.

They needed to consolidate their efforts. They needed to invest in a purpose-built building on raw land in St. Charles County.

Help for the Helpers

Thanks to the resident-approved general obligation bond called Proposition Ambulance, SCCAD has $70 million to invest in improvements. They planned to use a significant portion of that budget for a new consolidated campus facility.

Hoping to stay near the I-70 corridor, they wanted to find land inside their budget that would allow them to build a facility large enough to grow with the district over many years.

Represented by Bob Cissell and Chris Shea of Cissell Mueller, they found several possible candidates. However, the farmland near Mid Rivers Mall Drive and the newly completed Salt River Road was the most promising.

A Unique Hobby and a Private Airfield

Owned by seven siblings known as the Sunshine Group, the land at Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Salt River Road was initially purchased by Jim Sontheimer, Sr., in 1978.

Sontheimer was a private plane enthusiast. He bought the nearly 100 acres of farmland north of I-70 so he could build a house for his family with a runway in the backyard.

Six of Sontheimer’s seven children later built homes of their own on the land, but he leased the rest out to farmers. After Sontheimer’s death in 1992, the family listed the property with Ben Hilliker, founder of Hilliker Corporation but, recognizing the level of demand, chose not to market it aggressively.

However, the completion of Salt River Road in 2016 meant an increase in traffic and development. The Sunshine Group decided it was time to make a concerted effort to sell the land. Mr. Hilliker enlisted brokers Will Meehan and Chris Taff to find a match for as much of the property as possible.

The Sunshine Group (represented by Meehan and Taff) sold 31.2 acres to the St. Charles County Ambulance District for $2,718,144.

 Sixty-seven acres are still available.

Progress for St. Charles County Residents

SCCAD’s budget for the entire project, including both building and land, is $35 million. The district is partnering with the architects at Arch Images along with project management from Navigate Building Solutions.

They’re hoping to break ground in November of 2019.

Looking for Raw Land in the St. Louis Area?

At Hilliker, we help organizations of all kinds find the right real estate for their needs. We dream with you, create a plan, and set out to match your unique set of parameters with properties for lease or sale throughout the St. Louis area.

Whether you need an existing building or are ready to build your own, count on Hilliker to help set you up for real estate success.

Call us today.