Location ideal for Southport Plaza 

Southport Plaza is located at 310 Southport Drive across from Red Roof Liquor & Lottery in Columbia.

Motorists frequenting the I-255/Route 3 interchange at the north end of Columbia might well have noticed the new lot across from Red Roof Liquor & Lottery.

With the bulk of construction now finished, Southport Plaza is currently home to two businesses, with plenty of additional space for others looking to find a home between Columbia and South County.

Chris Kalbfleisch, owner of Quality Auto Repair in Waterloo – formerly Quality Collision – is one of the minds behind this business venture.

Kalbfleisch explained Southport Plaza has been in the works for the past three years, as he and his business partner were on the lookout for investment opportunities.

“My partner and I were looking at investment property at the time, and we knew that FEMA was gonna change the flood plain around, so we knew some of the ground down there was gonna go to waste,” Kalbfleisch said. “If there was a time to develop, it was gonna be now.”

They were able to work out a deal with the owner of the farmland where the plaza is now located, and they’ve been working on the lot and building construction ever since.

Kalbfleisch said that the big draw for them building the plaza on Southport Drive was simply the location. As has been a key selling point over the last few months, the lot is just a few miles away from the economic hub of South County.

As far as more local benefits, Kalbfleisch spoke positively about the nearby soccer fields serving as a draw. He also noted the nearby Shell gas station as a key stop for folks heading into Columbia.

Kalbfleisch also made mention of the city’s planned growth along with the future Dupo interchange on I-255 as general positives he expects for Southport Plaza.

“The big thing for us for the location was we felt there was gonna be a lot more commercial development on the north end of Columbia, closer to obviously St. Louis, but also the Dupo interchange going in,” Kalbfleisch said. “When we found out three years back that that was for sure a go and that was gonna move forward, we got together and looked at property on Old Route 3 and down Palmer Road thinking that interchange is really gonna blow things up down there.”

As mentioned, the project has seen tremendous progress in the last year, though there is still more work to be done, as Kalbfleisch described.

He explained that the first two phases of the plan have been completed with the construction of the lot and two structures with several units each.

Businesses calling the location home currently include Kish and Marshal Accounting and Tax and an upscale gaming lounge and high-end whiskey bar owned by Kalbfleisch and his partner named The Office Parlor.

There are further plans for Southport Plaza, however. Phase three is a planned drive-thru restaurant for which Kalbfleisch is still trying to find a business. Phase four is an additional lot nearby which will have either another two buildings or one large structure.

While the drive-thru business was meant to come first, Kalbfleisch said a number of local businesses have expressed their hopes of expanding, so the additional retail space could come first.

Kalbfleisch further spoke about the state of the plaza’s currently available retail units as marketing for them has become a major focus. He said that they’ve been able to properly show the units to prospective tenants, and the plaza has seen a good response thanks to online advertising and the work of a Missouri realtor drumming up interest.

“I feel like it’s going to do very well,” Kalbfleisch said. “Our hopes were by springtime, we had a few tenants signed up and possibly another building in the works, and I think we’re right on track for that.”

Kalbfleisch spoke positively about his expectations for Southport Plaza, further emphasizing how much of a boon he expects the location to be.

“I think we’re gonna get a lot of local traffic from Columbia with the new roundabout,” Kalbfleisch said. “There’s a new subdivision going in there. 11 South obviously draws a lot of people. The soccer park’s gonna draw a lot of people. I think that’s gonna be a happening spot down there. I’m happy that we chose that spot, and I think it’s gonna be great.”

For more information, visit the Southport Plaza Facebook page, email info.southportplaza@gmail.com or call 618-558-1350.

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Andrew Unverferth

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