Louis S. Sachs
Founder

Louis S. Sachs
Visionary Developer/Philanthropist
Jan. 9, 1928 – May 27, 2011


"More than any other single person, Louis Sachs is responsible for the quality of life we enjoy in Chesterfield."
-- Former Chesterfield Mayor John Nations


While Justus Post is known as the father of Chesterfield, Mo., Louis S. Sachs is known as the “Father of Modern Chesterfield.” In 1967, Sachs began acquiring land in Chesterfield for a vision of a business, residential, commercial and cultural community that would become Chesterfield Village. At 1,500 acres, Chesterfield Village is larger than Forest Park and has become the business and cultural hub of West St. Louis County. It is home to more than 200 businesses – including national headquarters. The generous donations of Sachs and his enduring dedication to the arts helped Chesterfield earn the “Creative Community Award.” in 2011 from the Missouri Arts Council. Remarkably, Sachs used none of today’s common tools to develop properties – no eminent domain, no tax abatement and no tax increment financing.

Sachs was born Jan. 9 1928 to Samuel and Dena Sachs. His father was an immigrant from Lithuania; his mother came from Russia. Like his father, Sachs graduated from Washington University and began working for his father’s company – Sachs Electric Co. Louis Sachs later engaged in real estate development, creating Sachs Properties. Early projects included medical office buildings, a shopping center and an apartment complex.

A desire to have greater control over what was built around his developments spurred Sachs to look west. In the largely rural area of Chesterfield at Highway 40 and Clarkson/Olive Street Road, he acquired several parcels in 1967 with the goal of creating an interconnected, master planned suburban development called Chesterfield Village. In 1970, Sachs hired Team Four to create the master plan for the development – one of oldest on record in St. Louis. Sachs met with Arthur “Cubby” Baer II of the department store chain Stix, Baer and Fuller and Dick Jacob of the Jacobs Group, a national shopping mall developer. Both were planning a mall in the Chesterfield area. Sachs convinced them to locate it at Clarkson Road and Highway 40.

By 1976, Sachs answered skeptics with a hint of his vision in an ad placed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It read:

“Perhaps you’ve wondered why we put a major shopping center in the middle of a field. Because Chesterfield Mall wasn’t built as an end in itself. In a few years, it will be in the middle of a town.”


Louis Sachs with Team Four
Development gained momentum and in 1988 the shopping center was indeed in the “the middle of a town” when the city of Chesterfield was incorporated. Throughout the development of Chesterfield Village, history was important to Sachs who named buildings and streets after local historical figures.

Early Chesterfield Village Aerial
His desire to orchestrate its environment led him to fund efforts to bury electrical lines, purchase and maintain extensive landscaping and build interior connector roads including Chesterfield Parkway, Lydia Hill, Burkhardt, Justus Post and others.

Emanating from Highway 40 and Clarkson/Olive Street Road, Chesterfield Village has become the epicenter of the city of Chesterfield. To date, more than $3 billion has been invested in its creation. Today, Sachs Properties owns one million square feet of office and retail space hosting more than 200 businesses. A total of 2,600 homes are also found in Chesterfield Village.

But it is the devotion of Sachs to cultural amenities that invigorated his vision. Quietly behind the scenes, Sachs donated land and money to cultivate the arts in Chesterfield. He was a prime force in creating the non-profit Chesterfield Arts in 1993. In 2009, he brought J Seward Johnson’s iconic “The Awakening” to Chesterfield. Other organizations benefiting from his philanthropy were the St. Louis County Public Library – Samuel C. Sachs Branch, named for his father, the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, Junior Chamber International and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

He also ensured the amenities in his development were properly presented to the public, by …

  • Helping develop Faust Park for more than 30 years. Sachs hired an architect to develop its master plan and was instrumental in the construction of the Carousel Building, a lake and a historic village.  He also funded landscaping on Olive Street Road to enhance the entrance to Faust Park.
  • Funding improvements to Chesterfield's Central Park and investing in a master landscaping plan at Highway 40 and Clarkson/Olive Street Road.
  • Donating land to the City of Chesterfield for a trail system that connects Central Park to August Hill Road and ultimately Wild Horse Creek Road.
  • Donating land to the St. Louis County Library for its future "History Center," which will be located at Wild Horse Creek Road and the future Burkhardt Road.
  • Donating the land for Jewish Community Center in Chesterfield and money for improvements.
  • Funding innumerable works of public art throughout Chesterfield and multiple community art programs by Chesterfield Arts.

Today, his vision of Chesterfield Village continues with the creation of the more than 200-acre Downtown Chesterfield. With an abundance of green space and other amenities, the phased development will ultimately connect all of Chesterfield Village.


 

 

   
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400 Chesterfield Center • Suite 600 • Chesterfield, MO 63017
636.537.1000 • Fax 636.537.0718
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