Ballwin residents such as Jim Robinson opposed the U-Gas subdivision, saying that the development won't bring anything unique to the city.
"This particular type of development is the same thing we've seen up and down Manchester Road for 20, maybe 20 years," Robinson told city officials, developers and other residents at a December board of aldermen meeting.
Robinson also questioned the stores' fit in the area's "Great Streets" initiative – part of a two decades-plus plan to revamp streets, sidewalks and shopping areas throughout participating West County municipalities, including Ballwin, Ellisville and Manchester.
On behalf of the U-Gas, Mark Kornfeld of the Sansone Group real estate firm said a Wendy's fast food restaurant also is likely to be built at that location.
"So there will be several other users that will want to be on that site," Kornfeld said.
Kornfeld also took issue with residents' concerns that the development would hinder long term financial growth.
"What could be farther from economic progress than throwing another vacant lot [there]?" Kornfeld said.
Freshman Alderman Pat McDermott, who voted against the proposal, said he recently spoke with a representative for Rothman furniture who indicated that management would close the store once the property has been purchased and plans officially are approved.
The proposal ultimately was approved 5 to 2. Aldermen Richard Boerner, Ron Markland, Ken Mellow, Frank Fleming and Jim Leahy approved the project, while Aldermen Michael Finley and Pat McDermott opposed the development; Alderman Jim Terbrock was absent.