Drury University has purchased a longtime convenience store/service station, Route 66 Food Shop, at the corner of Benton and Chestnut Expressway. The purchase is the university’s first major step toward realizing the vision of its 25-year campus master plan.
The 1.5 acre property on the northeast corner of the intersection has been the site of multiple businesses owned by the Phil and Marilyn Swanson family for 33 years.
According to Drury, Ozark Mountain Gourmet Popcorn will relocate to a refurbished facility on Commercial Street. The deli food business and used vehicle sales will move to another business owned by the Swansons at 3328 N. Glenstone. Employees at the business at Benton and Chestnut Expressway are expected to be relocated.
A specific use for the property hasn’t been determined. The master plan allows for possible expansion of academic buildings in the space. Immediate plans, according to Drury, are to turn the property into green space after underground fuel tanks are removed this month and the buildings are razed later this year.
“This purchase is an important first step in helping us realize our ambitious vision for the future of the Drury University campus,” says Drury president Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd. “A highly visible piece of land, we anticipate that it will become a major gateway into the university and a focal point for the ways in which our master plan calls for us to marry form and function in the service of our academic mission.”
Drury officials said the purchase of the property is made possible through “the generous philanthropy of the Swanson family, and through private donations to Drury’s Futures Fund.”