By. Chris Stritzel
Laclede's Landing is all what St. Louis has of it's original riverfront. A majority of the riverfront was demolished for the Arch grounds and even some of the buildings on the Landing have been demolished because they were neglected to the point of no return. That dreary time was then, this is now. The Laclede's Landing of today is rising in a new form, that is reinventing itself with Lofts, Modern Office Space and Restaurant Attractions to draw people down. Today was the Laclede's Landing open house and anyone could learn more about businesses down here, sign up to learn more about the Peper Lofts and enjoy views of the City and River while drinking wine and taste testing cheese. It was held at the 612North Event Space (also known as the Cutlery Building) on the 5th floor (the building on the far right in the image).
While at the event, I asked the Advantes Development people about the "Peper Lofts" project and the lady at the table said, "we are excited about bringing the first residential development to Laclede's Landing. We believe it sets the bar for which every other residential development on the landing will be defined. With unbeatable amenities like a rooftop deck with views of the Arch and skyline, 5 Star in room amenities, higher than average ceilings, easy access to public transit, highways and easy access to the Gateway Arch park, we believe this is the prime location for such a building". While the lady didn't say what percentage of the 49 units are leased, I expect it to be quite a few as the view from 612North was spectacular and comparable to those residents of the Peper Lofts will get. And with rents not being that high (One Bedroom Units will start at $925 and Two Bedroom Units will start at $1250), I expect them to go fast and lead to more residential development on the Landing, which is already happening.
Near the Peper Lofts building, and on 2nd Street the main street in the district, a Philadelphia based developer, Red Rocks Group, wants to buy the buildings at 618-624 North 2nd (Building left of the Cutlery Building) and 700 North 2nd (left of the Lucas Avenue gap). About 60 apartments are planned, so roughly 30 per building. The purchase of those buildings could be completed by the Summer. That means 109 apartments could be on the Landing by December 2019. Another potential residential redevelopment is the Traders Building at 801 North 2nd, but I haven't heard much on it for in a while.
If the Traders Building were to be turned into Apartments, I could only see 30 being added here. It isn't that big of a building and would do very well if it was converted into affordable studio and one bedroom units. Residential on the Landing can and will lead to it's rebirth. Before Washington Avenue was removed for the Arch Park construction, Laclede's Landing had 17 restaurants, that number has collapsed to 7 but many are in the works and will be opening soon. One is an Axe Throwing Bar on 1st Street called Lumberjack Saloon, another is a place at 612 North 2nd called Kimchi Korean Chicken, then a new recent addition is a Mexican Restaurant (Mas Tequila) next door to The Lou on 2nd Street. That puts the amount of restaurants on the Landing at 10.However, numerous empty store fronts litter the Landing but that could change as these residential developments come online among other infrastructure Improvements.
Another way that Laclede's Landing can change, and will change, is with the recently approved plan to extend Lucas Avenue into the district and open up a new way in from Downtown for both pedestrians and cars. The new Lucas connector will divide the Drury owned lot in two and break up the super block so future development plans can be easier to accomplish. While Drury has been quiet with their plan for a 30 floor tower on the Landing and a parking garage, they do plan on renovating the historic Witte Hardware Building into luxury office space that will hopefully bring some technology companies to the Landing. There is no timeline for that renovation but does show us that Drury is ready to invest money into Laclede's Landing. Could that mean that Drury will move forward on their Tower and Garage? Probably not, but it is worth the speculation!
Finally, a vacant lot (formerly home to Switzer's Licorice) at First and Lucas will soon be home to a controversial pocket park known as the Katherine Ward Burg Garden. It will be built by Great Rivers Greenway and will be a half acre. The Garden Park will border the Eads Bridge. It is the subject of controversy as many find the plan redundant as the Gateway Arch park is just on the other side of the Bridge, plus, the location of the Garden Park is one where many people coming from the Arch enter the Landing, so it makes more sense to have a commercial building here rather than another pocket park. The Garden Park is part of GRG's plan for the North Riverfront which includes a park with trail, ponds and other things from the Eads Bridge up to the Stan Span.
The Katherine Ward But Garden, as described by GRG says...
Laclede's Landing is ready to become part of the St. Louis night life scene again very soon. With an estimated 220 people living on the Landing by the end of next year, the chances of new construction and things grows substantially once Lucas is extended and abandoned buildings are dealt with. The Landing will fill in naturally with new buildings that are built as the market sees as necessary. While I believe Laclede's Landing will be 80% of a neighborhood once the Peper Lofts open, it misses out on that other 20%. That 20% is a grocery store so office tenants and residents don't have to travel far to get their groceries. Another good thing for the Landing is the visible trend of moving away from a "tourist gimmick" to a real neighborhood.
While Laclede's Landing still has a long way to go before it reaches "peak occupancy" again, I think it will arrive far sooner than many of us think but for an exact year, I would expect 2022. By then, vacant lots will have proposals and the demand for more space will only continue to grow.
GALLERY: Photos from the Open House
By. Chris Stritzel
We have an issue in St. Louis, to much open space. Even though St. Louis ranks in the top 30 densest cities in the United States, we have tons of vacant lots from past (and failed) urban renewal efforts and buildings that have been neglected so much that the least expensive option is to demolish buildings. Infill is rare in the City and the projects that do come along are often small but significant. In the main urban center of the city, Downtown, parking lots are prevalent to where very few street corners are even urban anymore. Urban is considered buildings on all four corners. Downtown has only 9 of these (but 5 of them are completed by parking garages). It is a shame but the ever changing, and more positive, outlook on Downtown could lead to things that make Downtown denser than it currently is.
Several factors that can and lead to infill and new construction are as follows...
- Abandoned buildings are brought back to life
- Public Safety
- There is demand
In St. Louis, we have multiple abandoned downtown buildings with plans to be brought back to life. Those with increased public safety have lead to the massive number of people moving into Downtown. There is demand overall, but the remaining abandoned structures must be dealt with first, and we are well on our way. As that demand grows, there is no doubt developers have plans to build new things. They don’t have to bug big or tall, but just significant.
What I mean by “significant” is that the projects add DENSITY. Multiple parking lots are wide and long enough to support a building of 5-10 floors comfortably. However, in some cases like on Laclede’s Landing, Prime development land is sacrificed for a ampitheater on the Riverfront which hold back on density and new developments. Elsewhere in Downtown, like at 17th and Locust, companies are tearing neighboring buildings down form employee parking lots. The latest example of this is Aetna demolishing the building at 17th and Locust for a parking lot. It is a shame that the city would allow the demolition of a historic structure for a private lot. But money ultimately talks.
Open space is a disease here in St. Louis. We have to much of it. Many owners are unwilling to sell their lots. Eminent domain can be put to use, but that would be an over stretch of power and could potentially lead to costly legal issues and cases against the city and said developer. We can’t let that happen in any form, so what do we do about the open space in this city, and in particular, Downtown? Well, we have to continue promoting City development and that the more developments are made, the more people that come which translates into more revenue to get more cops and community policing efforts on the ground to reduce crime to start the process back over. It’s complicated, but could work if all sectors work together.
A way for the city to make some extra money on new developments is to institute a maximum 75% tax abatement for 10 years like Kansas City. You can still get great developments like this development at Barney Allis Plaza in Kansas City (see photo above). Developers who are willing to invest in our City also must make sure they pay to help improve this city to get people to use their developments. Developers who ask for handouts are hurting this city by not contributing to the Tax Base for, sometimes, a full 10 years.
That 75% maximum tax abatement should be implemented across the city. More tax money the better because that way it will help our most runs down the neighborhoods get a good footing at redevelopment. This whole story is about making downtown a great entrance into our city, and then using the reduced maximum tax abatement to improve the entire city overall. Implementing this would allow our Downtown’s surrounding area’s to redevelopment themselves thus leading to us our problems being solved in the process. We can be a strong city again if we put our mind to it and go Progressive on things, fixing the maximum tax abatement is one of them. Taxing ourselves to prosperity doesn’t work but reducing other things across the board will benefit us greatly without the need to hike taxes via a ballot initiative.
But in the end, this is only a opinion so I don’t expect it to change much at all.
By. Chris Stritzel
Long before East St. Louis began to rot away and before the Coal and Manufacturing Industry left East St. Louis, it was a boom town. The population approached and topped off at 82,000 people in 1940 with estimates of the population skyrocketing to nearly 200,000. In the 1920s, Civic Leaders in East St. Louis wanted to give the City a skyline to show its "wealth" as growth seemed inevitable. Out of this $4 Million plan came the Majestic Theater, Murphy Building, Broadview Hotel, First Bank Building and the Spivey Building. The Spivey Building was named after Allen R. Spivey, the owner of the East St. Louis Journal (Newspaper) at the time. The Spivey Building would house the East St. Louis Journal and Printing room. The neighboring Journal Building was constructed in 1936 to be additional office space for a Newspaper that continued to grow.
The building was opened in 1929, just a few years before the Stock Market crash. At the time, Mr. Spivey himself saw lofty goals for East St. Louis and a Downtown that would forever grow. The building itself was situated in the best location in all of East St. Louis. It was close to a theater, shopping and everything East St. Louis had to offer at the time. The upper floors of the building was office space. The offices included lawyers, doctors and dentists and it remained that way to the building's closure in 1980. According to people whose doctors were in the building, "the lobby was nice and included some terra cotta accenting". "There would always be a man waiting outside the elevator to take you up since it was manually controlled". "There was a cigar cart located just outside the front door". "When you would walk in, the elevators would be to your left, but if you walk past them and turn right, you would be in the "Journal" offices".
According to sources who would like to remain unnamed, the last tenant to leave the building was a dentist office who moved to nearby Belleville. After the Spivey Building closed in 1980, it sat vacant while vandals removed the copper wiring, smashed windows, graffitied it up and squatted in there. It has also become a common place for Urban Explorers to explore. In recent years, developer have come and gone with their plans to restore the building. I the early 2000s, a developer by the name of Phil Cohn bought the building and planned to make it high end office space and street level retail. Several tenants were lined up to move in but Mr. Cohn was caught disposing of Asbestos the wrong way and caught in a corruption case which ended up having him thrown into jail. Since then, the building has remained a shell where pieces of the roof have fallen off and crashed to the ground causing nearby business owners to call for the Spivey Building's demolition.
Because of the calls for demolition, the Spivey building has been placed on the "critically endangered" list of buildings in the St. Louis area. It is at the top of the list. Last month, I posted a photo of Facebook that went viral, in some cases, which was practically an "in memoriam" for the building. After being seen by nearly 16,000 people. a developer came along and is continuing to contact the City of East St. Louis and St. Clair County Illinois to prevent the demolition. Scottie Porter, who owns Historic Restoration LLC of Birmingham, wants to save the building by securing it of vandals, adding new windows into it, cleaning up the façade, restoring the terra cotta accenting and holding it all in place so no more will fall off. While the exterior is being dealt with, the interior would be cleaned up and new elevators would be installed. Following this, the building would be marketed but as what remains a mystery.
No matter what happens, the Spivey Building will remain a symbol of the East St. Louis oft he past and one of the future, if it comes back to life. The Spivey is East St. Louis' icon like the Arch is to St. Louis.
The Spivey Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 2002.
By. Chris Stritzel
The unparalleled growth and redevelopment of the CORTEX-Midtown Region of St. Louis continues with this massive office development at Sarah and Clayton in CORTEX. Planned is a 4 floor office building connected to a larger 8 floor building of what appears to be residential. The site where this building and complex will go, was home to St. Louis Metallizing up until 5 years ago. Koman bought the property and began to clean it up for future development. The Jewel Box like building is designed by Forum Studion(Now BatesForum). It offers a shift from the normal historic restoration and curvy buildings in CORTEX to a more streamlined and angular design worthy of the innovation district. With 90,000 square feet of Class A office space, it would fulfill the need for more space in a district that heavily needs it. There will also be additional retail.
Due to this development not even being officially announced yet, there is no set project cost. Either way, it will be a significant addition to the neighborhood and further bring some new street scape to Sarah. This development also classifies as TOD (Transit Oriented Development) since the buildings are located a block South of the brand new CORTEX MetroLink Station. The only problem with that is BJC's Massive parking lot dividing the station from the location. However, a quick walk down Sarah in either direction brings you to wither Duncan or Manchester.
The location, where users of Interstate 64 can see the project, is a real plus. Overall, this development is in a good location to be seen by thousands of cars and people who pass by the site on a daily basis. What is interesting about this is that Koman has come in to build here rather than CORTEX building everything in their district. It shows outside investors wanting to build into the district that has taken a run down industrial part of the central corridor and made it new again.
The developer is Koman and the Property Management Firm who leases the office space is Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). The entire development should be ready by Late 2019. As for who the tenants will be for this building, it remains up in the air. At this point, I am merely going off of what the poster shows so it is up in the air until Koman responds to a message from me or the development appears in the Business Journal, Post Dispatch or NextSTL.
UPDATE: 5/29/18 at 9:47P.M.
NextSTL has gotten more information about the development and Greg Johnson wrote about it saying, "The project is the first phase of a three-stage development. Future phases include a luxury residential tower to the north and build to suit office building to the west, but those plans are very preliminary at this time. A plaza with public art will connect the tech and collaborative building with the project’s future residential component".
Most importantly here, the new details provide confirmation that a residential building will be coming to the development and a potential build to suit building. Also, Sarpy Street will be connected to Clayton Avenue for ease of access to the new development. With their story also comes some new renderings (which are featured above this update and below). For now, the project will be called "CORTEX K" according to NextSTL. CORTEX K will become a vital link in linking Sarah street in the Grove to CORTEX and then further North to the Sarah strip just North of Forest Park Avenue, because of this, I would expect other developments and road Improvements to come soon.
By. Chris Stritzel
For a while now, we have known that Greenstreet Development has been planning a hotel for their Armory development near SLU's "Prospect Yards" neighborhood. After seeing a rendering over the overall district which showed the hotel along Grand, this rendering offers us our first real look at what may be built there. The Hotel shown is a AC Hotel by Marriott and if built, would become the fourth in the St. Louis region under that flag (there is one planned in Clayton and tow planned in the City). The architecture firm chosen for this hotel is Trivers Associates which is odd since the overall firm has been Arcturis (they even designed the master plan for the project). But the hotel design does offer something existing buildings do not, a new street wall formation along Grand (even though it is pushed back from Grand).
The building will reach down to Scott Street so people exiting the MetroLink at Grand Station can just come up to the hotel via a backdoor. Also include a station level is a small retail space. At Grand, a drop off zone will be built. Underneath it all will be the hotel parking garage. The hotel itself will have 25 rooms per floor if this design carries through and because of its location, the views of Downtown St. Louis and Clayton will be spectacular. The views are so significant that the hotel even includes a Level 7 bar overlooking the City. Overall, the building from Scott (Floor LL3) to Bar Level (Floor 7) is 10 floors.
Meanwhile, this photo below is featured in a video from January 8th, 2018 showing the overall district with a high-rise on this site that IS NOT connected to Grand. As seen, the building is merely an idea or vision as current plans I have seen include the renovation of 501 Prospect, an existing building on site. Based on this look, the high-rise appears to have a modern industrial building look. Whether or not this vision gets built is up in the air but I would be happy with either or and actually prefer the high-rise if it were pushed up to Grand.
Status of the Current Armory Redevelopment
What is featured could technically be called "Phase 2" of the Armory District. So far, there are some changes such as removal of graffiti from the main building and the addition of a "Leasing" sign visible from 64/40. Either way, this project appears to be crawling forward slowly. I actually believe design kinks and financing are still trying to be worked out.
By. Chris Stritzel
After a Facebook post I wrote that was shared over 30 times and viewed by over 9000 people, a developer stepped in and will attempt to purchase the long vacant structure. The move comes as the City of East St. Louis and St. Clair County Illinois try to crack a deal to demolish the building. Demolishing the historic building would be like St. Louis City losing the Arch, it would be a loss of a icon that has graced the East St. Louis Skyline since 1927 and would join the Murphy Building as a vacant lot. This second chance at life could be the development East St. Louis needs to make it more viable for developers. A solid investment like this could take the icon to East St. Louis’ decay to its rebirth.
The idea will be presented to the Demolition Board of East St. Louis and St. Clair County. The current owner is Whitney Strohmeyer who will propose the idea in the hope it gets the blessing to change hands. The developer owns the Bresee Building in Danville Illinois and has big plans for it, but it is caught up in court as the city wants it to be demolished. He believes he has a better chance at getting this project done with the support of the local government and people of East St. Louis. According to Scottie Porter of Historic Restoration LLC of Birmingham, the plus of the Spivey Building is that it is “gutted completely and mostly free of asbestos”.
Mr. Porter says, “I am an optimist, and a preservationist, so it never looks bad enough to me to demolish… but I just didn't see a great deal of concern… I think you could go about in phases; critical needs first, I would bring in a building envelope specialist first, evaluate the roof, and areas where there has been failure of surface material on the exterior, make those repairs, or secure the areas with temporary measures; address points of entry and secure those to prevent trespassers, look at temporary window closures and then begin a thorough restoration analysis and begin planning; the fact that it is gutted is actually a plus; just need environmental testing to make certain all asbestos is out”.
This could be a more than 2 year project considering Mr. Porter’s firm is a non profit so money is harder to get but he believes this building will be a breeze to secure funding. I went down to East St. Louis and asked a older man what he thought about the idea and he responded, “If this comes back to life, then I can see others coming back”. He then went into a backstory about how Downtown used to be vibrant and why he still lives in East St. Louis. “It is the City Champions, who wouldn't want to live in a city with that motto”. That got me thinking that if East St. Louis is the City of Champions, this building’s restoration would be a huge win and become a icon for the City’s restoration.
Scottie hopes to secure the building under his wings in the coming weeks following approval by the Demolition Board and County Government. There have been no estimates at construction costs at this time.
What do you all think about this project? Could it be a win for East St. Louis and kick start other developments or will it be a waste of money?
By. Chris Stritzel
As was rumored since Halloween 2017, the Scottrade Center would be renamed, but for the longest time, we didn’t know what it could become. Scottrade merged with TD Ameritrade so the rumors flew. On Halloween, a photo was posted to a Reddit showing the screen inside of the Scottrade Center with a rendering stating it was “Enterprise Arena”. Now on May 20th, nearly 7 months later and at a 10AM event, the Scottrade Center officially has a new name. That name is the Enterprise Center (Let the Star Trek connections and memes fly). A name that really wasn’t in contention but signifies a move for Clayton based Enterprise who appears to be looking more and more into the City of St. Louis.
Enterprise has supposedly been looking into the vacant AT&T Center at 909 Chestnut to move some of their operations there from Clayton or around the region. Spectrum has also been looking at it supposedly, but both companies and the owner of the building have not said anything. CRG was looking at buying the building and they may have done so thus ramping up rumors on this end of the Spectrum. But back to the renaming of the Arena. The new Enterprise Center has been named 3 things in the past (Kiel Center, Savvis Center and Scottrade Center).
Planned for the Enterprise Center are numerous upgrades that started under the Scottrade Center name. The interior corridors are expected to get a revamp, a new sign will be placed on the 14th Street side and overall, a new green look will make the Enterprise Center looks new. All of the improvements are supposed to be completed by the 2019-2020 Blues season. The new signage should be up by the end of this summer and with the new name change, locals will have to adapt (even though many still call it the Kiel Center).
Read the Press Release by clicking the button below.
By. Chris Stritzel
RiseSTL Community Development is planning a historic restoration of the old Granite City YMCA Building in the heart of their Downtown into 96 affordable loft apartments. The address is 2001 Edison Avenue. This comes as US Steel announced that they will add more jobs and basically reopen the entire Granite City Steel factory, a big win for the town and region. And while the apartments may not have been planned as part of the Steel Factory reopening, they are planned as Downtown Granite City is getting some new things such as shops and cafes. While the development there is slower than most cities in the area, it is a start, so this will be welcomed.
This has been in the works since 2016 when a document was filed with the city of Granite City talking about the redevelopment project. At the time, the building was to include 40 to 45 apartments, retail and studio space. According to the new plans, the number of apartments have more than doubled and retail is still in the mix. But the square footage of Units have also collapsed if that's the case. I figured a typical floor plate (with stairs, an elevator and hallways) is roughly 14,000 square feet. If the basement isn’t used for apartments, each unit will be 437.5 square feet BEFORE the thought of anything other than a studio or one bedroom comes into view.
While the plans are murky right now, a swimming pool in the basement could be filled in for more units thus upping the square footage per unit to 583 square feet before anything other than a studio/1 bedroom is considered. The interior will need mold, asbestos and lead paint removed from it to make it livable. The source also stated that the former plan included demolishing neighboring buildings for a Parking Garage for the building, but I don't see that happening since a majority of the block this is on is a Parking Lot. There could also be more apartments built onto the building as part of the suppose parking garage part of the project but even that is up in the air.
I have contacted RiseSTL to see what they will say about this project. I will update this story when they respond. In the meantime, the only true source we have is a document from the government of Granite City from 2016 about the original proposal. Not much besides the ambitions. It is linked in the button below. The gallery below that shows the current state of the building from a Illinois Document.
One reader said that back in the mid 1900s, this YMCA used to be a popular spot for “Teen Town”. Dances and parties would be held here almost every week for teens. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
By. Chris Stritzel
If you have visited Laclede's Landing recently, you may have seen construction going on at 701 North 1st in the district. That old building (from the late 1800s) will be home to 49 apartments pf which, there are 13 floor layouts spread out on floors 3-6. Units will range in size from 650 square feet to 1100 square feet and rent starts at $900 a month to $1450 a month depending on what layout, floor and view you choose. So, a two bedroom apartment on the top floor (6) with a view of the Arch would be the most expensive. There will be 23 Two Bedroom, One Bathroom Units and 26 One Bedroom, One Bathroom Units. All residents will be able to enjoy great views from their rooftop deck of the city skyline and enjoy secured parking in the building itself.
The Peper building it self will be a true mixed use building. Once slowly office space, the building will be made up as follows...
1. Floor 1: Retail and Lobbies (one for residents and one for the office space)
2. Floor 2: Office Space. Abstrakt Marketing will be expanding into this building from the neighboring building. A big plus for Laclede’s Landing.
3. Floors 3-6: Residential Units
A cool feature that the Peper Lofts will include are very high ceilings. Depending on what unit you get and what floor, the ceilings can range in height from 10.5 to 18 feet! So those windows that will be in the units will offer even better views.
As for other information, quoted from St. Louis Construction News and Review (stlouiscnr.com), "Historic timbers throughout the building are being preserved and will be a focal point in the individual units themselves as well as in the common areas. Open concept floor plans will facilitate easy flow within the apartments and ensure maximum exposure to the premium views. Residents will appreciate custom concrete floors, designer cabinetry, Quartz countertops, high end appliance packages, remote thermostatic controls and the in-unit washer and drier."
This Peper Lofts Building is the first Building in Laclede’s Landing to be residential. It’s a great addition to the district and I could see more residential projects pop up within the district potentially removing the surface parking and vacant lots. The first model units should be open by July 3rd while the building will be open to residents in the fall.
To learn more about the Peper Lofts, view their website by clicking the button below. NOTE: Full website not launched yet.
By. Chris Stritzel
WUMCRC Tweeted out yesterday about a "great new development for Sarah Street". Today, those plans were made public on Park Central Development's website. The plans shown include a complex of 13 contemporary townhomes at 4101 West Pine and 215 North Sarah whose sizes will range from 1900 square feet to 2800 square feet and will priced between the high $500’s up to the low $900’s. A pretty penny but a solid investment into a popular area in the Midtown-Central West End-Grove Area of the City. The suite currently is a vacant lot, but four parcels will be merged together one single parcel that is 53,000 square feet, of that, only 36,670 square feet is sellable. Each unit will have a attached two or three car garage which will be accessed from the alley.
Also featured here in this project will be a dog park and "eco drive" to get the parking garages of the individual town homes. And the best part of it all, no tax abatements! One of the few projects I can think of that doesn't ask for a tax abatement. All in all, the project will cost nearly $7 Million and add to the ever changing Sarah Street corridor between Lindell and Manchester. This Trivers designed building will surely add character to the street.
Construction could begin this June and wrap up in late (October-December) 2019.
UPDATE: 5/16/18 @ 6P.M.
New renderings of this development were found on Trivers (the Architecture firm's) website. They show the alley way and the building from different views (One on West Pine the other on Sarah Street). Click on any of the images to see a larger version.