By. Chris Stritzel
After the Post-Dispatch and KTVI/KPLR reported that Indianapolis based Pearl Companies will have their 5 floor, 100 unit apartment building completed by the end of the year, I raised my doubts for many reasons. Many are obvious while others are simply speculation at this point in time. Let me list my 3 main doubts about the project before I get to the 3 main hopes that this project could get done in 10 months or less. Let’s get started...
1. Current State of the Site: I checked on the vacant site at 6300 Clayton Avenue Sunday Night. All that was on site was a Excavator and a Small Bulldozer. Nothing else. The lot’s gates were open and about 12 cars were parked there. However, an advertisement that advertises the project’s website was on the fence so that is a good sign.
2. Timeline: If this complicated project can get done in 10 months, I’ll be surprised. The fact that an underground garage has to be built for the residents and even for the general public is what really raises my doubts. You have to dig way underground, put your supports into the ground and then build up which could take anywhere from 3-4 months on a normal project AT BEST. That on top of the grocery store and 4 floors of apartments is going to be a squeeze to get done. It just seems impossible considering that the streets around the site are smaller than most and that there is no way that a entire street would have to be closed for construction.
3. General Stall: This was stalled for sometime and is just now starting. It will happen, but just at a slower pace. There may be some kinks in the construction process that will slow it down from being stalled for a while. We will ultimately see though.
1. Construction: If the city can work with the contractors on the project to fast track this, we can see it done in 10 months. While one piece of construction is underway, another permit should be applied for and fast tracked so that construction doesn’t have to stop at all. Even a day of construction being stopped could derail the hope of this opening by the end of the year.
2. 24/7 Construction: It is HIGHLY unlikely that this tactic will be used when digging a hole for parking and supports along with the neighbors, but it is an action that could be taken to fast track construction. Say if this were to be a 20 month long project typically, 24/7 means it could be a 10 months long project. I don’t see them doing this for the parking but for the residential framing and construction, I could see this being done.
3. High Labor Demands: Maybe the contractors and Pearl Companies already have this one planned, but I doubt it. Have many more excavators and bulldozers and what not to fast track construction along with more human labor. More workers = more things being done at once.
In the end, I am placing bets on residents moving in by Mid-Spring 2019. The Fields Foods market at the base could open by January 2019, but even then, it is cutting it close. I don’t know what will happen here, but we will see. Either way, this project will be significant for Dogtown as it has the possibility of adding 220 residents to the neighborhood if all units are full to their maximum potential. So this project will be a big win for Dogtown. It is also a $25 Million investment into the City by an lout of state developer which is an even bigger win.
Let me know in the comments if you think that HIBERNIA could be done in 10 months. And if so, how?
By. Chris Stritzel
Construction is now officially underway on Ballpark Village Phase 2 and so far, it has been moving slower than expected. The weather is partially to blame. But after the PWC and One Life Fitness announcement back at the groundbreaking event in December, we haven't heard anything else on who the other tenants will be. Nothing on restaurants or stores. So who will they be? We got some answers after digging through more than 500 pages of planning and blue print documents (it wasn’t enjoyable but was interesting). Lets get started with the Leasing Center for One Cardinal Way.
Ever since Ballpark Village Phase 1 opened, the vacant retail space on the Northwest Corner of the building has stuck out. Now, with Building Permits filed with the City and plans to go along with it, we can confirm that this will be where the One Cardinal Way Leasing Center will go. The nearly $150,000 mini project should be underway soon as the building permit was issued on February 14th for the alteration. Model Units are places where prospective renters go to view how the unit will be laid out. We will be sure to show you it once it opens!
Now to some retail announcements.
First of all, the Americana is not a real business. It is just a place holder for whatever future business goes in on that corner of the building (see map below). The rendering featured above shows the first tenant of the retail portion of the building. It is Shake Shack*. It has been rumored that Shake Shack would move in here, and now it is confirmed. The signature logo is found in this image and the Shack will occupy a small roughly 1500 square foot space in the building and will be right next door to the Office Tower entrance.
In case you have been living under a rock, this is Shake Shack's second location in St. Louis and will be third in Missouri once the one in Kansas City's Country Club Plaza opens up sometime in the fall. Next up on the retail list is a place known as Power and Life Yoga*. This Yoga Studio will sit at the base of the One Cardinal Way tower in the Northwest Corner. It is a small 1,435 Square foot location. There are other Power and Life's in the Country with the closest one being in Kansas City. That combined with the Onelife Fitness Facility will make this place ground zero for athletic junkies.
No word yet on whether the Wahlburger Place* will open up in Ballpark Village after shake Shack appears to be moving in.
The Pennant Building
It appears the Office Building will no longer be called 9 Cardinal Way but will instead be called "The Pennant Building". How fitting for it being next door to Busch Stadium. Plans reveal that the Building will now be 11 floors instead of the original 10 that was widely talked about. The 4 floors of office space will sit on top of a 7 Floor Parking Garage that will serve the hotel, offices and the remainder of the district. A $13.5 Million Permit was applied for which would allow the building to begin rising from the ground. It will be built with metal beams instead of the concrete used on the Residential Tower.
The building will stand roughly 174 feet** above the district.
Found in the document is a cool sculpture of a baseball which will sit on top of a portion of the hotel so pool guests and people in the Busch Stadium 2 Plaza can see it. It will be made of Steel and have red neon lighting for effect. Also, the mural facing into the courtyard will be past Cardinals Players. The Gallery below allows you to view what I am talking about.
Below is the site plan map showing all of the available retail spaces. Please note that Shake Shack will be occupying the Retail Space directly to the left of "The Pennant Building" wording and that Power and Life Yoga will occupy the space to the Left of the "One Cardinal Way" wording. The Leasing Center will be to the left of the Fudgery. So far, Cardinal Way retail spaces are filling up with only three left to fill. The entire project still has 4 spaces to fill that range in size. Some shopping would do wonders down here besides restaurants.
By the way, the Market may not be a grocery store market or convenience store, it may be a "Eatery" kind of place*** like the one at the Metropolitan Building.
All designs for this block are by HKS architects. That is who the documents are by. They are accessible if you know the way on public city websites.
Ballpark Village Project Updates.
Click the button below to go to the project update page!
*-Both announcements are not yet official until the Cordish Companies and the Cardinals say so. These were merely pulled from documents submitted to the City.
**- Based on information given in the document TO THE TOP OF THE MECHANICAL SCREEN. Actual Height around 164 feet.
***- Not yet confirmed but we were told by someone close to the project.
By. Chris Stritzel
Whether you have ever had the experience of living there, driving through here, patronizing the numerous businesses or even participating in Mardi Gras, Soulard is undoubtable St. Louis' best preserved historic district. Numerous houses line the streets that give it a vibe unlike any other. No other neighborhood can even compare to the vibe that Soulard lets off. If the wind blows from the South, the Brewery (Anheuser Busch), can be smelled. Down on the streets, numerous shops and restaurants along with bars, provide the neighborhood with plenty of meeting places.
Unlike New Orleans's French Quarter and Bourbon Street, Soulard isn't one big Tourist Trap, it is a neighborhood. The only real big touristy thing within the neighborhood is the historic Farmers Market on 7th Boulevard. Even then, there are far more locals at the market than tourists. The Farmer's Market really allows Residents to get fresh produce and products directly from farmers rather than going to large chain grocery stores and spending more money. It is also a history trip because of how old the market is. It was originally built in 1841 but rebuilt in 1929. It remains an anchor to this historic neighborhood to this day.
The houses were mostly built in the late 1800s. Mostly from 1885 to 1895, but there are some houses here from as far back as the 1850s. They are kept up really well for their age and prospective residents can't get enough of them. If you want a house or apartment in this neighborhood, better look and choose fast because just as fast as the listings show up, they are gone. That then requires the construction of new buildings and historic restoration to solve the residential shortage ion the neighborhood.
At Gravois and Russell, a 5 floor apartment building is under construction to serve a large influx in residents to the neighborhood. Along 7th Boulevard, at Victor Street, another 5 floor apartment building is getting ready to rise to, once again, serve the large influx of residents into the neighborhood. Other smaller infill projects have been proposed such as historic restoration and ground-up new construction. At 1001 Russell, a proposed 21 unit apartment and retail building is ready to rise. All three of these developments will add 275 Apartments to the historic district and possibly up the neighborhood's population by about 600.
The dense population of Soulard, before the additional residents from the three above construction projects, is 3,440 people in 389 square acres. That is 6000+/- per square mile. Very dense for this neighborhood. However, the density coupled with street parking makes Mardi Gras VERY hectic. People have to get parking passes and park far away from their homes or apartments during this one day event. As over 100,000 people crowd into Soulard for the parade and music, the neighborhood descends into chaos. Trash lines the street and hopeless drunks wonder the streets while being flashed by boobs from drunk women and large men.
But that is the fun of Mardi Gras! You never now what you are going to see! After the fun ends, the City and Mardi Gras organization stages an overnight cleanup of trash and what not in the streets to where, by Sunday morning, it looks like nothing happened (besides the tents and ice piles). Mardi Gras in St. Louis is the second largest Mardi Gras in the country behind New Orleans and is the second largest event in St. Louis City in a year. The First is Fair St. Louis and Third is St. Patrick's Day and Fourth is Oktoberfest (which is celebrated in Soulard).
By living in Soulard, you immediately become part of the hottest real estate market in the City! How about that! But you also become part of the history of Soulard by living in some of the oldest houses in the City. In the end, you can be assured that everything you want is in Soulard. Even as it changes, it will not lose its charm that makes Soulard, Soulard.
By. Chris Stritzel
After a gaff where I had to retract the story on the hotel project in Downtown Clayton, it has now been officially revealed, with a different design. The 12 floor AC Hotel hotel will be built where the former Clayton Police HQ stands today. The design is quite interesting as it blends Brown and White with numerous glass pieces forming a unique design that we are starting to see more often in the region. But that is beside the point.
As we know, the AC Hotel will be situated on South Central in Clayton and will flow through to South Meramec on the opposite side. At 200 rooms, it will add a ton of space for visitors to come to Downtown Clayton. This means it will also add to the streetscape, there will be more people in Downtown Clayton to patronize the cafes and small shops that dot Clayton. If that is not enough, visitors can literally walk a block to the MetroLink station and board train that connects to numerous destinations such as Downtown, Central West End, Brentwood-Richmond Heights and the Airport. The system also connects to transit centers where people can take the bus thus getting to other destinations in the area.
Basically, the local economy will benefit some. Clayton itself will benefit a lot from the project. So it is a win-win situation!
The Developer of the project is Homebase, who is based in Montana. Homebase is also getting ready to build a 7 floor, 145 room AC Hotel by Marriott in Central West End. The contractor is Keeley Co. The hotel branding chosen for this project is a AC Hotel, as I stated earlier. Both are designed by Denver based Jonathan, Nathan Strohe (JNS). There is another AC Hotel in the works at the Jefferson Arms in Downtown. This goes to show that Marriott is expanding in St. Louis. Why is that important? Well, there are 13 Marriott Hotels that are either completed, proposed or currently under construction in the region at this time. This makes that number 14.
The local hotel market is also going strong with numerous other brands opening up in the region such as the regions first Aloft Hotel on Forest Park Avenue in Cortex and regions first Tru by Hilton out at the Streets of St. Charles. Furthermore, a Hotel Indigo is under construction in Downtown and an EVEN by Intercontinental is in the works for the Jefferson Connector Project at Locust and Jefferson. Local chain Drury has also opened a couple new locations. And of course, Loews is going to open up shop in 2019 at Ballpark Village. This proves there is strong demand for hotels in the area.
Back on track, when this AC Hotel is hopefully approved and gets underway late this year and wraps up sometime in 2020, it is safe to say that our market will have gone through one of the most significant building booms in a long time. Significant as in for better or for worse. Cost of this project? $45 Million. That is a solid investment for the region and adds to the growing Downtown Clayton area that is seeing multiple proposals and construction projects.
There will also be a rooftop bar in this project.
Additional Perspectives and Floor Plates
By. Chris Stritzel
Yesterday, news was broken on the announcement that Garcia Properties purchased the old Grandview Arcade (Melba Theater) Building at 3600 South Grand. They have recently completed the restoration of the Gratiot School in Dogtown and their headquarters on Kingshighway. The both look really good and now they are going to tackle this beauty. It has been abandoned since the early to mid 1990s and the 25+ years of abandonment have taken its toll. Vandalism, boarded up windows and merferds line the building's street level while upstairs, broken windows and dirty terra cotta and brick are prominent. It just looks depressing and looks like something the city would demolish if they could. Thank god they are not.
Now, several market rate apartments will fill the building as well as co-working space in the building's former shopping arcade on the first floor. The old Melba Theater was torn town at some point in time and has since been replaced with a Apartment building. There will also be some co-living/work space on the first floor as well. Above, on floors 2 and 3, 12 there will be apartments that are expected to go for top dollar rent. That is a given.
The plan and desire is to get underway on this project by late this year and open up in the Summer of 2019. An ambitious time frame considering the way the building looks, unless the interior of the building is not in bad shape (which the Post-Dispatch article says that the old railing and intricate work is still there). Furthermore, the building was saved by a newer roof several years ago. All in all, it is a gem that can bring South grand's success further Southward and hopefully bring back the Gravois corridor as well.
The project is expected to cost around $5 Million. Garcia is expected to go for a Tax Abatement and use Historic Tax Credits because of how it is a historic building and is in a historic district.
Below are two other views of the building: one further South on Grand from the Southside National Bank Building and one from Miami Street on the Northern end.
By. Chris Stritzel
When I was younger, and my fascination with buildings started to soar, I've had an interest in East St. Louis' Spivey Building. It is something about that 13 floor tower rising above the hell hole that is East St. Louis that gives me hope for the future of the building and the City. Today, I found a video of two guys exploring the abandoned building. The video includes the history of the building and how the future of the building is uncertain. The urban exploration park really opened my eyes to how bad the building really is. First of all, it is gutted and windowless with vandalism throughout the structure. Second, leaking water poses a threat for collapse and Third, the crumbling terra cotta on the exterior is a symbol of how East St. Louis has fallen from a major industrial town to the corrupt ruins that it is.
I want to see this come back to life but how is the question. Lets start out with the obvious, it is East St. Louis' landmark. Just as the Arch is St. Louis City's landmark, the Spivey Building is East St. Louis'. Without it, East St. Louis would be unrecognizable unless the Majestic theater stays intact. If this building bites the dust like the Murphy Building did in 2013, there will be no hope for East St. Louis. Second of all, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Spivey Is on there because of how it was built at a time when the East St. Louis economy was roaring and the population as projected to reach 200,000. It is also the city's only skyscraper.
Finally, it is the tallest building South of Springfield. By losing the Spivey Building, Southern Illinois will lose a landmark in itself. We cannot let this happen. As I said earlier, I want to see this building come back to life. How is the question and the answer is a multi phase plan that would do wonders for East St. Louis and hopefully make it a destination. The Casino Queen is not enough, there needs to be more. Below is a map showing the multiple phases of how I would like to rebuild East St. Louis.
The entire 7 Phase project, based on my own research, would cost roughly $350 Million (and that is before Historic Tax Credits come into the picture). For the sake of simplicity, Phases 2-7 will require the restoration and rehab of existing structures as well as potential infill projects ranging from residential to retail. At least two parking garages will be built for the public and two additional ones built for a hotel and residential building. For Phase 1, which includes the Spivey Building and Majestic Theater, the entire red section's buildings would first be stabilized and cleaned up. The demolition of smaller structures would also take place as well as preparation for future structures. On Collinsville avenue, the Majestic Theater's façade and interior would be stabilized and cleaned up. Trees would be removed as well to complete the preparation of the theater building. Also, a new Murphy Building and Annex will rise along with a Parking Garage, but that is not what this story is about, this is about the Spivey Building.
At a projected $25 Million, the Spivey Building project would take the crumbling structure and make it new again. First, the exterior of the building would be cleaned. All graffiti would be cleansed away, falling bricks and crumbed sections would be rebuilt and new windows would be installed. That would cost about $10 Million because of how bad of a condition the building is in. Then, the interior is tackled. The building would become mixed use. Here is the directory list...
Floor 1: Street level retail.
Floors 2-5: Class A Office Space.
Floor 6: Co-Working Office Space.
Floors 7-12: Residential. Only the finest residences. Hardwood floors, beautiful views of St. Louis and the best appliances on the market would be featured here. 20 units will be in this building and most likely will be studio apartments with only two being a one bedroom plus apartment. The one bedroom plus apartments would be on Floor 12 and will have three windows facing St. Louis each compared to two for the other 18.
Because of how it is mixed use, the lobby could not be locked out and is to narrow for a security desk, so instead, the elevators would have key card lock outs for the residential and office floors with the exception of the co-working floor. The 13th floor would be locked when the business is closed. Next door, the Journal building (which is connected to the Spivey Building) would restored and turned into a restaurant. The remainder of the lot to the MetroLink tracks would be a 6 floor hotel. The structures mentioned her would be connected tot he parking garage that I hinted at earlier.
I want to see this happen but I sadly believe that the Spivey Building will bite the dust before 2020. Even if my whole vision of the entire block and Downtown East St. Louis does not become a reality, this would be great to see and possibly renew interest in East St. Louis. The building is gutted as seen in the video, so it shouldn't be to hard to bring back to life. The infrastructure in the building is there, it just needs to be utilized as well. The hardest part will be making it attractive to bring people to East St. Louis.
This needs to be preserved and I hope to see a developer step up and unveil plans for East St. Louis. The renaissance across the river could bleed over into St. Louis, but will it before this bites the dust?
Let me know in the comments what you think about my plans. Are they doable or not?
A letter to the newly reformed XFL organization.
To Vince McMahon and the XFL Organization,
Greetings from, what we believe is, America's Sports Capital. Home to the 11 time World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals and the forever improving Blues Hockey Team AND the home city where NFL's Rams won their only Super Bowl title. This is St. Louis, a great Sports town. We here love our Baseball and Hockey teams but we also love our hometown Soccer Teams (STLFC and the St. Louis Ambush) and we have a love for our high school sports in the region especially football. Football in St. Louis is a tricky subject as some of us are still angry at Stan Kroenke's decision to take the Rams and move them to Los Angeles, but we do believe that the time has come for a new Team to return to St. Louis.
St. Louis is changing with a renaissance that is changing our national image and streetscape. Anything you can image is being done here whether that is innovation, historical preservation and overall civic pride, it is taking place here. At the heart of civic pride lies our bonding asset that everyone can agree on, the Sports world. Missing from that asset is a major league football team. Even though it may not have seemed like it, we loved our Rams and the absence of them has left us with a 67,000 seat Stadium in the heart of Downtown only being used for the occasional concert or convention. The Dome at the Americas Center (formerly the Edward Jones Dome) was built for Football and is ready to go if the XFL decides to make St. Louis a host City.
The Potential of an XFL team in St. Louis is amazing. The benefits can be reaped by the organization nd the City. For the organization, a great team means great profits and in St. Louis, many of us are willing to give Football another try which means that tons of people will buy tickets and merchandise to support the new hometown team. Furthermore, a reputation could grow from our City and spread thus making other cities potential XFL expansion cities. For the city, tax revenue will go up and there will be more visitors downtown on game days which will help our downtown restaurants and stores and truly help grow the overall economy.
Now, we may be dreaming big here but in St Louis, you can dream big. There is nothing holding us back as we slowly build a reputation on innovation and pride. We are always changing and an inclusion of a new Football team to the city would be one of the crowning achievements of this particular renaissance. We understand that you are going for 8 teams at launch, but please, consider us. We are America's Sports Capital and it would be an honor to be a host city for the newly reformed XFL. Football has a fan base here, it just needs to be tapped and unleashed. If anything, St. Louis could be the XFL's largest market.
So what do you say XFL and Vince McMahon? Are you ready to meet us in St. Louis?
On behalf of all of the Football and XFL fans in St. Louis,
Chris Stritzel (Owner of this website)
By. Chris Stritzel
Today, news was broken on the City Foundry Project, but in a good way. The announcements made begin to make the City Foundry development ;look more significant and exciting than before. That is a good thing. Today, tenants such as the Alamo Draft House Cinema and Punch Bowl Social among others were announced for the major development marking a milestone in the Midtown region's fast paced renaissance. The announcements come at a time when the City of St. Louis is beginning to pick up on retail and entertainment as well as new dining options. This city Foundry development adds to all of these categories and to another that we haven't seen much of, Office Space.
Lets overview some of these announcements today and then we will go over some of these numbers.
It has been rumored for sometime that Alamo would be having a location in the development ever since a Rendering was posted a few months ago showing what appeared to be a watered down version of their logos on a building. Today, that rumor was confirmed and Alamo will have a 10 theater Drafthouse cinema in St. Louis. The first in the City and second in Missouri. The theater specializes in a dining concept that other theaters in the region are introducing and has a full scale bar within their cinema.
The cinema will join just a handful of Movie Theaters in the City. There are only four others. Those are...
1. Chase Park Plaza Cinema
2. The Moohlah Theater
3. MX Movies
4. The Hi-Pointe Theater
Punch Bowl Social
With just 10 locations nationwide, and 16 by next year, this concept is a rare one and we should be happy to be getting a Punch Bowl Social here. This will be located at the Eastern end of the development near Spring Avenue and will hopefully act as a link to the planned Armory Project just South across Interstate 64. That and the Foundry project are to be connected by a bridge even though they are being developed by separate entities. This place will be one where you can Eat, Drink and listen to Live Entertainment. Basically, it is the Fox Sports Midwest Live of Midtown. The design of the Punch Bowl is also supposed to mimic the city that it is in. In this case, the design should include Baseball, Architecture and Anheuser Busch elements in the development.
This 26,000 square foot anchor to the development will hopefully become the money maker and entertainment destination that Midtown needs. We will see in 2019 when it opens if it becomes a hotspot.
A concept from Tulsa, Oklahoma, this German themed beer hall and restaurant will greet visitors to the Food Hall in a 3 level, 13,000 square foot space. On the first floor, a typical beer hall atmosphere. on floor tom a restaurant over looking the Food Hall and on the 3rd Floor, a rooftop patio that offers views of the development and the midtown skyline. It will have German themed food and will be a great anchor to the Food Hall portion of the project (which we get to next).
The Food Hall @ City Foundry St. Louis
So far, 8 tenants (out of 15) have been announced to occupy the Food Hall in the current factory building. Windows will let natural light in and existing beams and cranes will be painted and incorporated into the design to keep the industrial feel alive. For those of you who don't know what a Food Hall is, it is similar to a Food Court at a mall but has higher quality food and is a great meeting place. Below, we have the name of the tenant and a short summary of what they are, each one is unique and local.
1. Clementine's Naughty and Nice Creamery- With a location in Webster Groves, this local creamery is making its mark with high quality ice cream that is sure to please anyone who tastes it. This is a great tenant to have in the project
2. The Whitebox- Basically, it will be a smaller version of the Whitebox Restaurant in Clayton and will offer soups, salads and more that are all fresh. The official name has yet to be chosen or announced.
3. Natalie's Cakes and More- Just as the name sounds, this is a Cake/Desert place. There are two other locations in St. Louis and it's first one is in Ferguson.
4. Sumax- This is a Middle Eastern themed stand that will have falafels, lamb and hummus among other things. This will add an international flavor to the lineup.
5. Essentially Tacos- If you live near Hampton Avenue on St. Louis' Southside, and drive on it, you may have seen the Essentially Fries Food Truck and Edibles and Essentials near Salt+Smoke BBQ, this is another one of those businesses but this one is for one thing, Mexican Food. This includes Tacos and "Fun" Drinks.
6. Hari Manok- This is Filipino joint that will include Filipino themed food and will be the 3rd International Flavor joint at the Food Hall. Also, it will be the only location anywhere, for now, and is owned by individuals who own a business in the Grove along the Manchester Strip.
7. Juice Box Central- You can get freshly made juices and smoothies made here to quench your thirst and, if you want to, have some alcohol added to them to make your drinks strong, but enjoyable.
8. Lost and Found- A Burger and Pizza joint will be opening here and will be owned by the same guy who owns the Juice Box place. There will be fresh cut fries and appetizers as well as local beers and wine to add to experience.
9-15. Vacant (for now)
One Tag can describe these places... #DineLocal
The remainder of the development will include Retail and the numbers coming out of the retail portion re promising. 85% of available retail space has been leased (and that does not include the tenants announced above)! While rumors have been swirling that retailers such as Apple, Patagonia and Nike will move in, others have been squashed. Most notably, Zara said that they will not have a location at the City Foundry. Personably, I also believe that Apple and Nike can find better luck at Ballpark Village (and may). The 85% number though comes at a surprise when we look at how shopping centers have done in the City. The St. Louis Centre and St. Louis Union Station have showed us what can happen to shopping in the city, but this could be different.
The City Foundry is located near St. Louis University and is near the growing Cortex Innovation District that has fueled numerous developments (most notably is IKEA). The Project is also located just up Vandeventer from the Grove. All of the areas around the Project have received a large boom in Residential and so the demand for retail is very high which leads to the 85% number that has been revealed. I have no doubt that this project will reach 100% occupancy by time it opens in a year.
This is the oddity of this development, Office Space. St. Louis City is currently over built in Office Space (if you put Downtown into the image). In the Central West End-Midtown Region, Office Space is very rare to come by especially since this area becomes our new "Downtown". So the Lawrence Group, who is developing this project, has stated they will build over 100,000 square feet of Office Space at the Foundry project. Most notably, the Foundry development has a 13 floor Office Building situated at the Western end of the site (it can be seen in the rendering above and in the first rendering). The tower will join a smaller 5 Floor Office Building (which at this time will be Creative Office Space). The tower will presumably be Class A office space.
The office tower will sit on top of a Parking Garage so that views from the Offices are good and so no one has to look out their window to see a dirty interstate. The Office Tower will also become the defining characteristic of the development and mark the location of where City Shopping returned. Basically a very large marquee that is needed. The Lawrence Group is currently lining up financing for Phase 2 (which will build these two structures) and will add more retail to the development, but not much. This portion on the project should be completed by 2020 or 2021.
Who knows, maybe one day Residential will return to the site, but it is unlikely.
The Area Around the City Foundry
Cortex is to the West of the development. Cortex will hold Microsoft and currently holds Du Pont/. It is our innovation district. A Aloft Hotel is supposed to begin construction there soon along with a Parking Garage for the district. Furthermore, plans are supposed to be announced later this year that have more office space and a Residential component thus making the Cortex District a true neighborhood. To the North of the City Foundry is the Grand Center neighborhood. Most notably, a new Westin (Element Hotel) will rise directly across Forest Park Parkway from the City Foundry. To the west of the Hotel is the recently opened "Standard Apartments".
To the South down Vandeventer, lies the Grove and the Manchester Strip which is growing at a very fast pace. Currently, a Apartment project known as "Chroma" is rising and nearing completion and will include Retail Space, which is expected to be a grocery store. Furthermore, a 7 Floor mixed sue building will rise just next door to Chroma and will bring more Office Space, Parking and Apartments as well as Retail to the Grove. Adams Grove is also under construction which involves the demolition of dilapidated houses for new, modern houses. By time The City Foundry is competed in 2021, the Grove and Midtown areas will be among the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city.
But success is not determined by words online, it is defined by how everything works out and if this renaissance holds out, greatness will come.
Click on one of the images to see them better.
Click any of the buttons below to see City Foundry's, Alamo Drafthouse's, Punch Bowl's and Fassler Hall's websites.
By. Chris Stritzel
Today, we were punched in the gut when we learned that Amazon would not put us into the top 20 Cities for their second Headquarters. The retail giant just didn't see our potential, or did they. The plans were vague in many ways but offered a vision for what our region COULD look like without Amazon, especially the Downtown/River area. This post is meant to praise certain aspects of the plan, try to incorporate the plan into our it as is and criticize the plan for the vagueness of the proposal to Amazon. That is where we start, with the vagueness of the proposal.
The proposal offered an ungodly vison for Amazon to where the plans just seemed to big to work out. 50,000 employees would have been working in the buildings but the plan looks like it could hold well over 100,000. Soaring towers and districts made specifically for Amazon seems like we would have a large load of abandoned space even if Amazon fills a majority of the buildings. $5 Billion also seems to cheap for a project that would greatly change the way Downtown and East St. Louis looks and feels. Even though Amazon could have played piece meal with it and chosen other aspects to build or include ion their campus, it just seemed sloppy and thrown together without consideration. The plans looks like more of a "Greater Downtown Development Plan" rather than a proposal for a major company's second Headquarters.
Furthermore, the North Riverfront plan was just a supped up version of the plan unveiled by Clayco and Great Rivers Greenway a couple of years ago (we will talk about this later). The usage of a current plan is good and all but also means that there was a lack of creativity regarding this proposal, something I believe Amazon was wanting. On the East side, the proposal includes skyscrapers and towers that would be secluded form Downtown East St. Louis and would be on an island separated by Train Tracks, the River, and bridges on either side of it. That issue with the idea that it may not redevelop East St. Louis is a real bummer and would create a whole city dedicated to Amazon. The proposal also included a cable car that would go across the River. This isn't a theme park, so something like this is ridiculous to have.
It just seems sloppy and doesn't seem like a viable plan for a corporate HQ.
How Can This Be Done Now?
Some good is in this proposal though, it offers us a look at what could happen if we truly "huSTLe" like the proposal says. The proposal sheds light on a City that we could become and one that could help bring East St. Louis back. We have issues to work out on both sides of the River until we are able to unlock our full potential. This "New St. Louis" is still in its infancy as the Old Manufacturing/Industrial Powerhouse City of St. Louis died shortly after World War 2. That infancy needs to grow up and mature until we can lure a company the size of Amazon to St. Louis. Some ways to help speed up the maturity process is to address the burden that has plagued our city for years, Crime.
East St. Louis struggles with it too but not as bad as us. Last year, our homicide count ended at 205 and this year, we are at 6. We have a new police chief (who I hope helps reduce these homicide numbers) and we have people of all backgrounds (both racially and politically) ready to work together to push the city and region into over drive and to truly make change that is worthwhile. We need to HUSTLE though if we are to achieve this dream. Sitting around and hoping that the problem fixes itself is not a viable option anymore. Fixing the crime could lead to East St. Louis coming back and our money issues and poverty problems resolved thus making our city and region great again. It is a domino effect and the first domino is the hardest to knock over, but if we knock it over, the rest will follow and in rapid succession. The other problem we have is fragmentation.
I do not support the idea to merge the City and County governments together or merge the City with the County as a municipality UNTIL we can address the issues above. Plus, the Centrist county will not want the Leftist city to join it until the city can move to a more Centrist-Progressive position. This proposal showed a little but what the regional alliances can do when they work together but it wasn't enough this time around. We need to work more closely on things while remaining independent and then (and only then) do I believe we can begin building this plan as is presented. If we solve our problems as a region, the region will grow whether it is population of job rise. Currently, the plan I see most likely to happen is the "North Riverfront-Bottle District" portion of the proposal. That is currently on the scopes of the Great Rivers Greenway and Paul McKee (but he won't do anything).
As seen in the Renderings above, it offers a vision of renewal and a very urban place to be. And while the ambitious plan may be dialed back to the original North riverfront Redevelopment plan, it could be done if the above reforms and changes are implemented. Towers would look great up here and would certainly bring the City's revitalization further North (which would look good for our City). The plan could be put forward if more Residential units are included and retail takes center stage. It would work out well and make this area "New Town". East St. Louis' plan would have to wait however until their time comes as a City to make its own comeback.
For the AT&T Building, we could implement the proposal here to lure new tenants and uses to the building. The addition on top of the building would make the property more valuable. Maybe even reskinning the exterior would lure tenants. Either way, this part of the Amazon plan seems to be the most likely to happen considering that a hulking 1.1 Million Square foot building is going to be a pain in the ass to lease out and potentially sell in this current market. After all, we need to HUSTLE and it will be hard, but hard work will pay off, it has in cities like Nashville, KC and Indianapolis, so why won't it work here? Answer: Our problems that I mentioned earlier.
This was a big gamble for the region. $6 Billion in incentives and a massive project with beautifully designed towers on par with that in other cities, but we didn't make the cut. That is the harsh reality we will have to live with for now on (or at least until change comes). Our City and Region as a whole is making a comeback, but not as fast as it would have with Amazon, but our time will come when we will grow to the size of the proposal presented and one day, Our City will reclaim its place in America's most business friendly cities.
For now, the best we can do is hope that a recession is not around the corner (even though I am starting to see signs of one) so that we can continue our growth and propel us slowly into "New St. Louis".
#huSTLe from day one.
Note: We stayed clear of politics in this post as this was a bipartisan proposal made up of Republican Governors, our two United States Senators, Regional Mayors and the County Executive. Staying clear form politics gives our readers a un-biased view on an issue like this and is meant to inform the readers while not indoctrinating them. That is the Building St. Louis way
By. Chris Stritzel
Since December 2016, when One Hundred was announced, it has become one of the more anticipated projects that has made residents of Central West End and the region anxious to see begin. The 386 Foot tall tower will rise at Kingshighway and West Pine in the Central West End neighborhood and will add over 300 apartment units to the ever growing Central West End area. It is designed by Chicago based Studio Gang architects. The last time a Building Permit was applied for was in Mid-December 2017 and the usage for the Building Permit is "Foundation Only" and the total estimated costs for this phase of construction should be around $9,100,312 out of the $130 Million estimated cost of the project. That permit is expected to be issued sometime this week or next week according to city officials within the Building Division.
So now the question remains: When will this project begin? To find out, I contacted Peter Cassel, a employee of developer MAC Properties (who is co-developing this project with Antheus Capital). His answer on when we can see this project break ground is "by the end of February or Early March". I asked why the long wait on the project. While he didn't have a definite answer, he did make clear that to build a building of this size takes time and that it is better to go slower rather than rush to the final project. In other words, quality takes time. He also told me that construction loans are all lined up and the contractor will be Clayco. He said that they "could've started this month but the building permit was never issued" and "the discovery of the old hotel's foundations led to increased construction costs and longer wait times then that was originally anticipated".
"But it will be worth the wait", he assured me as the building we be unlike anything the region has ever seen before. It will also be one of the crown jewels to come out of this building boom that the city is seeing. Currently, new fencing is up on the site as utility crews move underground Phone wires and water lines to make way for the digging up of the old hotel foundations. He says that by time that project is completed, they should be starting on construction or getting really close to beginning. He further assured me that a set Groundbreaking date should come in the first week or two of February along with new Renderings.
All in all, the project should be completed by mid-2020 and add an estimated 600+ residents to Central West End. Meanwhile, next door to this site at Kingshighway and Lindell, Developer Koman has seemingly put their plans for the site on the "back-burner", and that is if they were even planning a tower. It would have been designed by New York based Kohn, Pedersen and Fox (KPF) architects. But that is another story. We should have a crane on site by Early fall of this year.
Click the Button Below to go to the Project Update Page for this Project.