By. Chris Stritzel
When the Cardinals announced back in October their ambitions for Ballpark Village Phase 2, it was greeted with skepticism and joy from the public. Everyone was talking about it it seemed like. Now, after 4 months, the city amended the development agreement with theCardinals and passed the plan from the Proposed Phase to where the Cardinals can now file for a construction permit whenever they want. But a few days after the Phase 2 was announced, some unannounced renderings were released showing a much larger project than what the Cardinals announced.
This unreleased plan has a 25 Floor Tower at the corner of 8th and Walnut on the Northwest Corner of the Site. The Tower would have included Office Space and a Hotel. The hotel would have been a Live! branded Hotel from Cordish instead of going for one of the other brands out there. The building would have also included more retail space, but now as we get closer to the groundbreaking of Phase 2 I think it is time for The Cordish Companies and the Cardinals to throw this building into the mix.
I have several reasons behind my call for the Cardinals and they all have to do with making Ballpark Village the place to be in Downtown. Below the next image are my reasons.
- A hotel at the Village will help boost the daily visitor/population, to the district and put people on the streets of Downtown. This will help increase visitors to the Downtown Region and in turn strengthen the weak Downtown Economy or it will help the Downtown area recover.
- More Retail Space will help the district over all and will draw retailers downtown again thus making the economy better in the Downtown Region.
- More office space than the already planned 100,000 square feet of space will be big especially if the renderings are true. Fox Sports Midwest Looks like they could be the main tenant for the office space in this building. They have been looking for some new Office Space recently so why not move in here next door to Busch Stadium? It will strengthen the district as a business hub then!
- Another HighRise on the property will make the district more visible from the rest of the City therefore making it more known for people to come down to visit. It will make a impact on the Skyline when viewed from the I44/I55 Interchange, I64's Poplar Street Bridge, the skyline from the south and from the east.
If all of these points are considered, then the Cardinals and the Cordish Companies should announce and build the building along with Phase 2. But I guess time will tell whether or not they announce this or wait until they see how leasing goes in the announced Phase 2. But if the Cardinals were to announce this along with Phase 2, I think the price tag for Phase 2 would reach $350 Million.
By. Chris Stritzel
As Detroit's very impressive building boom continues to bring big innovations, St. Louis is struggling to keep up with all of the Cities nationwide experiencing unprecedented growth. But one thing in particular that we all need to know about here in St. Louis is the fact that we can learn a lot from Detroit in terms of how developers work there. It all begins with renewed interest in the City from those developers.
As seen in the Picture above, Developer Dan Gilbert, owner of Bedrock Detroit, has proposed a 734 foot tall, 52 Floor Colossus on Woodward Avenue. This development will sit on the former site of the Hudson's Department Store. But the interesting thing is his interest in changing the way Downtown Detroit is. His vision for renewing Detroit is beginning to capture national attention (clearly here), and give Detroit a new face for everyone who lives in the United States the World and Neighbor Windsor Canada.
The tower named "Hudsons" for now will become the tallest building in Detroit beating GM's Renaissance Center by a mere 7 feet. This is all part of Dan's plan to revitalize this section of Woodward into a Minature version of Chicago's Michigan Avenue. His mind has also brought Nike and Under Armour to Woodward across the street from where this major development is expected to go (which could bring an Apple Store, Uni Qlo and others that are not in Detroit).
The Picture below shows the hopeful traffic and look when this building is finished with all the businesses and The Detroit Streetcar. This photo is supposed to depict what Woodward will be like in 2020.
But what does this growth teach us? It is a complicated explanation but one that makes sense when it is all put together.
- Developers like Dan, have a renewed interest in Downtowns and Urban Areas. These kind of developments become common place when cities let developers loose to tackle cities on their own. In St. Louis we don't do this to often but we are slowly opening our doors to that idea. But before developers can open new buildings that can be possibly Skyline changing, they have to tackle the Abandoned Building Issue.
- St. Louis has a surplus of Abandoned, Historic Buildings including a soon to be vacant 45 Floor Office Tower. In Detroit, Devlopers have taken advantage of the abandoned buildings by converting them to new uses like Residential, Hotels and Office Space. This has made Detroit have not as large of a surplus as is causing them to reach the demand to build new things like The District Detroit or "Hudsons". If developers are let loose in St. Louis, abandoned buildings must be tackled first to increase demand of new construction and amenities that are not offered by the Converted buildings. But this leads to a issue, what about available space?
- Detroits Downtown like ours has several vacant lots that are prime real estate. In Detroit, developers have realized the potential of these lots and are embracing them by proposing buildings that are filling in the gaps and making their Downtown look more full. In St. Louis, if developers embrace the lots as well, our Downtown will become more full and will be more prone to welcoming new companies to the area.
When you mix those 3 points together, you get eager developers that want to help preserve history by restoring buildings that will attract people. Thus, developers will have a renewed interest in building in our Downtown Again. But what are City lacks in someways are visionaries like Dan Gilbert. The ones we do have are ambitious but do not always deliver in the ways they promise, I know there are other Dan Gilberts out there who are wanting to make a impact on the City and let their names be known, but they are afraid to present their ideas. This fear has to stop.
A quote from developer Sarimsakci states that "St. Louis is a Untapped Market". This I firmly believes. He believes and is planning a 50 Floor Riverfront Tower for St. Louis with the hope of Hudson Development And Alterra Development gets their minds in high gear. He believes that if a large scale project is done it will send St. Louis into high gear. The way I see it, he will be St. Louis' Dan Gilbert if his Riverfront Tower comes to fruitition, which it shoud soon.
So with all of these points, St, Louis and Detroit have parallels so far from a downfall in as a Urban Cneter to a renaissance of sorts with ambitious developers wanting to leave their mark on the Cities they represent. Now we wait to see if any of these points and instructions are fulfilled in anyway over the remainder of 2017, and if they are, be expecting 2018 to be a year of extreme change for the City of St. Louis as a whole. More on Dan Gilbert to hopefully come soon.
By. Chris Stritzel
It is quite interesting that just about 2 and a half weeks ago, I wrote up a story about a Residential Tower proposed at the corner of Forsyth and Brentwood Boulevards in Clayton. Today however, another building for the same corner has been proposed to the City of Clayton. It will be built on the same block as the new tower and right next door to it on Forsyth.
As St. Louis' Second Downtown of Clayton continues to expand rapidly, it has became clear the projects like this will become common place in Clayton and less so in the City of St. Louis, in particular, Downtown St. Louis. Below is a press release from the developer, KP Development.
BEGIN PRESS RELEASE:
CLAYTON, MO, FEB. 21, 2017 …St. Louis-based development firm KP Development today announced plans to develop Forsyth Pointe, an estimated $16 million, mixed-use, mid-rise development in the Clayton business district. The nine-story, 60,000 square-foot building would be built in a portion of the 8000 block on the north side of Forsyth Blvd., between Meramec Ave. and Brentwood Blvd, on property that KP Development has owned for almost 20 years.
The new development would include a mix of 51,000 square feet of Class A office space, 7,500 square feet of ground floor retail space, along with 160 parking spaces for tenants of the new building. The building also would include rooftop garden areas for rooftop events and other activities. The property it would rise on is currently home to the offices of KP Development and ElmTree Funds. Both KP Development and ElmTree Funds would make the proposed building their new home.
“We consider this project to be a unique, boutique office opportunity that will provide a highly visible presence on this corner of Forsyth and Brentwood, with amazing views into Shaw Park and the new Chapman Plaza,” noted Scott Haley, managing director for KP Development. “The incorporation of retail on the ground floor will also result in a more active, pedestrian-friendly experience along Forsyth.”
KP Development has been a long-time supporter of the City of Clayton’s Comprehensive Plan, which includes a focus on a unifying and coordinated development for this stretch of Forsyth, and the new development has been conceived with that in mind. The company’s proposed development would take shape adjacent to a planned new multi-family tower that is proposed to be developed on the City of Clayton’s public parking lot at the north east intersection of Forsyth and Brentwood. While Forsyth Pointe is a completely separate project, Haley notes it is intended to complement the proposed luxury apartment building and that it specifically aligns with the goals of the “Park View District” as described in the City’s comprehensive plan.
Forum Studio is the architect for the project. Pending approval from the City of Clayton, KP Development hopes to commence construction this fall.
As I said earlier, this project will be directly next door to the 25 Floor Residential Tower to be built at the corner of Brentwood and Forsyth Boulevards.
By. Chris Stritzel
According to a article put out by the Post Dispatch today, a new Apartment Building is ready to rise on the southern edge of Soulard. The new building will be at 9th and Victor Streets in the region and will rise directly catty corner from Good Luck Bar and Grill and will be directly across the street (North) from Humboldt Academy of Higher Learning.
The new Apartment Building is being developed by Whistler One LLC and has a price tag of $15 Million. The new project will bring to this part of soulard 118 apartment units and ground floor retail space. The buildings construction through will require the demolition of a older factory on the site but according to the City, that building is not on the Register of Historic places therefore, it can be demolished.
Construction is is expected to fully begin soon and the entire project should be open for new residents and businesses by mid to late 2018.
Read the STLToday Article by clicking this button below.
By. Chris Stritzel
It is a idea that every single candidate for Mayor should be thinking. This idea is very simple, to allow all Neighborhoods of the City to thrive and prosper, developers have to Dream big. Then they have to submit it to the city where the city approves it and then he final part is build it. People will almost certainly return to the City. But it is more than just that.
The fact that such a simple philosophy could return business and people to the City could be transformational for our region as a whole. With the City being a powerhouse, it will help Imogene the whole metrolpolitan region. This will help start growth and change our anion all image as a place that people want to see and visit and not a place that people just want to pass through.
So I am calling on ALL Candidates for Mayor to embrace this ideology. It will help bring the City into a new era of growth and prosperity. It is something for every single one of you to consider. And maybe, after 1 term, our City will be growing fast in every single neighborhoods, not only making the Citizens happy but also roving the local economy.
By. Chris Stritzel
When the Crestwood Mall redevelopment plan was announced a little over 2 years ago, memories of the fun times I had at the mall when I was a little kid were brought back. It became surreal when the announcement was made to demolish the mall to make way for a mixed use neighborhood. In April of 2016, there was a "Food Truck Party on the Plaza" which signaled the end of the Mall's life and would make way for a Demolition Phase that is lasting not as long as what was expected. But now, with the malls demolition rapidly gaining speed, I think it is time to share my past two experiences of the last two Public days of the malls life. One from June 2013 and One from April 2016.
Lets Start with June of 2013. Me and my dad were out and about that day when, I remember it specifically, we were listening to 106.5 The Arch when the host lady came over after a commercial break and said that "today was the last day for the public to walk through Crestwood Mall before it is shuttered tomorrow, the 14th". So we drove over to the mall expecting to see some more cars there than usual since it was the last day. There were no more than 10 cars. The only store left was Lens Crafters which closed a month later. We parked and went into the mall at the only entrance still open, which was the one closest to the former Macy's store.
Upon walking in from the Hot and Humid outside we were greeted with paint peelings ion the floor from the ceiling and a very warm and humid inside. The Air Conditioning was turned off. We adventured through the mall and took photos. It was a very odd day to be in there. The mall was completely quiet except for the occasional sound of the "Ding-Dong" sound that the Lens Crafters store made whenever someone walked in. That sound echoed down the Mall Corridor.
As we continued to wonder around the mall, we came across the old stairs and elevator that went down to the food court. Back a few years prior to this, Me and my Dad came here and explored the former Crestwood Arcade. Oh my how times have changed since then. The Elevator was turned off and parked at the Lower Level forever but the lights were still on downstairs. The food court was barded up except for a hole in the wall where a door should be. We walked in and were greeted with a dark food court with the exception of one fluorescent light. Broken Glass was on the Floor and it stunk of the smell that restaurants make when they are not cleaned. The Humidity inside the mall didn't help at all.
We walked back up stairs and continued exploring where we were stopped by a Fence that had a sign on it that said "Public Safety Hazard, No One is allowed beyond this point". This was by the old Pasta House Restaurant in the Mall. We turned around and began to walk back the other way. We slowly walked back and would do so to remember this day as one that we will never forget. It was a place of childhood memories and history. As we walked out, we stopped by the entrance closest to where Dillards was and snapped a picture of the inside with the soaring Ceiling. After this, we want home for the day where I shared a video of mine on another YouTube Account that I was not affiliated with at the time.
In the beginning of 2016, the Owners of the mall (UrbanStreet Group) announced that they were planning a Food Truck Party on the Plaza to celebrate the official end of the malls life. The parking lot on the plaza was full of cars and people. Other people were loading across Watson Road on another lot and waking across. That is exactly what we did. Upon entering into the Mall's boundaries, we went over by the food trucks. We immediately gave up on trying to get something to eat because of the extremely long lines.
So we decided to go over to explore the outer ring of the mall. We followed other people into the Parking. Garage portion of the Mall. We explored the Mall and climbed around the garage. It was full of over grown grass, mud and has trees in it. After exploring down there, we went back up on top and ended up by the Dillard's Store. So I decided to go and peer into the window where I took the picture 3 years prior. The results of the urban decay was shocking. The picture below shows that.
Another symbol of Urban Decay is the former sears store. The 2 images below show the same location in 2013 and 2016. It is amazing what happens to Buildings when we humans are not there to help take care of them.
We left that day with a fun memory of exploring the garage and it gave us something to talk about for months. Now, nearly a year later since that party, the malls demolition is accelerating. The old Dillard's store is completely gone as well as a majority of the mall. The Old Sears and Macy's but besides that, it is almost nearly gone. The video at the beginning of this post shows the Ahrens Demolition machine ripping a roof down and ripping a metal beam out of the building. There were about 7 other machines that were smaller and cleaning up the debris on the site.
The future is uncertain for this mall considering how the developer has only made a site plan available with no Renderigns as to how the project will look. This issue will surely make the neighbors and others in the region very angry at the developer. When the Demolition is completed in July of this year, construction on the new complex will begin almost immediately and should be completed sometime in 2019.
Below are images I took from 2013, 2016 & February 17th 2017.
By. Chris Stritzel
Several Months back, I wrote a prediction stating that, "Downtown St. Louis will begin to grow again in 2020", I am now here to clarify that statement.
Every 20 Years, St. Louis' Downtown has experienced a overwhelming amount of Construction that has shaped the skyline and layout of the area for a long time. In the 1960's Downtown saw the construction of the Arch, Busch Stadium 2, The Millennium Hotel
among other things. In the 1980's Downtown saw the Construction of the tallest buildings in the City helping St. Louis change its Skyline image.
The 2000's brought along the opening of the Eagleton Courthouse and the Construction of Busch Stadium 3, The Lumiere Place and the Roberts Tower. However, Downtown had a ton of proposals for the area that would have transformed the skyline even more and moved the Downtown Region further North. All of those ideas and proposals were cancelled or shelved due to the Recession of 2008-2009.
But the 2020's are looking to be a time of renewed commitment to building in Downtown. Ballpark Billage Phase 2 is the main project hat will help launch a new era of Construction in Downtown. Most of the new construction will be built on the many vacant parking lots of downtown. But other issues must be worked out first before any new construction can be considered for Downtown. Here are those issues...
- All of the historic buildings must be in the process of being brought back to life or reopened following a rehabilitation project.
- The City must retain Companies in Downtown to promote a need for more Space
- The AT&T Center and Millennium Hotel Buildings must have a plan to wither redevelop them or reopen them.
If thoese issues are fixed or in the process of being fixed by 2019, Downtown will see proposals for new construction at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020. Projects like the Bottle Distict and Lumiere Phase 2 could make a return if and only if the issues are fixed. However though, a strong campaign to get the attention of companies looking to expand to make them come to Downtown St. Louis rather than Clayton.
This is my prediction on the next big Boom for Downtown and I hope it happens.
By. Chris Stritzel
The old building next door to the City Hall and Peabody Opera House Buildings has been the victim of various rehab projects that have failed. But now, a new plan to bring the building back to life is in the pipes. According to a Post-Dispatch article, a developer is looking to convert the old courthouse into a 150 room hotel with a Courtroom themed Pool and Fitness Center area.
The building is full of history and the hotel is supposed to present that. Situated along the Gateway Mall, and very close to the Scottrade Center and Peabody Opera House, the building offers a unique location for out of town visitors. The visitors who stay at this hotel are only 6 Blocks away from the Washington Avenue District and only 3 Blocks away from the soon to be fully renovated Union Station.
The Downtown region has had a huge hole left open in the Hotel Business since the Millennium Hotel closed in 2013. That closure took 750 hotel Rooms with it. The Municipal Courts hotel will help take a bite out of that while the other 4 Proposed Hotels in Downtown will help fill the gap left by the Millennium Hotel. A majority of the new Hotels are in old and Historic Buildings spread throughout the Downtown region.
When this Hotel opens in the year 2019, hopefully the Downtown region has not many (or none at all), abandoned buildings left. This way, our Downtown will be ready to grow even more to where it will reestablish itself as the Center of the Region.
By. Chris Stritzel
Its been in the rumor system for a while now, but it is really beginning to heat up. That rumor is Microsoft may move from West County to the City, specifically in the Cortex district of Central West End. This move would and could be significant since a majority of the businesses that leave the City never invest or consider moving back into the City.
This rumor began to heat up a week ago when the City issued a building permit to Cortex to begin building the new Office Building on Duncan Avenue (The Main East-West corridor street in the district). The new building is part of a bigger phase of Cortex that includes a Aloft Hotel and, a the stalled, Residential Building. The new Office Building (I'll call it the Microsoft Center) will include retail space on the First floor of the building to help draw more people down to the constantly developing Cortex District.
The Microsoft Center is expected to also have the Wexford Company as a tenant making this building 100% occupied.
Full construction on the Microsoft Center will be underway hopefully sooner rather than later.l and should be completed around late 2018. The Aloft hotel is expected to begin construction soon as well.
By. Jeff Kaine
Over the past couple of months, rumors about a Hyatt Place Hotel for Belleville Illinois, now those rumors are reality. Hyatt is planning to expand their budget hotel line in the St. Louis region. The first Hyatt Place in the region opened in 2013 in Chesterfield Missouri, since then, many have been guessing where the next location will go. The answer is here and that is Belleville.
This hotel is scheduled to open in 2018/2019. But now I am going to predict that the next location will come I Downtown St. Louis somewhere. Why? Hyatt Place ahead many locations in Downtowns and our Downtown should get one sooner rather than later.
Marriott on the other hand has been expanding quite a lot in Downtown. They have purchased the former Renaissance Grand and a Renaissance Suites in Washington Avenue and converted the Suites into a Courtyard Hotel and the Grand into a Marriott Grand. They are also planning to open up shop at the Jefferson Arms and the 705 Olive Street Building.
Hyatt though could open up a hotel in one of the other abandoned buildings in Downtown or build a new building entirely but where at will not be known for a while.