By. Chris Stritzel
The project that has brought much controversy to the corner of Wyoming and Morgan Ford in Tower Grove South got it's first blessing yesterday on it's road to construction from the St. Louis Board of Adjustment. The appeal filed with the Board specified that the building commissioner denied a building permit to rezone the property to multi-family residential with retail space. The Board passed the appeal and have thus authorized the permit to rezone the property. In addition to this, I got more information regarding the development that may be helpful to nearby neighbors and general supporters of the project. The new information is as follows...
Even though this was passed by the Board of Adjustment, the project must go before the neighborhood association, which will happen this September, to hear neighbor's opinions on the project. If all goes well there, the project's 95% Tax Abatement will be reviewed by the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen before officially starting construction. Combined, WYMO and MOFO will total close to $10 Million in investment by AHM in the Tower Grove South neighborhood and according to sources, more developments are on the way, but "where" remains the question. Until then, the focus remains on these two developments.
By. Chris Stritzel
If you haven't read the first Unbuilt St. Louis post, click here to read it.
Over the past 18 years, St. Louis has seen some proposals come through the pipeline but got stuck and later cancelled due to the economy or funding. In some cases, developers are just sketchy and proposed things that never get done or were just a marketing gimmick to get their way. As seen in the first Unbuilt St. Louis post, many developers actually had strong backings and even defined start dates for the projects, but all featured in the first post were cancelled after the Great Recession took hold. Now, as St. Louis comes out of that dark time, it's important to review the other projects of the past that many may wish were built. This is "Unbuilt St. Louis 2".
Lewis and Clark Library Branch
When the St. louis County Library system began to modernize and condense their libraries in the county, the center of attention was the famed Lewis and Clark Library in Moline Acres. The plan was to demolish the 1960s Mid Century design for a sleek, 21st century design with a cantilevered roof and floor to ceiling glass the entire façade. The plan wasn't supported by neighbors and instead, the replacement design included the stained glass windows depicting Lewis and Clarks Westward exploration. The new library was not designed by Perkins+Will as seen in the rendering above. Regardless, the loss of the mid-century library building is disappointing and shouldn't happen again in the future for the sake of saving these types of structures.
Westin Hotel - Downtown Clayton
Ahead of the Recession, a Westin Hotel as planned for Maryland and North Central in Downtown Clayton. the proposal would've had a neo-art deco flair to it but was ultimately cancelled after neighborhood opposition and the recession. Not to mention the fact it was redesigned multiple times. The project was shelved and will never be seen again. St. Louis architecture firm, Core 10, designed the building and would've been their tallest structure if built. For now, their are no plans for this site or any other plans in Clayton for a Westin branded hotel. To his day, the only Westin in the region remains the one at Busch Stadium in downtown.
MLS Stadium @ 22nd Street
What brought tons of disappoint to Soccer fans in St. Louis and even to those who wished to see the 22nd Interchange disappear. In April 2017, voters in the city shot down Proposition 2 which would've redirected funding from Prop 1 (Metro expansion) to pay for the downtown stadium. It was practically a given that we would've received a MLS team if the stadium was passed by voters and built. Unfortunately, with no one stepping up to either re-propose the stadium to the public for funding or self fund the stadium, this stadium has been put into the "Unbuilt St. Louis" file. But don't fret on the 22nd Street interchange. a plan is underway to redesign the interchange for the NGA and make Jefferson a true interchange eliminating the need for one at 22nd.
Optimist International Site Plans
In 2014, Covington Realty partners of Clayton unveiled a proposal for a 14 floor, 200 unit apartment building at Taylor and Lindell in Central West end. While the project as god awful in design, it would've added significant density to this corner in Central West End. The project was ultimately doomed due to no tax abatements being approved or given. Then, in 2015, Koman group proposed a plan to reskin portions of the existing building while renovating the entire interior of the building, It would've cost $9 Million. While no official reason has been given for this project's failure (which was to start in 2016), we can figure that Koman's project at Euclid and West Pine had something to do with this project never coming to fruition.
At the corner of Forsyth and South Central Avenue, a building by the name of the Montgomery tower would've risen. The 31 Floor, Soloman-Cordwell-Buenz designed building would've replaced the world news building. The residential tower was to have retail at the base, a parking podium and residential units on top of it all. The tower would've also became one of the tallest buildings in the City of Clayton and since the building would've been built on a hill, it would've appeared to be the tallest. Webster Groves based Montgomery Development planned the building but must've had no way to secure financing for such a tall building. Since this project was shoveled, I don't see this one making a return in it's current form anytime soon. Despite Clayton booming with skyline changing projects, this one seems like it will miss out this time around. If the Montgomery Tower were to return, I would expect to see a different design.
City Side @ Park Pacific
When the Lawrence Group envisioned to redevelop the Missouri Pacific Building (now Park Pacific), they planned on building a residential building on top of the parking garage at Tucker and Olive. The garage also was planned to have more color in it than what it does now. The City Side apartments would've added much to Tucker despite sitting on top of a parking garage. Because St. Louis was on fire pre-recession, this project would've only added to the momentum sweeping Downtown St. Louis at the time. Even though it was cancelled, the current parking garage could hold a building on top of it, but I'm not sure. The Park Pacific Building is open though with apartments and office space. The office space is home to stations such as 97.1, 98.1 and 1120 KMOX.
The Beacon in Clayton
In 2016, a 8 floor apartment and retail building with an art deco design was proposed for Wydown and Hanley in Clayton. The name of the projected would've been "The Beacon". Despite it being a beautiful design to fit in with the other buildings in this part of Clayton, nearby NIMBYs shot this one down because of it's size along with the City pulling an RFP for the existing parking lot. The plans were scrapped in Early 2017 with no new plans in the works for this prominent corner just blocks South of Clayton's booming Downtown.
Before Ballpark Village Phase 2 was announced, Koman Group unveiled their plans for the "first Class A office building in downtown in 30 years" in May 2016. The building would've been built on a curved lot in the Cupples District just West of Busch Stadium. Cupples X was to be 5 floors and 120,000SF and cost $42 Million to build. After winning support from the Preservation Board, the proposal went on to be marketed. However, after Ballpark Village Phase 2 was announced in October 2016, this proposal went into limbo but with plans still moving forward. A little over a year later, in July 2017, the project was pulled from plans. It's assumed that Ballpark Village had something to do with it. Koman could still be planning something for this lot, but it is to early to tell. I guess time will decide if a office building is built here.
While there are other projects that I did not cover in this post, there is always the opportunity for another Unbuilt St. Louis post. The main goal of these stories is to show what could've been built in St. Louis since 2000. Do you have anything that should be included? Let me know in the comments and I'll look into it!
For Grand Center, only the best design and projects have made it throughout the past several years. Every project in this arts district tells a story in someway. Whether it be Hotel Angad or the Woolworth's Building, they tell a story. The story is reflected in design whether that me be historic restoration design or brand new concept design. These tow ideas can be seen with the Pulitzer Museum and UMSL's building on Olive in Grand Center. Both buildings are examples of exceptional architecture that are meant to be examples for the future of Grand Center. So what happens when you get Emily Pulitzer and Steve Trampe together for a major project in Grand Center? Eye catching design worthy of the neighborhood.
Planned for the 3800 block of Olive is a development consisting of 23 housing units spread out over 17 buildings. Also included is the renovation of the Wolfner Library building and the construction of a 20 unit plus apartment building at Olive and Vandeventer. New homes will also be built on the North side of Olive (which are currently home to numerous vacant lots and parking lots). Pulitzer and Trampe plan on spending $30 Million for a development that is meant to revitalize a neighborhood, but also bring new architecture concepts to St. Louis City. The first renowned architecture firm to be working on this project, Tatiana Bilbao of Mexico City. Bilbao, a long with at least 10 other architects, will design eye catching for sale housing meant to be affordable for the middle income buyer. The development will include fountains, a garden and a playground for kids. Garages will also be included along the alley.
A less known firm, Axi:Ome is also working on the project as the head design firm for the Wolfner Building restoration. Their most famous project is UMSL's building on Olive. No matter what happens at this long site on Olive, we can be sure that it will be iconic. The apartment building at olive and Vandeventer though remains up in the air. The lot is no bigger than the lot in Tower Grove South where MOFO is rising. That has 24 units and is three floors, so I see nothing more than 3 floors being built at this lot. There has been no word on who the architect is for the apartment building, but if it is a renowned architecture firm that Pulitzer is soliciting, I can assure that it will be an iconic design even if it is small.
Below are some examples of design by Axi:Ome and Tatiana Bilbao.
By. Chris Stritzel
If you have driven on Vandeventer or Tower Grove near the intersection of the two, you may have noticed work going on at the Woodward Printing Company Building. The work that has been ongoing is for the conversion of the former warehouse into modern lofts with a historic charm. From high ceilings, large picturesque windows and superior amenities, the Woodward Lofts will be among the best loft apartments in St. Louis and set an example for the Forest Park Southeast-Grove neighborhood. Built in 1926, the building housed a large printing press operation which, at the time, was among the largest in the City of St. Louis.
The Woodward's location against the railroad tracks also provided for easy access to the rail system to ship printings across the nation. In some cases, trains would back into the building to pick up their shipment before moving on. Despite the printing operation leaving the building, it has continued to be a significant icon for this prominent corner in the Grove which meant that redevelopment was imminent once the Grove started to take off development wise. Now, in 2018, the Woodward Lofts project is full steam ahead to introduce 164 luxurious loft apartments to the Grove as well as provide two commercial spaces for businesses along Tower Grove Avenue.
Due to the building's historic nature and being on the National Register of Historic Places, the architecture firm, Trivers and developer, Pier Property Group, had to follow a strict set of laws to preserve as much of the building's original character as possible. According to Diona Jett, a District Manager for StoneCreek Communities, "old water tanks from the previous operation will be cut and made into sitting areas in our common spaces" as well as, "old office partitions will be reused as a wall to cut off the commons areas to a meeting room near the grand staircase". New windows are also being made to mimic the old window design.
The building's nickname was the "building of light" due to the wide open floor plans and spaces as well as the abundance of windows surrounding the walls which allowed for natural light to pour into the printing factory. The redevelopment is taking this nickname to extremes through design. Trivers' idea is to cut 5 slits into the building to create small courtyards and commons areas that make natural light fill the building. In addition to this, they also act as buffer zones. The building is too wide to create a central hallway with apartment doors on either side. In this case, the courtyards will offer inner building units to get some natural light while also creating a community within each courtyard. Every unit looking out onto the courtyards (if on the level where you can stand), will have access to said courtyard so residents can get out, meet with other residents or soak in some natural light.
These units also have a very unique feature about them. A lot of these courtyard facing units are bi level with 24 foot ceilings and glass covering a full wall of said unit. The way the units are set up is by having a kitchen, living room and a bathroom on the first floor while your bedroom and full bathroom is upstairs. Both levels feature closet space. The renderings below show this concept with the largest courtyard area and one of the smaller ones.
As we work our way up in features, we arrive at the rooftop. The rooftop will be a gathering area for all residents featuring a pool, views of the entire city and a club room where residents can get together some day. To get an idea of where this is, it is near the largest open courtyard space near Tower Grove Avenue. You can see this is the rendering featured above. Now let's head down.
The Woodward Lofts include several amenities now visible to people on the main roads. The main lobby area features a wide open lobby with access to bike storage and a secure mail area. the secure mail area will keep your packages secure and you can only access them with your name or photo of yourself. this helps insure that your mail stays safe and that it is intended for your eyes only. Through the area where the elevator is lies a fitness center with yoga services available for your pleasure. There is also a staircase that takes you to the rooftop amenity deck. Beneath everything will be a concealed and private parking garage for residents only. The spots are reserved so you are insured to get a parking spot. There will even be spots available to charge your electric cars.
In the end, every apartment unit comes with today's best features including Spectrum Gigabit Internet, Terrazzo Floors, Stainless Steel Appliances, Modern Kitchens, Center Island Breakfast Bars, Quartz Countertops, WIFI Controlled Thermostats, Keyless Entry and Cable Ready. As seen in the model unit that I got to check out, I can tell that all of these features are in said unit and are key to making this building rise above the competition, especially in a hot market like the Grove.
My Personal Thoughts
For a historic restoration of a former warehouse/factory building, this is being done fairly well. From all the amenities and the hidden design details, the Woodward Lofts will surely be a welcome addition to the Grove neighborhood. The lofts will also draw people down to the more sleepy section of the Grove near the railroad tracks. The railroad tracks may seem to be a problem, but the management at Woodward guarantees that the trains passing by aren't heard like you think they would be. The thick, dual pane windows coupled with 12 inch thick walls gives me, and should also give you, the assurance of living in a railway view loft in peace.
Overall, I wish this property the best, the developer surely was gutsy when the move was made to redevelop this building. As the neighborhood around it springs to life with projects such as Core at Newstead, Vista Place, Grove South Homes, Missouri Foundation for Health, Adams Grove and Hasta La Vista apartments, Woodward Lofts is in the heart of it all and, in my opinion, is the final piece in the puzzle to bringing the success of the Grove Southward into McCree town and into the streets immediately surrounding it.
I look forward to returning when construction is complete on the Woodward Lofts so I can share with you all my thoughts on the project at that time. That time should be around the opening, which is set for around Christmas. In the meantime, I have attached floor layouts and links to the building's website and social media.
Layouts and Links
By. Chris Stritzel
The Grove continues to change with the current wave of development wrapping up, a new wave is getting ready to make it's presence. With developments such as 4101 Manchester, Arbor on Arco, Hasta La Vista Apartments on Newstead, Vista Place, The Dogwood and now, 4143 Manchester. 4143 Manchester is an odd development in many ways because of how it is mixed use on a fairly narrow lot. Currently occupied by an 1896 shotgun house (which will be demolished), 4143 Manchester will be a three floor building built as residential and an expansion to the neighboring Everest bar. The planned new building will follow the ultra modern architecture design that is being seen throughout the Grove. The design will include brick, wood and deep blue metal panels. Gray stucco accenting will also be included on the building but primarily on balcony facades.
The current shotgun house sits a few feet back from Manchester while the new building will be built in line with the existing Everest Bar adding to the street wall. The actual expansion of the Everest Bar will have a unique collapsing window along Manchester which allows the business to let fresh air in on nice days. Up stairs, there will be three apartments on floors 2 and 3 totaling 6 units. There will be 4 studio units and 2 one bedroom units. Of these, 4 will have balconies (2 studio and both one bedrooms). The two studio units with the balconies face Manchester while the other two face a neighboring building and sidewalk. The one bedroom units balconies will face the Everest patio and alley. There will be 4 parking spaces in the back.
The planned development is seeking a 10 year tax abatement from the City and will cost $800,000 to execute. Construction could start in January 2019 and end in December 2019. The general contractor is Restoration St. Louis. They recently completed the 4400 Manchester project, are working on Arbor on Arco and have done several other projects in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. Their offices are located along Manchester.
By. Chris Stritzel
On August 15th, Green Street shared a photo on Twitter showing the interior of the historic Armory Building being gutted for their mixed use redevelopment. The hulking structure, that has sat dormant for years, is now being given a new life as a office building and retail center. After waiting to start, and even me thinking it may have been cancelled, it has begun construction and I am excited to see it happen. I have been excited since it was announced because, between this and the City Foundry project, a huge portion of midtown is being transformed from an industrial center into a area of innovation, preservation and enhancement. The neighborhood around the Armory and City Foundry (Vandeventer-Forest Park-Grand-Chouteau and Railways) has been renamed "Prospect Yards" to reflect this change. The success of the "Prospect Yards" area relies on redevelopment and infill projects in the neighborhood footprint.
While no tenants have been officially named for the Armory yet, construction is moving forward for, what is shaping up to be, one of the more anticipated projects of this development cycle. This project peaked my interest following the Tweet by Green Street, so I dug into news stories, videos and renderings that have been published to every single media outlet's, Arcturis' (architect) and Green Street's websites. When I previously did this, I found that Trivers designed a small, AC Hotel for the project. That is simply a concept to show what they can do and will not happen. But what I did find was this rendering/drawing in a video posted to YouTube, which has led me to search everywhere for better renderings.
The drawing shows a midrise building near the MetroLink Station, small infill and a amphitheater concept at the base of the tower. Arcturis is clearly visible on the drawing which lead me to believe that 500 and 502 Prospect would be demolished for new structures, which wasn't included in previous site plans and iterations.
I now have found new renderings, posted to Arcturis' website on a hidden page, showing detailed renderings of the new buildings previously never seen before, and changes to the main Armory Building. While the design of the main building remains the same, new signage peaked my interest. As seen in the gallery below, these two renderings look similar to previous ones shared but include signage for a hotel, meeting rooms and other things. The main takeaways from here are the addition of the hotel signage on the building's interior in the atrium section. But lets dig deeper.
Also included on the hidden webpage is a rendering titled, "Armory+Master+Plan+Render". However, no date of the rendering's posting has been included leading me to think one of two things, either this is a concept that never made it, or is something still in the planning phase. The same goes for the two above renderings. The large building from the drawing (mentioned earlier) is visible here along with a circular building that appears to be residential. The amphitheater is also gone. The bases of the buildings include spaces for retail and restaurants centered around a nice courtyard. The taller of the two appears to be 18 floors according to the rendering while the circular building appears to be 15 floors.
These buildings give the district significant density while also making it more of a district with places to shop and eat. It also gives the Armory District an iconic, modern flare to tie old and new together. Arcturis seems to have thought highly of these buildings to give them their time to come up with them and have thus led them to design something amazing. Very rarely to architecture firms invest tons of time into renderings and plans for something that is simply a fantasy.
Now, while I can't confirm that these renderings are concepts or for sure happening, I must mention something. These new buildings certainly look good and would dramatically change Midtown along with Lawrence Group's City Foundry Phase 2 Tower. In this case, whether or not Green Street will continue with their current plan, which restores the Armory Building, 500 and 502 Prospect, is their choice since it is their money to spend. They have, and continue to specify, that a hotel is planned for the site but whether or not it is designed to be tall and iconic remains the question. I honestly do not care which path GreenStreet takes since I am praising them for their audacity to take on the Armory Project and make something good out of it.
Regardless, I'll finish this story with something I would like to see happen. The I-64 bridge through Midtown is ugly as can be. The highway is meh all the way around, but if Green Street and Arcturis can take some nuisance and make it cool, I'll take it. I like the signage and art but I don't get the "Brooklyn-St. Louis" thing.
By. Chris Stritzel
A nice renovation of one of the last remaining houses in the Midtown Alley area of St. Louis will soon be home to architecture firm JEMA. They announced the plans earlier this year (March 5th to be exact) to convert what is called "The Last House" into their new offices. Now they have published renderings of their planned project at 2823 Olive Street. Living up to what they specified in the March post, "to create a modern interior inhabiting the 145 year old brick and stone shell", JEMA is planning to overhaul this building to fit their needs in an undertaking that preserves a little piece of St. Louis history in an area that has changed much over the years.
JEMA will cut a 27 foot atrium into the building to provide a dynamic open space in the historic building. The plans include a large library and collaboration space for the architects, a fitness room, wood workshop, café and 3 meeting rooms. That's a lot for a 7,025 square foot building that was originally completed in 1874. The project will utilize all 3 floors of the existing building and will house 35 architects and planners. The "Last House" project also appears to be JEMA's first foray into dedicated historic building restoration design. At 3201 Morgan Ford, JEMA is leading design efforts to not only build a 4 floor new building, but also renovate a 1902 building at Wyoming and Morgan Ford. Whether or not that classifies as their first historic building restoration design remains a mystery to me, so I'll count this one as their first.
The new HQ project will use wood accenting to renovate the back portion of the building on the first floor. I like what JEMA is doing here with their new HQ project and believe that it will be a great addition to the neighborhood surrounding it. It also looks cozy in the winter time photo.
By. Chris Stritzel
Earlier this year, it was announced that Garcia Properties, who have redeveloped many buildings throughout the city, has bought and was looking into redeveloping the Grandview Arcade building at 3600 South Grand. They now appear to be eyeing a early fall start for the redevelopment as two projects along Hampton, Mardel Lofts and SOHA Lofts, are completed. Planned are 8 live/work units on the first floor as well as single room offices in the old arcade portion (think Arcade building in downtown). On Floors 2 and 3, there will be 12 apartments. The estimated cost for the rehabilitation project is $5 Million and the missing pieces of Terra Cotta have been kept in storage for future use. The interior also holds onto some of its historic charm.
Garcia recently put a sign up on the Grand facing façade that says, "Investing in St. Louis". The redevelopment of the Grandview Arcade will be significant step forward to make this portion of South Grand more inviting and will strengthen the emerging Gravois Park in the long run. Construction should be complete by Summer/Fall 2019 with a start date sometime in the Fall according to Garcia.
By. Chris Stritzel
Along 4th Street between two train bridges lies one of the last historic strips of real estate in Downtown. While many buildings have been demolished, the ones remaining are mostly occupied with restaurants and businesses. These are three that are completely empty and sitting dormant. That number will soon become two as Midtown Locust Properties has applied for (and was issued) a $600,000 building permit to restore the building at 4th and Lombard, in address form, 900 South 4th. The proposal, whose details are limited, are to include some office space and residential with a retail space on the ground floor.
The plan, which will be a win Preservation wise, saves a building that was originally part of the Chouteau's Landing redevelopment. That project has fallen apart with the land being marketed again for redevelopment uses. The only truly successful part was the 4th Street section of Chouteau's Landing. Recently, Game 6, a Honky Tonk joint, opened up at 758 South 4th. The 4th Street South corridor could be home to more development in the future. Even though the 900 South 4th project is small, it could kick off more historic construction around it (744 and 754 South 4th) and spur new construction at some point.
Space is in demand and Downtown is growing ever so steadily. This project represents that smaller developers are now looking at downtown real estate which could be a big win for Downtown and the city as a whole.
This story is still developing, when an update is posted, we will share it. We have contacted Midtown Locust for more information about this and hope to hear back soon.