By. Chris Stritzel
The first hotel in 20 years in Downtown Clayton (Hampton Inn doesn't count) is eyeing a Spring 2019 start according to Andy Holloran of HomeBase Partners of Bozeman, Montana. The 12 floor, 196 room hotel will replace the former Clayton Police Headquarters on South Central Avenue with a modern building, that will include a public rooftop deck. The building will also be located a block North of Clayton's MetroLink stop, offering easy connections to everything the St. Louis region has to offer. The AC Hotel in Clayton is being designed by Denver based, Johnson Nathan Strohe, and aided in design by St. Louis based Trivers.
According to my previous reporting, the AC Hotel will be the third to fly under the brand in the St. Louis area with the other two being on York Avenue in Central West End and in the Jefferson Arms Building Downtown. The introduction of the AC Brand into St. Louis symbolizes Marriott's aggressive push to grow their portfolio in St. Louis. Marriott's push is being headed by Equis Hotels, HomeBase and a few others.
The AC Clayton Hotel will cost $45 million to build and will be built by the Keeley Companies. The project will start with the demolition of the old Police HQ in early 2019 main structure construction to begin around April 2019. Construction should be finished by the fall of 2020. My previous reporting is featured below.
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 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 Johnson 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.
By. Chris Stritzel
New renderings, posted on the landscape architect’s website (Arbolope Studio), showcase the way the landscaping will look at One Hundred and also offer us the first new renderings of the project since it was unveiled in December 2016. The new renders show extensive landscaping along Kingshighway and in the “niches” created by One Hundred’s scalloped design. Small trees and patches of grass offer a natural expression of One Hundred’s motto “where city meets nature”. The wide sidewalks will also have a design that follows the unique design of the building’s façade.
Also included in the renderings is the first look at One Hundred’s amenity deck. The deck will be fairly small for a tower of this size, especially the pool. The top level of the podium base seems under utilized since only a third of it will be occupied by the deck and some landscaping. What the renders don’t reveal is if the other 2/3rds will be a green roof as specified in previous overhead outlines. The render also included a very faint shadow of the actual tower with small features within the building. As seen in the rendering below, a club room appears to be connected to the pool area offering residents a space to meet before heading out on the deck.
No interior renderings have been released yet by MAC Properties or Studio Gang, but I expect the design to be on par with Solstice on the Park in Chicago.
Elsewhere, a refined design is presented on the interior layout. As seen in the two floor layouts below, One Hundred’s parking system is made more clear, entrances and exits along with the general layout of the lobby and retail space. The floor plans also show the amenity deck floor with some apartments on the same floor. Other things revealed by these layouts are the locations of elevators, stairs, positions of supports and how the terrace concept will work for certain apartments.
As for construction progress, Clayco is currently pouring concrete on what will be the second floor of the parking garage while preparing to go into the 3rd floor. The pace of construction has ramped up in the past few weeks as the general layout of the first floor is complete. Now construction will be a repeated process to the amenity deck then a much smaller floor plate with the tower will result in incredibly fast construction. The photos featured below are from today’s walk around Central West End.
It’s great to see the tower’s general shape coming to life with the slanted design becoming more prevalent. I expect it to be fully prevalent by time the third floor is decked and the fourth floor is having it’s concrete poured. One Hundred began construction on February 27th and will be finished by May 2020. The project brings just over 300 Apartment units to the Central West End neighborhood and will become the tallest building in the Central West End and tallest residential only building in the City of St. Louis at 36 Floors. The cost is $130 Million with Studio Gang acting as the architect and Clayco acting as the general contractor.
By. Chris Stritzel
The City of Clayton Architectural Review Board has received an application to build 18 Condo units on Topton Way. The condos will be spread out over two buildings of 3 1/2 floors each. According to planning documents, filed with the City on October 15th, show a nice sized building with brown brick and stone accenting fronting a curved street (Topton Way) to the Northwest of Clayton's Shaw Park and to the Northeast of Clayton High School. The condo project will require the demolition of 4 existing, 2 story apartment buildings that front Clayton High School, which isn't surprising as they are showing their age in both design and maintenance.
The project is designed by St. Louis based Core10 Architects and will be developed by Clayton based, Mehlman Realty. The project comes as demand for Condos in Clayton is high but also comes at a time when Apartment demand is strong. Topton Condos, as it is called in Planning Documents, will add density to the street while remaining the same size as neighboring structures (relatively speaking). 18 Condo units will range in size from 1750SF to 3000SF and will each have their own underground parking spot. Access to the garage will be via a drive way dividing the two buildings. The final height is projected to be 45FT and 3 1/2 Floors.
The cost for a project like this is estimated to be $11 Million, a hefty price for a project that aims to attract professional individuals to live in one of St. Louis' more affluent suburbs. The project will also attempt to garner employees working in the nearby offices of Clayton or people who prefer to live in a Clayton Condo and work elsewhere. The documents do not outline when the "Topton Condos" project is to start and an Architectural Review Board meeting has not been scheduled to review the plans. Additional residential projects nearby include the recently completed "Barton" project and the proposed "Shaw Park Apartments" at Brentwood and Forsyth. "Shaw Park Apartments" hasn't been given a start date yet.
You can view the plans for the "Topton Condos" on Dropbox by clicking the button below.
By. Chris Stritzel
In 2006, plans were presented to redevelop the Mount Olive Church at 6160 Delmar and build on a vacant lot directly next door. What was once planned was the "African American Cultural Center". Since 2006, plans for that building have stalled and have been cancelled leaving an abandoned Church and vacant lot with an art wall concealing them from the sidewalk. In today's Loop standards, a vacant lot and Church building pose tremendous redevelopment opportunities especially since the Loop has built itself up in recent years with even more development planned (see 6211 Delmar and 6198 Delmar).
The new project is another brainchild of Joe Edwards, the Loop's self proclaimed Mayor. Edwards envisions an indoor mini-golf course here along with a small 16FT Ferris Wheel inside of the newly constructed building at 6148 Delmar. Inside of the old Church, an event space is planned. The design of the building is meant to blend in with neighboring structures (which it must due to St. Louis City Preservation Board Standards). The design incorporates brick into the two floor design and has a street level lined with windows. A future marquee sign will shine East and West on Delmar letting everyone know what is in the building. Connecting the old Mount Olive Church to the new building will be a modern walkway that is made of glass. It's a modern touch to an older building and one designed to look old.
The Mini Golf Course will be called "Magic Mini Golf" according to stories from mid-July from all major media outlets in St. Louis. The Mini Golf building will house more than just that, there will an arcade, shuffleboards, art and more. Basically, the idea is to become a meeting place for people of all ages. With a Loop Trolley Stop right outside, getting to this will be a breeze for sure. The Preservation Board recommends approval of the project, which it will hear at it's October 22nd meeting. Edwards hope to start his newest project in November 2018 and wrap up in January 2020. Kiku Obata is acting as the signage firm for the project. The architecture firm hasn't been named. Total cost: $3.2 Million.
By. Chris Stritzel
The joint venture between St. Louis based Vertical Realty Partners and Sioux City based Nelson Construction and Development is moving forward. The development is of a 150 room hotel in Downtown St. Louis in the old Municipal Courts building. The hotel has been planned for a while now and the first signs of progress are trickling in. The first signs of movement was back in August when Vertical Realty Partners applied for a construction permit to add fire sprinklers into the building. that phase has been completed according to a solid source, Nelson Construction. On top of all of this, they are saying that the potential reopening of the hotel is in Mid-2020 and the hotel branding will be a Hyatt Place.
The Hyatt Place brand has been expanding steadily in St. Louis with a location in Chesterfield and another one planned to rise near Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville. This location would be the brand's third in the Metropolitan area. "We believe that having the Hyatt Hotel in this location will be a real winner for us", says a representative at Nelson, "with the Enterprise Center, Stifel Theater, MetroLink, Highway and the Gateway Mall all at the hotel's doorstep, it makes this location a winner". Besides this, Nelson believes that the MetroLink and easy highway access are big plusses for this location as, "it gets you to wherever you want to go in the region in an effortless way and will make this hotel a prime place to stay for travelers".
The hotel will have a porte-cochere on 14th street and valet services to the current parking lot at 14th & Clark. Nelson says the "porte-cochere will add a modern flair to the baroque style building". In addition to the porte-cochere, a new parking garage and retail building will be constructed on the 14th & Clark lot upon completion of the hotel conversion. Where this hotel will really shine is on the inside and Nelson says, "tons of unique features will make this hotel the most unique in Downtown and, potentially, the most unique Hyatt Place in the nation".
Former courtrooms will be converted into nice commons areas including a business center, coffee shop, swimming pools and other things. Hotel rooms will reap the benefits of being in an old court building by offering higher than average ceilings and historic touches throughout. While a hotel room rendering couldn't be provided, Nelson says that the rooms will also offer local vibes ranging from locally sources materials to artwork showcasing some of St. Louis destinations. Nelson also said that all rooms will have great views but the best will be of City Hall and the Gateway Mall.
As for a construction timeline, the Nelson Representative couldn't comment on an exact start date but said that, "Nelson and Vertical Realty Partners plan to start in earnest, sometime next year". She also specified, "some of the design elements of the hotel could change depending on if the Hyatt Place flag stays with the hotel plans. If the hotel brand changes, some interior design elements may change as well, but ultimately, we are aiming for a local feel". The goal is to be open by Mid to Late 2020 and begin the parking garage following.
By. Chris Stritzel - 10 Minute Read Time
On January 20th, 2014, I got a look inside 705 Olive Street, a Louis Sullivan designed high-rise that opened in 1893. At the time I went in, a few offices occupied the building's 15 floors along with a "Pickle's Deli" on the first floor. I remember the condensed lobby and beautiful ceiling. It was the building's design that brought me in because of the little details that were hidden throughout the façade of the building. It was a site for me to see even though the interior was fairly dark and, quite frankly, seemed dirty. Despite that memory of it being dirty, I enjoyed the quick visit and was told by security, and it's amazing I remembered this, that the building was practically empty. That shocked me, but I wasn't totally surprised as the Railway Exchange Building, to the East, just went abandoned the year prior and the Chemical Building, to the West, has been abandoned for sometime.
Fast forward nearly 5 years and I made the return back to 705 Olive Street, now named "Hotel Saint Louis" to take a construction tour with Innkeeper Hospitality Services Senior Vice President, Harry Lunt. The new owners of the building are known in St. Louis and Davenport Iowa. Amy and Amrit Gill, owners of Restoration St. Louis, embarked on an ambitious project to convert the 15 floor building into a hotel in 2015. Now, they are nearly finished and the general contractor, BSI, is putting on the finishing touches of the building, which is expected to open around Christmas. This will be the Gill's third Marriott Autograph Collection project and is their first in St. Louis. The other two are located in Downtown Davenport Iowa and are named "Hotel Blackhawk" and "The Current Hotel". Restoration St. Louis also owns Clayton's "Seven Gables Inn" and have owned other hotels including the Cayman Islands.
The tour started out with me going up into the 7th and Pine garage to get a look at the exterior.
The 5th Floor of the parking garage offered the best look at Hotel Saint Louis. It showcased the new windows and light fixtures shining bright in the building along with giving hints to the interior of the rooms. The view also shows the Rooftop addition made to accommodate an outdoor swimming pool and the FORM Rooftop Bar. As you'll learn and see later, FORM is designed to replicate the original penthouse frame that sat on top of 705 Olive from 1893 to the 1950s. Another interesting change to the historic building is the removal of the arch entry way over the main entrance on Olive.
The old arch has made way for a much larger, and modern, entrance into the hotel's main lobby. Flanking either size of the main entrance will be a Spa (left side) and a Restaurant (right side). Needless to say, the street level of Hotel Saint Louis will be activated and will allow for pedestrians to feel safer when walking on the streets at night. In other words, there is no plain wall that's dark. It will be a bright addition to the corner of 7th and Olive. My tour of the actual construction site began under the historic clock at 7th and Olive where Harry Lunt and I entered the building on 7th into the Restaurant (Union30). You'll learn more on Union30 later on.
Upon walking in, the first thing that caught my eye is the brand new ceiling design. The plaster ceiling has been removed and the dark and dingy feeling, that I mentioned earlier, has vanished. Instead, the room is filled with natural light from the oversized storefront windows. That with the light color choice has made the need for artificial light lower than in other hotels. The design also allows for a free flowing design that allows Union30 to flow seamlessly into the Hotel's lobby and atrium, which connects to the spa. This idea led us onto our next spot to visit, the spa.
Across the lobby will be the spa where people can spend a few hours relaxing. While the spa rooms currently are office space for the construction team, they are practically ready with a few features to be added such as sinks and flooring. Other than that, the spa rooms were oversized with high ceiling heights and tons of floor space and, since the main relaxation rooms are not fronted by the large storefront windows, the rooms will be quite quaint.
Moving out of the spa rooms brings us back to the soaring lobby and Atrium where lots has changed and more will change between now and the opening.
The lobby of any hotel is meant to be inviting and a guest's second impression of the property behind the curb appeal. In both of these categories, I believe guests will be amazed. A new 2 floor atrium soars into the air creating a very airy space with plenty of natural light. The skylight will soon be covered by a mosaic ceiling piece (as seen in the renderings) and will light the lobby up with different colors on bright, sunny days. In the back of the lobby are the restored elevator doors whose brass shines bright once again along with a floor count dial that will tell people which floor the elevators are on.
The lobby will include the restaurant (Union30) that I talked about earlier, a fire place, the hotel check-in and high quality marble finishes. Along with all of this will be a staircase up the second floor where several surprises will be waiting. First and foremost, the corners of the ceiling will have a nice plaster decoration that mimics the building's façade. Second, there will be brass handrails that give a nod to the elevator doors. Third, there will be a coat closet and a business center for guests to the hotel. Fourth, there will be a Club Room for guests to come in and hang out, and fifth, there will be plenty of meeting rooms.
The meeting rooms are a decent size and have views out to Olive and 7th and Downtown in general. They have navy-blue walls and lights that match Hotel Saint Louis' modern vibe. Carpeting will be in these meetings rooms, which is a change from the marble covered lobby. Following this, we headed up to the hotel rooms, or the place where guests will be amazed by the features included and where their experience will take place.
A guest's third impression of a hotel is the actual hotel room. Based on the experience I had during the tour, I can assure anyone that these rooms will be unlike any other in St. Louis. The rooms will have odes to the building's unique design and will have views of surrounding structure's architecture. The rooms feature small chandeliers and navy blue headboards along with wallpaper that showcases the cornice's detailing. Each room will have a unique perspective on Downtown's architecture. The bathrooms are truly oversized with large walk in showers and plenty of space to move around. On top of this, there is a TV in the mirror so you can watch your news or other TV show when getting ready. the bathrooms are also covered in marble.
Guests will enter their rooms with a R.F.I.D. Key-Card. These things have become the standard in the hotel business today. The doors are large and navy blue with brass hinges and handles. They all follow the hotel's design aesthetic. Other hotel rooms include massive two bedroom suites that will have a balcony overlooking the Old Post Office Plaza. Those rooms were coming along fairly well with views that will be one of a kind for a hotel in Downtown St. Louis. The Suites will also include a living room area with a sofa, TV and will have hardwood floors. All of these features and rooms combined truly make this a "St. Louis Style Experience".
For an even better St. Louis Experience, we headed up to the rooftop bar known as FORM and looked around.
FORM is a new addition to the building following the original penthouse framing that was up on the roof for a long time. The "16th Floor" is truly a sight to behold. When you step off of the elevator, you will be greeted with windows that show off Downtown St. Louis, but then you turn left and enter FORM. The bar has a large floor area with windows on all sides offering for abundant natural light and breath taking views of the reimagined Downtown St. Louis. According to Harry Lunt, the large windows facing Busch Stadium will cantilever open allowing for the space to be filled with fresh air from outside on nice days. The view from the top also gives you a new angle to view Ballpark village and One Cardinal Way from, so change on the southern end of the skyline will be very visible from here (if and when it happens).
The type of food that will be served is "small plates". FORM is more or less a place for cocktails and views rather than dinner. The restaurant in the lobby, Union30, is for dinner though. On the other side of the rooftop is the rooftop pool. While still being installed, it will offer just as great views as FORM but will be for hotel guests. The pool will be open in the Summer months. Heading back down, Harry and I walked down the original stair case with beautiful detailing and looked at some of the corridors on the guest floors.
Guest Room Corridors
When you step off of the elevator, you will be greeted with a small sitting area in a bay window. Each "elevator lobby" will have it's own chandelier and will be a great meeting place for guests and a place to sit and read the news. As for the general hotel room hallways, they are nice with a majority of them looking out into the center of the "U" shape building". This offers plenty of natural light during the day and offer privacy at night. No two hotel rooms look into each other offering desired privacy by hotel guests. However, whose to say the Chemical Building and Railway Exchange restorations change this? Overall, I like the hotel room corridors, they are modern, light and airy, all are three things are something you would expect in today's hotel standards.
Tour Wraps Up
As the tour came to a close, we headed down into the basement, a place where very few, if any, guests will ever see. The basement is being completely redone to house the hotel's general offices, housekeeping stations, a kitchen and other things vital to operating Hotel Saint Louis. We walked through a very large and spacious kitchen with all of it's appliances set in place. The appliances were top of the line ones, as one would expect in a luxury hotel. The kitchen will serve the Union30 restaurant as there isn't enough room for a full size kitchen in the lobby. A new elevator has been installed to move the food from the basement to the lobby restaurant in a safe manner (no walking up steps).
To wrap the tour up, we went into the ballroom. The new addition, near Locust, will allow for events with a maximum capacity of 300 people. The ballroom has high ceilings and will be filled with luxury elements to make it a true, luxury hotel ballroom. Currently, it is a storage area for things going in to the lobby and hotel rooms. One original piece of the building's interior stands as the entrance to the ballroom. A large marble entrance greets visitors to the ballroom's pre-function area, which is spacious as well.
I personally think that Hotel Saint Louis will stick out among the crowded Downtown Hotel market. From the amenities offered to the room's and common's areas design to the odes to the past makes this hotel truly unique. In today's hotel world, it appears more and more chains are moving towards a "local vibe" where the local culture is magnified through design and the way a property is managed. Even though Hotel Saint Louis is part of the national Marriott chain (under the Autograph Collection), it has a very local vibe to it, and that's expected as Restoration St. Louis is a company based right here in St. Louis. They know what is local and isn't and that is the joy of the Autograph Collection. You don't have a brand rule to follow, you create what you feel is right for your market.
If I were looking for a job, I would want to work here as you'll be part of a experience that not only grows your knowledge of hospitality, but will also allow you take part in the renowned Midwestern Hospitality segment and be the face of Downtown's newest hotel. Hotel Saint Louis is a stand out and faces tough competition from nearby hotels (both under construction and operational) but it has an advantage going for it, location! Easy connections to Metro, close to Washington Avenue, a short walk to the Arch or Gateway Mall and medium length walk to the up and coming Ballpark Village.
Overall, I look forward to seeing this hotel open and activating another building in Downtown St. Louis. The next projects on Olive Street include the Chemical Building restoration (250 Apartments) and the redevelopment of the Railway Exchange Building (mixed use). Both projects will activate what is currently a dull stretch of Olive from Broadway to 8th. Hotel Saint Louis is a start to activating the stretch, but it will take more development.
I would like to thank Innkeeper Hospitality Services Senior Vice President, Harry Lunt, for giving me a tour of the hotel on October 22nd. I can't wait to see it open in December and hear the reception from guests on it. It is a great reuse to an iconic building in Downtown St. Louis and one fitting to it's design.
See the dream and compare it to the above images.
Link to Hotel Saint Louis' Website (CLICK HERE)
By. Chris Stritzel
I do not live in Illinois, so I can't vote for anyone there, but I can see the circus that is taking place on the Governor's race side of things and decided to write about the race. Incumbent Bruce Rauner is up against J.B. Pritzker whose family owns the Hyatt Corporation. So I dug into Rauner, Pritzker and Libertarian Candidate, Kash Jackson, and have written a small write up about the state of the race since politics, to me, is fun to watch. What makes this even better is, as I said before, I don't live in Illinois! So I can write about the circus without having to choose sides. Let's start.
Bruce Rauner: He upset former Governor Pat Quinn in the 2014 election by winning all but one county in the State of Illinois. That one County is Cook County. Rauner labeled himself as an outsider whose ideas could lift Illinois out of it’s corruption, grow the job base and take down Mike Madigan’s Machine. He also pledged to reduce taxes. Yet, since 2014, almost every single one of these promises has been broken. Jobs are leaving the state, the State House passed a tax hike last summer, Corruption is running rampant and Madigan’s Machine still runs the state. A large swath of the Republican base in the state is also angry at Rauner for signing a bill into Law that funds abortions with tax payer dollars.
All of the above issues made an ultra Conservative Candidate jump into the Republican Primary race in the state. Her name is Jeanne Ives. She walked away from the Primary with 49% of the vote compared to Rauner’s 51%. The closeness of the race symbolized just how far Rauner’s popularity has fallen. Ives has refused to endorse Rauner, which isn't a surprise and has left her supporters and voters looking elsewhere.
J.B. Pritzker: J.B. was caught on a wiretap taking with former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, about selling Obama’s Senate seat and on a race issue within the Illinois Government. On top of this, Pritzker got unwanted media coverage when Hyatt Hotel employees, in Chicago, held a strike due to the lack of a new Union deal. Pritzker himself has ridden the high road this entire election however due to an energized democratic base in Illinois. However, his ideas are not sitting well with conservative voters in the State who dread J.B.’s “Progressive Income Tax” and “Road Tax”. The addition of the two tax ideas seem to be bringing trouble.
On top of this, Pritzker has been ridiculed for his support of “Obamacare 2” and communication with former Governor Blagojevich. He came out on top in a Democratic Primary of 6 Candidates and garnering 45% of the vote. His nearest competitor, Daniel Biss, picked up 27% of the vote, a margin of victory for Pritzker of +18%.
Kash Jackson: Mr. Jackson, a Libertarian, seems to be in a hole in all of this. He is simply being overlooked by many as Rauner and Pritzker shovel their own money into the political advertisement furnace. Jackson wants to pause taxes, limit government, relieve certain incarcerated individuals of petty-crimes and legalizing Marijuana. However, he has his share of problems and the biggest is the fact he didn't pay his wife’s child support and could've ended up in Prison. Besides that, there really isn't nothing wrong with him besides not being known (name wise).
THE RACE: According to polls, Rauner is in trouble. From the problems mentioned earlier and the energized democratic base, Rauner is the for sure Republican governor to go “bye-bye” in 2018. Rauner is trailing Pritzker by 18% with Pritzker’s lead growing weekly. Jackson is currently standing at an average of 5% with 17.8% of the electorate voting for someone else or undecided. In all, the race is in Pritzker’s favor and he’ll have to screw up big time to blow a victory on November 6th.
Rauner has a trail of broken promises, Pritzker has a dark background with ideas that won't make Illinois prosper and Jackson has no chance at winning at all. It’s just the facts but ultimately, the people of Illinois will decide who they want to eb the face of their state on November 6th.
DEMOCRATIC GAIN: +12% Gain from November 2014
By. Chris Stritzel
With the construction of the Steelcote Lofts project fully underway, this sleepy industrial area is heating up in terms of new development. With SSM's SLU Hospital a block a way, the soon to be unveiled project at Chouteau and Grand and the Armory only a few blocks away, this industrial area is the place to be. The area is showing signs of movement away from industrial to residential with the first two projects ready to leave their mark. The Steelcote Lofts project is already leaving its mark by removing the old windows and vandalism that once adorned it's façade and now, the Columbia Oil Building (7 Steelcote Square) will receive some love by Pier Property Group.
PPG is a St. Louis based company who is redeveloping the Woodward and Steelcote Buildings in the Grove and Midtown. The Columbia Oil Building would be their third project. The name of the project is "Steelcote Crossing" and will include 15 Micro-Lofts spread out across the 17,000SF building. A new feature in this building, and not included in the Steelcote Lofts building, a retail space for a micro-brewery or distillery. The brewery or distillery will have a nice patio separating the Steelcote Lofts from the Crossing development. Parking for the lofts will be at the Steelcote parking lot to the North of the Steelcote building. In addition to this, Pier Property Group (PPG) names Steelcote Crossing's amenities such as, "oversized floor-to-ceiling window bays, polished concrete floors, stone countertops, unobstructed views of downtown St. Louis and immediate access to Saint Louis University". Sounds familiar to the Steelcote Lofts project but they are being developed by the same person, so it's expected.
The cost of the project is hovering around the $4 Million mark. The architecture firm is Trivers. Trivers has designed the restoration for the neighboring Steelcote Building and the Woodward Building at Tower Grove and Vandeventer so it makes sense that PPG would choose them for their third project. As far as a timeline goes, I haven't heard back from PPG but my guess would be that the Steelcote Crossing project wraps up sometime towards the end of 2019 or even early 2020.
As far as future development goes in this part of the city, which is dubbed "Mill Creek Valley", I see more things being built here over time. With all of the other projects going on nearby, the possibility of new residential and hotel construction in this manufacturing area is soaring with the Steelcote Project being the pioneer here. The numerous older brick warehouses make for good retail and restaurant space and the abundance of parking and vacant lots makes this area ripe for new development. SLU Development Corporation controls this area in their development plan so whatever happens here will most likely be decided by SLU. They even renamed this area as "Prospect Yards" to symbolize the changes to come.
To start, the Steelcote Lofts and Crossing projects are welcome (53 Loft Apartments combined) and I look forward to seeing what else comes later on in this specific area (bounded by Grand-Chouteau-Edwin-Railroad tracks).
This project was originally uncovered by St. Louis City Talk's Mark Groth. You can read Mark Groth's story HERE.
By. Chris Stritzel
Originally proposed in November 2016 (but revealed in February 2017), the Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel would rise on the site formerly occupied by Harry's Bar. Richmond Heights based developer, Equis Hotels, planned the $20 Million hotel and enlisted the help of St. Louis based Chiodini Architects to design the new hotel. The site chosen is an interesting one as it is extremely narrow and long. It's also odd as it sits along the 22nd Street Interchange, but that may soon change as you'll see later on. The hotel was proposed around the same time the first MLS2STL group unveiled their plans for a publicly financed stadium at the 22nd Street site. The hotel wasn't included in the site plan for said Stadium and caused a issue for the ownership group and Equis as the two had no known communication with each other.
Fast forward to now, the original MLS2STL ballot measure failed and the Fairfield Inn project just received it's first building permit valued at $11 Million. The project moving forward presents a different vision than what was originally unveiled in February 2017. Those plans called for a rather suburban looking hotel of 5 floors overlooking the 22nd interchange. Now, those plans have seemed to have grown to a 7 floor hotel. The 6th and 7th floors appear to be for some overlook feature which means that Chiodini and Equis are taking the potential MLS Stadium into play here. As we all know, a new soccer group was formed by the Taylor and Kavanaugh families of St. Louis last week. They plan to build their own stadium on the 22nd Street interchange by 2022 if things go according to plan.
The new MLS Group must've been in communication with Equis and Chiodini as far as design goes. The fact that a overlook has been added to the hotel symbolizes a move to capitalize off of the MLS Stadium long before it even breaks ground. Plus, the proposal to build an MLS Stadium here would require it to be repositioned from what was originally unveiled by the MLS2STL group in 2016. If it isn't repositioned, a redesign is in order to keep Equis' investment safe and wise. This could also be considered the first instance of development surrounding the stadium.
The Fairfield Inn comes as Marriott is greatly expanding their portfolio into urban centers and Downtowns. For Downtown St. Louis, Marriott's recent additions include the Marriott Grand and Courtyard Hotel on Washington and the soon to open Hotel Saint Louis at 705 Olive. The Fairfield Inn joins those hotels in it's neighbor, the Courtyard Hotel and whatever hotels Marriott is planning for downtown St. Louis. Parking for this $20 Million hotel will be in a two floor structured parking garage whose capacity stands at 110 spaces, the room count stands at 125.
Since the building permits were implemented on October 3rd, construction has started with site-prep work ongoing. According to Equis, the goal is to have the hotel open by Late 2019/Early 2020.
Downtown's Hotel Boom
Since 2015, the following hotels have been announced, and many, have begun construction. Here are the names...
The Last Hotel on Washington: 142 Rooms
Live! By Loews: 216 Rooms
Hotel Indigo: 86 Rooms
Hotel Saint Louis: 140 Rooms
Hyatt Place: 150 Rooms
Fairfield Inn and Suites: 137 Rooms
AC Hotel @ the Jefferson Arms: 200 Rooms
TOTAL ROOM COUNT: 1071 Hotel Rooms by 2021 (so far).
The question right now is, "how many more hotels can Downtown St. Louis support?". Well, it's hard to tell. We are almost certain to receive a large hotel in the Railway Exchange Building but that's basically it. We've seen the Millennium Hotel close and currently, it appears the City Place Hotel (former Crowne Plaza) is the next to go. The Red Lion (former Sheraton) isn't doing to well either so only time will tell who stays and who goes in the Downtown hotel market.
The Current Site
By. Chris Stritzel
In what is clearly described as a “conceptual development”, Meridian Hospitality Group is envisioning a multi-building development just North of Downtown in the Carr Square neighborhood. The buildings are planned on lots currently owned by Paul McKee, but as that deal collapses, other developers look to capitalize on the area that has so much potential. Meridian, a Cleveland based firm, is co-developing this with Berkeley-Calhoun of Hyattsville, Maryland. Both are minority owned businesses and have a record of working in depressed neighborhoods while creating vibrant communities. This planned development is part of a 20 year contract to rebuild multiple city blocks near the “Preservation Place Apartments”. It is also envisioned just a block or two from the future Northside-Southside MetroLink line meaning that this could be the first example of TOD (Transit Oriented Development) on the Northside.
Besides the TOD factor, it also brings a good amount of density to the area. Buildings of 8 floors each (office and residential) are compacted onto lots with retail and restaurants at the base of them to provide a community meeting place. Generous open areas between the buildings allow for leisure and more gathering space. Elsewhere, green roofs are meant to showcase the environmentally sustainable new construction, something that is becoming more and more common in St. Louis and across the nation. It also makes the buildings roofs look better when viewed from the sky.
The new buildings are designed to be Affordable Housing. Doing so allows for many more people to live in brand new buildings than what is currently going up around town. There will also be some office space which is welcome to make this a truly dynamic area. If this and the MetroLink line are built (remember, this is conceptual), people living and working here will have the option to live and work in a car optional neighborhood. The Carr Square development has the potential to reduce crime as great security measures will be put in place to keep criminals way. Doing so will make people feel safer when walking around this area at night or at anytime of the day. It will also make the experience more enjoyable. This project will give motorists, coming across the Stan Span, a new look that shows progress rather than a suburban grocery store and gas station.
The current site (bounded by 13th, Biddle, 14th and Cass) isn't home to many businesses which makes this a prime redevelopment area. Only a few businesses exist such as a car work shop, Kram Fish, a Church and a city office. The preliminary site doesn't include a car dealer but that could change as the option is available to acquire the car dealer and some other buildings. All of the businesses listed above are ageing and, in some cases, add to neighborhood blight. While the loss of Kram Fish is sad, there is always a brighter future ahead for the neighborhood as we can see in this conceptual proposal.
The good greatly outweighs the bad in this situation as we can see.
What appears to have been designed earlier this year, the project will bring some much needed new development in a depressed neighborhood. A project like this brings hope, new faces, much needed safety and it becomes a landmark the moment it is completed. The Carr Square Development is a multi phase project. The development's first phase consist of three buildings...
1A: Residential and Retail
1B: Office, Residential and Retail
1C: Office, Residential and Retail
Phase 2 could continue down to Cole Street but that is way into the future.
As stated earlier, this development is just a concept right now. Because of this, there is no defined timeline or rough cost estimate for the project besides the “20 year” contract, whatever that means. The Carr Square development may not even be built as envisioned which is ok considering the factors. Even though this project isn’t as urban as many of us would like to see, it is a start and that's really all that matters. The Carr Square development though has the key pieces to be a vital piece in the urban revitalization of the City and the renaissance of the greater Downtown area. Those include retail, density and future proximity to the MetroLink line (transit).
It’s developments like this that are getting me excited for the future of St. Louis in the Post-McKee era. Developers are stepping up and something like this may be the first instance of a dense development on the Northside in years, if ever. Once the MetroLink line is funded and begins construction, I could see more developments popping up around the line to truly energize the Northside, all of which would be dense and be a neighborhood to themselves. As for this project, it is a bold start to the race rebuild the Northside and bring the communities back that once thrived there but in a new way.
In the end, I hope to see this materialize as presented but if not, I’ll be happy if anything gets built (which I am sure something will).
Here you can find a map of the location, a site plan and two additional renderings not featured in the main part of the story. The Google Map was created by me, in this map, the Red is additional land, Blue is Phase 1 and Gold is Phase 2.
Please Note: These renderings were used under permission of Meridian Hospitality Group.
THIS STORY WILL BE UPDATED.