By. Chris Stritzel
In March, I wrote a story titled "2018: The Year the New St. Louis Story Began". It was a story that I wrote to detail how we are changing as a city and region. I detailed that the worst neighborhoods began to change while development has become more widespread in the region. Now, as 2018 comes to an end, I look back on the year that brought us numerous surprises while being uniquely St. Louis. I have chosen the 12 most important projects announced this year (in my view) that are also my favorites and listed them in a random order. All are equally important. The order is 1 (oldest) to 12 (newest).
This is the 2018 Year in Review and this is how our new story began.
1. City Hospital by Pearl
The last buildings in the former City Hospital complex are currently being redeveloped by Indianapolis based Pearl Companies. I wrote about this in February and was 3 months ahead of the rest of the media in writing about it. The development comes as Pearl plans to expand their footprint in St. Louis. This project brings their expertise in historic building redevelopment to St. Louis ny creating a new building, out of s shell of the old, with 72 apartments and luxury amenities. This development is included in this list as it strengthens the surrounding neighborhood along with redeveloping the last abandoned buildings in the City Hospital Complex. So it's a win in a more than one way.
2. AC Clayton Hotel
This project came out of nowhere and has the potential to be something truly great. As Marriott continues their aggressive expansion into the St. Louis market, the AC Branding is playing a key role. The former Clayton Police HQ has been eyed for an hotel since last fall and nothing beats seeing the actual plans. The 12 floor hotel will be the first new hotel in Downtown Clayton in 30 years and will come equipped with a rooftop bar. The hotel will also be located block North of the MetroLink station for Clayton. This is being developed by Montana based Homebase Partners. This project made the list as it strengthens an already strong Downtown of the region and builds off of a TOD factor with the MetroLink a block away. The hotel will also help quench the strong demand for hotel rooms in the region, and in particular, Clayton.
3. Grandview Arcade
It's been a while since people graced the hallways of South Grand's Melba Theater (Grandview Arcade) building. Garcia Properties is acting as the developer and has a track record of getting things done. As of this writing, the project has began with a yellow tube draped out of the southern windows. When completed, in Late 2019, 20 apartments will fill the building and will help grow the Gravois Park neighborhood among others. Additional work space will be included to strengthen the South Grand district as it continues it's march Southward to Chippewa.
4. Lafayette Square
This was an unexpected development as the plans showcase a forward thinking development that takes into consideration the Northside-Southside Line before it is even built. The "Chouteau Corridor Redevelopment" will consist of a mega development with offices, apartments, retail space, a hotel, green space and parking that spans across 7 city blocks. While no official renderings have been released yet, it's safe to say that the development will look great since HOK is the architecture firm. The development will not only strengthen Lafayette Square but also make Chouteau pedestrian friendly. It will also remove large vacant lots and rundown things that are an eyesore for this sector of the city.
Leasing for the space is currently underway by Balke Brown-Transwestern.
5. Koman's Cortex K
Koman's plans for the corner of Sarah and Clayton were made public this year. The development, dubbed "Cortex K" makes it onto this list because of how it will displace a large lot in between Cortex and the Grove while bringing life to this normally dead corner. It further makes it onto this list due to the substantial amount of new office space included here. The first phase features the office building (see above). That office building should be completed by Early 2020 despite advertising saying Q4 2019. Future phases will consist of parking, residential and more office space. I personally like this project as it will help break up the industrial look of this part of Cortex that runs along I-64.
6. 3201 Morgan Ford
The Tower Grove South neighborhood is mixed on this project as it replaces a vacant lot to add to the dense neighborhood but fails to add affordable housing to the neighborhood. Some also believe that it will be a nuisance. The building, designed by JEMA and to be developed by AHM, juxtaposes new and old in design. The team is also behind MOFO a block North at 3172 Morgan Ford. The project makes it onto this list as it strengthens a neighborhood, eliminates a vacant lot and preserves a historic corner building. As of this writing, construction has yet to begin as all hands on deck are at the MOFO development.
7. Elevate Coworking on Delmar
A true early October surprise is what this project is. While small, it will redevelop an older building on Delmar just Northeast of the popular, and ever growing, Euclid business corridor. The coworking and event space, known as Elevate, will help improve the aesthetics of this part of Delmar and change it overall along with the Field's Foods Store at the Lofts@Euclid Building and Tom Saur's "Solire Apartments" across the street. The development will help educate the neighborhood's youth to do great things for the betterment of their own, and the city's, future according to Elevate. Construction has yet to begin on Elevate and the Solire Apartments (which were announced January 1st 2018).
8. America's Center Expansion
It's no secret that we have been losing conventions do to the America's Center showing it's age and lack of space. In October The Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) unveiled plans to expand the convention center to be more competitive to markets of similar size. When it was unveiled, I was surprised, but I shouldn't have been as it has been brought up in the past. In addition to more space, a park, new ballroom, updates to the entrances and a future parking and retail garage, this expansion will remove some parking lots behind Washington making that area a bit more inviting than what it currently is which I like as it is sort of a forgotten area.
9. Crestwood City Center
On September 11th, news got out that Walpert Properties was looking to buy, and redevelop, the former Crestwood Mall site. It wasn't until mid-October that we got to see these plans in all their glory. It's a mega development that will consist of new office space, retail space, residential units, a movie theater, parking and a Pharmacy among other things. The development seems like a much larger version of the Streets of St. Charles, only designed around a center street. Remiger Design is the architect of this project and it made the list because of the eyesore that it will eventually replace. In my view, it will also fill a void left by the now demolished Crestwood Mall.
I personally like this as I have been waiting to see something go in here, and this matches my expectations for the site.
10. Downtown West Collaboration Center and Park
This was a true surprise as I thought a garment factory was planned at 22nd and Washington. To my surprise, this nice project came along and is envisioned by Abbott Properties of Kansas City. Abbott has had great success in redeveloping buildings in KC's Crossroads District, so it was no wonder that they would embark on a project of similar scale to what they are used to. The $32 Million project will redevelop 5 Downtown West buildings into office space and retail space while creating a new park and parking lot. This development has a lot of good going for it which is why it ended up on this list. The project goes well with the eventual Tire Mart redevelopment and will help strengthen the Locust Street corridor especially with Midtown Village (The Jefferson Connector) coming to life a few blocks away.
11. Forest Park-Debaliviere TOD
I was surprised when I saw this as the Pearl Companies were immediately behind it. The Debaliviere strip, as it stands, is pretty boring but this project will surely change it. The $70 Million investment will displace a car centric strip mall and parking lots while adding 264 apartments and 34,000SF of retail space to the neighborhood along with an underground parking garage. It presents St. Louis City with a great example of TOD (Transit Oriented Development) and moving forward, I see other developers trying to emulate this project's design and scale so something like the Sunnen Station Apartments doesn't end up happening again.
This spot is reserved for whatever project is announced In December that I like and will benefit the community in some way.
Where we are.
So here we are. St. Louis is undergoing a dramatic change that is shaping our future. Abandoned buildings are going away for something new or they are being resorted. Cranes dot the region, especially in the Central Corridor, as they erect new towers and buildings that are sure to improve our looks. Elsewhere, smaller developments are under construction and are improving neighborhoods in more than one way. And while we know that there are problems with some of these new developments (TIFs and Abatements), we can all agree that they are adding something great to St. Louis as a whole.
This whole development cycle in general has brought more change than the 2000s boom. This specific boom started in 2012 and has been going for 6 years with each additional year bringing more and more developments of a wide ranging scale. Some neighborhoods are beginning to shows signs of enhancement as people make returns to them. Two of these are on the Northside and are Hyde Park and Old North St. Louis. These two neighborhoods are on the upswing and are continuing their revitalization. Other Northside neighborhoods could boom soon if things keep going the way they are. Carr Square, Baden and Riverview appear to be next for some development especially with developers growing their interest in these neighborhoods.
So what's in store for 2019? Well, I see this cycle start to cool down as a majority (70%) of the proposed projects that we have currently will start but the remaining 30% will most likely be cancelled or revised and make a return in the early 2020s. Developers may want to wait to see how the market does handling all the new office, hotel and residential space coming online before deciding what to build next.
Back when this website was young, I said that every 20 years St. Louis sees buildings proposed that are fairly tall and transformational. I think that this will happen in the 2020s with the first instance appearing in Late 2019. Some of you may be thinking, "well we have some pretty tall buildings going up right now", and while you're correct it's not like what the 20 year cycle shows. We have to remember that in the 2000s, we had proposals for multiple high-rises in Clayton, CWE and Downtown with the most notorious being McGowan's 1000FT tall tower (which many say was a fantasy). While we won't see anything of that height, we could see something cross over, or be proposed 500FT for the first time since the Eagleton Courthouse was completed.
While it is hard to tell what Koplar may be thinking in the Central West End or what Centene may be thinking in Clayton or whatever developer may be planning something, I have been told by multiple people that Alterra may pull the trigger on their Riverfront Tower which would be 50 Floors and top out over 550FT. Depending on who I asked, it ranges from 550FT-635FT. This is key to what we may see as these people were on the project's team, or were made aware of it, at some point or another. So a 2020s boom of tall buildings isn't astronomical, it's just who will start it and where.
But for now, the 2019 landscape will shape what happens in the 2020s and 2018 set the stage for things to watch out for in 2019. Now, whose to say this boom will end unexpectedly from a recession or some other form of crisis? The economy is doing well right now and while we are do for a correction overall, it's safe to say that we will still remain in good standing for a little while longer which would allow for the current cycle to wrap up and open the door for the 2020s.
This has been the 2018 Year and Review, thanks for reading.
Story not completed yet. Waiting on December to wrap up.
By. Chris Stritzel
Prior to the Great Recession, Equis Hospitality had plans to develop a second hotel and parking garage next door to the University Club Tower in Richmond Heights and East of the Galleria. After several design revisions, concepts and other things related to development, this project is now moving forward. Originally meant to be a Westin Hotel, this modestly sized building will form a decent sized street wall along Clayton from 170 to Brentwood Boulevard. The current plans call for a 10 Floor hotel, designed by S+P architects of Clayton, parking garage and retail space at the base of the hotel.
The hotel, whose brand has yet to be named, was approved by the city of Richmond Heights today according to Doug Miner’s 40 South News. The branding is supposed to be an “upper upscale” hotel according to Greg Mullenix. Equis will be entering into negotiations next week with two hotel brands to decide which flag this property will fly under. Most likely, the hotel brands will be Marriott and Hilton as those two have been developed by Equis. Before being cancelled in the wake of the 2008 recession, this development (and the neighboring Homewood Suites) was to be known as “the Fountains”. No word on whether that name will be brought back for this phase of the development or if something new will be the name.
While the project has been a long time coming, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to many as Equis has been working hard on trying to get something built on this prominent grass lot known as "Lot A". Equis is also planning to enhance and renovate the existing Homewood Suites. The total cost of the development will top out at $60 Million. Of that money, Mullenix says that a large piece financing is in place and that construction will begin in February 2019. Construction should wrap up in late 2020. Below is an older rendering showing the hotel design pre-recession.
This story will be updated with additional renderings and information when they become available.
Click the button below to read Doug Miner's Story on 40 South News.
By. Chris Stritzel
In a few years, the area around the Forest Park-Debaliviere MetroLink Station will look radically different. Indianapolis based Pearl Real Estate Fund (Pearl Companies) is planning a $70 million project that will consist of 34,000SF of retail space and 265 apartments along with an 342 space underground parking garage. The garage will be shared with Metro for the Station. A strip mall (owned by a private entity) and two parking lots owned by Bi-State, will be replaced by this dense and incredibly vital development.
The project was forwarded after Bi-State approved of the parking lot’s development to the Pearl Companies on Friday November 16th. It’s not clear whether Bi-State will sell the lots or lease them to Pearl. Pearl also owns the strip mall that was acquired through a separate transaction. Either way, this development is going to be a true game changer for this part of the city and could eventually lead to more development along the Debaliviere strip (Delmar to Forest Park Parkway).
As it currently stands, the area surrounding the MetroLink station is depressing. Parking lots and half-assed landscaping give this area a boring and downright depressing feel. With the addition of 265 apartments and the 34,000SF of retail space, this area will become more lively and will invigorate the Debaliviere Strip. The addition of the space also breathes a breath of modern architecture into a neighborhood identified by it's brick structures. The project also bookends the dense Pershing Place Street. The feel on Pershing makes you feel like you’re in another city so a new project like this will help keep that feel alive despite being on Debaliviere and bookending Pershing.
Another interesting tidbit is that this project is located directly along the Loop Trolley line. This project wasn’t designed around the Loop Trolley but rather the MetroLink which is to be expected as the Loop Trolley is more of a tourist attraction than a public transpiration method. According to the Post Dispatch, Pearl Companies’ Jeff Tegethoff, expects this Development to be a catalyst for future TOD at MetroLink stations and will change the narrative on TOD. No name has been given to the project as of yet.
The Pearl Companies expect to break ground in the third quarter of 2019 and wrap up in late 2020/early 2021 depending on how quick construction goes. Trivers is acting as the architecture firm. No contractor has been named for the project as of yet, but it is expected to be Raineri construction considering how Pearl has used Raineri for their other projects in the region. As stated earlier, the cost of the project is $70 Million and is TOD (Transit Oriented Development).
Other Projects by the Pearl Companies in St. Louis
The Pearl Companies have been investing heavily into St. Louis recently as Jeff Tegethoff is a native to the St. Louis area. Below you will find the names of the other projects in St. Louis along with their price tag and status. The gallery features renderings of those projects.
- Hibernia = $25 Million (Under Construction)
- The Georgian (City Hospital) = $15.5 Million (Under Construction)
- The Pearl @ Wild Horse Creek = $75 Million (Proposed)
- Forest Park/Debaliviere = $70 Million (Proposed)
TOTAL INVESTMENT: $185,500,000
By. Chris Stritzel
The dynamic evolution of the Grove continues with a project originally proposed in August 2016. The corner of Chouteau and Taylor avenues is going to look different by March 2020 thanks to a 3 Floor apartment building being re-proposed to the Park Central Development Group. The small project will be a nice corner filler for the Grove and will complete the development of block bounded by Taylor-Chouteau-64-Newstead. Developer All Above Development LLC plans to construct the 3 floor structure beginning in March 2019 according to the latest Park Central Development Committee Agenda. The project will not ask for incentives from the city.
The 3 floor building could technically be called "mixed use" as there are 7 apartments (6 on the upper two floors and one on the first) and a small, 500SF non-residential space on the first floor which could be used for a café. There will be 10 parking spaces as part of this project, 4 covered and 6 on a parking lot. All Above Development recently completed the Home2 Suites Hotel and the Aventura Apartment Complex located directly next door to this specific project while also completing townhouses at Tower Grove & Chouteau. Another project not affiliated with All Above is Station G's new office in an old Laclede Gas building. 4475 Chouteau will also add to the street wall on Taylor even though the developments are suburban by design.
The new building is recommended for neighborhood support and approval by Park Central. The design, while minimal on brick, seems poised to fit in with the neighborhood more than the other development nearby as it is built directly up to the street corner. While it is a small project (extremely tiny), it will add to the continued growth and revitalization of the Grove. Total cost of 4475 Chouteau: $1.35 Million. Parker Associates of Tulsa Oklahoma is the architecture firm.
The Grove's Boom
Here is a list of projects on going, proposed or slated for the Grove.
By. Chris Stritzel - 15 Minute Estimated Reading Time
If you've driven, taken a stroll or live West of 14th Street in Downtown West, it's no secret that there is construction work going on at the former International Shoe Company Building (1509 Washington). The building is one of the largest on the stretch of Washington from 14th to 18th only to be beaten by the Ely Walker Lofts in sheer size. Constructed in 1910, The I.S.C.O Building is a symbol of an era gone by in St. Louis and that era was our "fashion" days. Washington Avenue was once home to numerous fashion companies producing clothes and shoes. The name given for Washington Avenue is known as "the Garment District". While the St. Louis Fashion Fund tries to recreate this historic corridor into a modern version of the days gone by, one project is standing out and that's "The Last" Hotel.
The Last does not mean the literal last hotel in Downtown St. Louis but rather represents a piece of history in the shoemaking business. A "Last" is a wooden form for making shoes. They resemble a human foot thus allowing shoe artisans to create a shoe to a very specific size as defined by the Last. The hotel bares it's name from this, and rightfully so, as this building is called "The International Shoe Company Building". The building is connected to the City Museum by a 9 floor skywalk as the City Museum was once part of the International Shoe Company complex downtown. Even though the two buildings will never reopen the skywalk to the public between them, it remains an icon to those visiting the City Museum and history buffs who know the history of it.
After being unveiled in February 2016 by Fe Equus Development, a company based in Milwaukee Wisconsin, construction didn't officially begin on the $54 Million project until late January 2018. The new hotel venture is Fe Equus' first in the St. Louis area and they've had tremendous success in their one other hotel, the Iron Horse in Milwaukee. According to Google, TripAdvisor and other hotel booking sites, the Iron Horse scores, on average, a 4.7 stars out of 5. Tremendously well for a hotel that opened a decade ago. The same success is planned to be emulated here as the history and rustic-vibe of the I.S.C.O. building shines through to the modern design elements. Every single element has odes to the past while embracing modern finishes.
With all of this said, it was time to begin a "hard hat" tour of "The Last" Hotel on Washington. The actual tour began at the construction office in the City Museum Building and we worked our way down. For the sake of this post, I am going to work my way up for simplicity.
Washington Avenue is St. Louis' premier street showcasing shops, restaurants, lofts, hotels and office buildings so it makes sense that Fe Equus would place their entrances on the street. I said entrances because there are two. One, which is below the "International Shoe Company" sign and is heavily decorated, will be the way hotel guests access the elevators without going through the lobby. The other entrance, which is underneath the "Roberts Johnson & Rand Shoe Company" sign, will flow directly into the lobby. The new addition here will be a large glass canopy as this entrance will be the main one that guests checking in will access the hotel through.
The small details on the street level façade of "The Last" are hard to miss. There are faces and human shapes on the building along with art-deco features. The copper accenting is also unique as each panel follows a distinctive pattern found only on this specific building. The main entrance is flanked by two stately Corinthian columns which is a nice welcome to a hotel that odes a lot of it's design to the past show making business. Let's go inside and get this show on the road.
Once you enter through the main door, the current status of The Last Hotel is anything but ready for it's public debut. In what will be a "grand arcade" when you first walk in is still very much a mess. Crews are repairing the Corinthian columns indoors and framing up walls the bar, kitchens and pantry. Despite all of this work going on, you can still feel how open the space will be once the hotel is open in April 2019. In the panorama above, the door to the left heads out to a small foyer which takes you to the gest elevators. To the slight right of the door, and between the columns, will be the reception desk. The reception desk is set back so that when the public walks in, they don't feel like they are walking into a hotel, they'll feel like they are walking into a restaurant or former shopping arcade.
Straight ahead takes you to The Last's restaurant (Last Kitchen), bar and pantry along with a small mezzanine that overlooks the lobby level. To the far right of the panorama is the building's corner at 15th and Washington. This area will have some TVs, couches, chairs and other things for the public and hotel guests. It will be a sitting area in other words. From here, we head up stairs to the guest room floors, but before the guestrooms, the corridors.
Guest Floor Corridors
Floors 2-9 are guest floors meaning that hotel rooms are on these floors. Each floor has a different perspective on Downtown and even the hotel rooms are different. But the corridors are interesting as well. The Last is a very large building by square footage per floor. Because of this, hotel rooms can only be situated along the 3 outer walls with windows while the interior of the building holds key amenities and operations. Each floor will keep the original elevator door trimming, as seen in the first photo. While the floor dials will not work, they will be set to the floor that you are on. A majority of the floors, six to be exact, will be a unique floor made of repurposed wood from the building, so no new wood had to be produced for this feature. The other two floors will utilize terrazzo flooring.
The actual hallways will have a dark green and cream paint on the walls while the ceilings remain exposed. The exposure of the ceilings is done to allow light to bounce and showcase the unique ceilings. They are unique in the way the concrete has a pattern from the way the floors were built in 1910 by wood planks. Hanging from the ceiling will be lights that will light up the wooden floors the go down the hallway corridors. Towards the end of the guest room corridors is a current atrium. This atrium will not remain as stairs will be built into it to meet the building code. The new stairs will serve all 10 floors.
Some of you may be asking, "what's in the center of each floor?". Well, it depends on what flor you choose.
The Center of the Floors
The center of the guest floors are really the backbone of the hotel operations and amenities for guests. On Floor 9 is perhaps the most unique feature of any hotel in Downtown, it's a screening room. There is literally a small movie theater on the 9th floor that can be rented out for movie screenings and/or special events that require a darker environment and a screen. The entrance to this screening room is surrounded by a brass doorway. The 8th floor is the fitness center for guests. Floors 5, 6 and 7 are the hotel's executive offices where the main offices will be.
Floors 3 and 4 are meeting rooms. These meeting rooms will have the same repurposed hard wood flooring in them along with spotlighting, TVs for conferences and other convenient features found in modern meeting rooms. Floor 2 will be a mixture of storage and housekeeping. Each one of these has two bathrooms outside of the "back door" which is situated on the opposite side of the atrium from me as seen in the corridor section above. The executive offices will have a locker room in them as well.
Now that I've reviewed the corridors and have told you what is in the center of the building, it's time to move into the guest rooms.
The Last Hotel offers 142 luxurious hotel rooms ranging in size from your typical 375SF room to the largest Presidential suite on the 9th floor. A majority of the rooms have fairly large windows which let's an abundance of light into the rooms. The larger windows are found in nearly all rooms while a few have different window designs that add to the vibe of the room. Every hotel room is unique in it's own right whether it is the color of the exposed concrete, the view or the window layout. Each room was designed to be the same but it's because of the last usage of the building that ultimately determines the vibe.
All of the rooms have a vaulted ceiling, which is a feature not found in any other hotel in the region that I can think of. Some of the room's vaulted ceilings are more prevalent than others, but I assure you, they are vaulted. There are two presidential suites in The Last. One is a corner room on the 9th Floor overlooking Downtown (picture with the ladder). The other Presidential Suite is significantly smaller and looks like it was the "boss' office" in the days of the Shoe Making business. But this smaller Presidential Suite offers a truly unique amenity not found in any of the other 141 rooms. That feature is a balcony. It's situated just above the doorway guests will access the elevators through. While my photo is hard to see of the balcony, you get the point.
My tour though did not take me through the single completed room. The room was locked but nearly every single room (I would say 75% of the rooms) in The Last were nearing the phase of simply furnishing them. Carpeting was in, light fixtures were waiting to be installed and finishing touch ups on the paint and trim work still had to be done. Despite this, The Last Hotel published two photos of a completed room on Facebook, which I included below.
From what I saw going in and out of the still being worked on rooms, they will be quite nice and these photos prove it. A large couch, rust colored leather arm chair, small tables, artwork and modern light elements make the sitting area of a room. A large bed and nice size bathroom are included in the rooms but not featured in these photos. Those elements are right behind the frame of the photo. Additional photos of the room are on their way.
With the rooms out of the way, and shaping up to be something quite unique, simple and beautiful, it was time to check out the ballroom area on the 10th floor.
The 10th Floor will soon be the place to go for wedding parties, banquets and company events. Featuring 6 ballrooms on this level, the possibilities are endless. Upon exiting the elevator is a "pre-function" area with a bar and repurposed marble flooring. This side of the building overlooks Downtown South towards Chouteau. The ballrooms range in size form 12 to 200 people and are all situated on this floor of The Last. Also included ion this floor is a catering kitchen and a men's and women's parlor. These will be areas were men and women can use the restroom and get ready for whatever function is about too be held out in the ballroom areas.
The ballrooms will feature exposed structural steelwork and exposed concrete. Partitions will also be available to divide the space. The views from the 10th Floor will be exceptional with walls of windows overlooking Downtown St. Louis. To make the experience even better is that the Corinthian columns will be lit up to accentuate their features at the crown.
Now to the star of nightlife at The Last, the Last Rooftop.
The Last Rooftop
Today, and recently, a crane has been swinging structural steel onto the rooftop of The Last, and with good reason, to construct the rooftop bar and pool deck. The Last Rooftop will be a place to meet, hangout and drink in the heart of Downtown West. Following the rooftop bar trend popping up all over St. Louis, the Last Rooftop aims to differentiate itself from the competition with views and amenities never before seen by the general public. People visiting the rooftop will be greeted with sweeping views of the entire City and Downtown areas. The Last Rooftop will be a place to start or end your night out on the town. Food will also be served here but it will stick to smaller bites rather than full course meals. Full course meals will be served in the Lobby restaurant known as "The Last Kitchen".
On my particular visit, the atmosphere was free of rain, fog, smog and haze meaning that I could see as far as my eyes could see. As seen in the photos below, the views from up here are stunning and will truly make anyone's night. Another Paric project is in the picture, Ballpark Village.
Clean & Green
I mentioned it earlier in this story, the 9 floor skywalk that connects the City Museum to The Last. It's an icon in many ways and Fe Equus looks to improve the aesthetics of it. Since it cannot be demolished without causing numerous problems, it also doesn't make sense. The skywalk is part of the history of the buildings and demolishing it would be a loss. In order to cope with the skywalk, Fe Equus has ambitions to turn it into 9 floors of Sky Gardens. While Jonathan didn't describe to me how they would do it, he says that it is an idea that they are seriously looking into.
With that concludes my tour, but the story doesn't stop there. As I said, there are odes to the building's past life as the International Shoe Company Building in everything from the room ceilings and even to the name. Besides those, Fe Equus took key pieces of the building's exterior design and incorporated them into the hotel's logo and name.
Odes to the Past
- The Last Hotel naming logo utilizes the same font face as seen in the "International Shoe Company" signage over the hotel guest elevator entrance.
- The hotel logo is of a male shoe maker utilizing a "Last" to make his shoe as seen in the interior shot of the vent or over the doors into the guest elevator entrance.
- The lobby will have a "showcase" that shows the public how shoes were made.
- The St. Louis Fashion Fund is having a series of designers design hotel employee clothing that is appropriate to the timeframe of the building (1910s and 1920s).
With that completes this "hard hat tour". Let me know what you think about The Last Hotel in the comments below. Also below are interior renderings and links to social media pages and the Last's website.
Links and Social Media
By. Chris Stritzel
These renderings were posted by 24th Ward Alderman, Scott Ogilvie, on Twitter today. The old Wilkinson School in the Ellendale Neighborhood, has been poised for redevelopment into lofts for a long time and now, there is some serious movement. Ogilvie tweeted that the developer, Advantes Group, would close on the property at 7201 Arsenal, next month. This development is long awaited in terms of it happening with a previous plan from a few years ago died in the financing process.
The development will also bring a new mixed use building with office space and 8 more apartments. Elsewhere, the redevelopment will have a dog park, resident patio and parking. No retail will be include in the development. The redevelopment of the Wilkinson School comes as numerous other school buildings in St. Louis City are being converted into loft style apartments. The most recent one in Ogilvie's Ward is the Gratiot School at Hampton and Manchester. That project truly improved the aesthetics of the surrounding area. Garcia was developer on that project.
Other school to loft projects in the city include the Lyon School in Carondelet, Carr School in Carr Square and Clark School in the Academy Neighborhood. Both of the Northside schools do not have defined timelines as of yet but could come sooner rather than later. Another redevelopment of a significant building, although not a school, will be happening in South Hampton at the former Southampton Presbyterian Church at Macklind and Nottingham.
The Wilkinson School has been vacant for a decade, so redevelopment is welcome. This project will add 37 loft apartments to the city's Southwest side.
Below you will find a typical floor layout In the actual school building and a birds-eye view site plan. Beneath them is Alderman Ogilvie's tweet.
By. Chris Stritzel
Downtown West is poised to receive 7 major projects that will shape it's future or are currently. One is the Jefferson Arms, another is the Hyatt Place at the Municipal Courts, another is a Fashion Incubator Factory, another is a grocery store (Fields Foods) at the Monogram Building, one is the Last hotel, another is the Tire Mart Building and the last one is this nice sized development at 21st and Locust/Washington and 22nd and Locust/Washington. It's a full size block with tons of potential. The developer is Abbott Properties out of Kansas City. the company has left their mark on Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District. Most recently, Abbott Properties has unveiled plans to redevelop the last blighted building on a stretch of Kansas City's Grand Boulevard. That project calls for entertainment and office space just South of the City's bustling Downtown.
In St. Louis' case, Abbott is going big and wants to leave their mark on St. Louis, especially Downtown West. The $32 Million development dubbed "The Locust Collaboration District Center and Park", is just that, a Collaboration Development. There will be nearly 130,000SF of office space for this project, retail space and a park built at 22nd and Washington and 22nd and Locust. The park will replace an overgrown, formerly city owed, lot in Downtown West. Meanwhile, the office space will be geared towards startups and technology companies much like T-REX or Cortex hence the "collaboration" part. This particular site was once considered a location for the Downtown West Fashion Incubator Factory. The news of this development potentially means the factory will have to be moved to somewhere else in Downtown.
The LCRA has yet to review the plans and are recommending a 90% tax abatement on the properties for 10 years according to city documents. However, the buildings are not yet owned by Abbott Properties but all signs indicate to Abbott acquiring the buildings as soon as possible. Another thing included with the plan is adding another floor and rooftop deck to one of the buildings. The addition of the floor likely represents a tenant only amenity. No word on when a start date can be expected but the architecture firm is JEMA.
By. Chris Stritzel
In Early January 2017, the Delmar Loop, and interested individuals in general, got their first look at what was once called "Northgate". The 3 floor development would match the neighborhood's aesthetic of brick and retail space. Now, nearly 2 years since it's unveiling, Pace Properties is moving forward with the project, now named "The Link at the Loop", with a major redesign and a major tenant. That tenant is CVS Pharmacy, which is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. CVS will occupy 10,618SF of ground floor retail space and will become the first pharmacy on the Loop. The redesign includes the loss of the "tower" at Skinker and Delmar and large floor to ceiling windows have been added, along Skinker, to give the building a more modern design.
However, some elements of the original design carry through. An office tenant deck, on the second floor, overlooks the Loop while CVS's drive-thru pharmacy will be topped by 2 floors of office space. The available amount of office space currently stands at 50,000SF. The office entrance will be off of Skinker and will be situated next door to a parking lot built as part of the project. In addition to the 50,000SF of office space, an additional 6,313SF of retail space is available fronting Delmar. In total, the development will bring nearly 70,000SF of new commercial space to the ever growing Delmar Loop.
The Link at the Loop will replace a now vacated Shell Station that brought numerous problems to the Loop and was out of place in neighborhood that has rapidly urbanized in the past decade. Upon the project's completion, in what I believe to be in Early 2020 (despite Pace's website saying Q4 2019), it will activate the second of 4 corners for pedestrians. Plans are also underway for a mixed use building catty corner to this project on the old Church's Chicken lot while AT&T seems not ready to sell their parking lot on the opposite corner. The old cost of the project was put at $30 Million but no word on whether that figure went up based on the redesign. BatesForum is acting as the architect in this project.
For comparison purposes, the old rendering is included below along with the Floor Plans.
By. Chris Stritzel
As many people know, I am in the midst of changing this website from the name everyone has come to know. However, the features remain the same but get more advanced on my end. From webpage design, to features, to the name and even to the font selected, all will be changed. The name is CityScene STL. With the name change comes a big new feature that is technically two, that's a Forum and a Project Database. Up until this point, everyone ahs grown accustomed to my "Project Update" Pages. With this new feature, built directly into the first page of a Forum thread, you'll be able to find renderings and progress update photos. It's a great feature. But the Forum will be more than that, it will be a place to discuss in detail about projects and things going on around town.
When you first open the Forum, you are greeted with a simple, yet effective, layout. Category Images direct you towards threads. If you aren't sure what the picture stands for, the name of the category is located to the right. Underneath the names is a preview description of what's featured in the category. To the right of this are the "Number of Posts" in said category. It helps you see which one has the most threads in it. To access one of the Categories, simply click the image of name and you will be taken to a page that looks like this...
The main category page presents you with a description and the name along with a blown up photo of the category image on the home screen. Each thread has a user's profile photo at the beginning of the title. In my case, it's my real name but users have the oppurtunity to change their profile name under their dashboard (which I'll talk about soon). Next to the profile photo comes the thread title followed by replies, likes and recent activity. Recent activity will never show the name of who last responded to the thread. And, if you get annoyed with the thread, you can click the 3 dots next to the "recent activity" section and click "unfollow post".
Now to the user dashboard. To access the dashboard, you can go to your profile photo in the upper right hand corner of the display in the blue band. You then click on your profile photo to access your dashboard.
You will then be taken to your dashboard where you can do a number of things. If you want, you can have a biography (like mine) so others can learn about you. You'll also have the ability to follow or block someone. Also from this page, you'll be able to access your notifications, update your information and view your posts in the Forum. To change your profile photo or username, simply click the "edit" button underneath your profile photo and username. To be taken back to the Forum, click "Forum" on the blue band at the top of the page.
If you are logged out, there will be a "sign in" button in place of you dashboard access tools that takes you to a screen that looks like this.
Simply place your email and password into the login and boom, you're logged in. If you don't have an account, you'll be able to create one with your Facebook or email account. Ans just like that, you now know the basics of using the Forum. The others are self explanatory from the "create post" button in a category to the "reply" section at the bottom of every post/thread. however, there are other features in the Forum that allow expression in more ways than one, and make the experience fun overall. These features include...
While this is currently a Forum and Database, the website will eventually become the new website replacing this one ("buildingstlnews.com"). This website will become a "archive" while CityScene STL is the successor. Overall, the Forum is more than just features, it's also speed.
Differences Between Urban STL and Skyscraper Page
There are multiple differences with the other Forums being owned by different people. In each case, one has it's pros and cons. I've discovered these pros and kept them but eliminated the cons in order to simplify and retain users. The biggest con I have found is speed and design. While Skyscraper Page blows any forum out of the water with it's insane speed, UrbanSTL does not. Here is a test to compare...
The new CityScene STL Forum, that I am introducing, relies on speed despite being more advanced than Skyscraper Page. Here are the speed test results when the Forum is in development and not running at maximum bandwidth…
When Does This Launch?
I'm sure many people are asking this question right now, and the answer is towards the end of the month. A logo has been commissioned and a few "foundational" threads are still being added to have the Forum ready at launch. Some design bugs are also being squashed. But, if you are very interested in joining and helping lay the foundation, you can click the button below to be taken to the under construction forum and database. You can sign up using the above directions. I'll only allow 10 users on in this development stage with the doors being opened to everyone else around Thanksgiving. If you submit your request after the 10 people have been accepted, you will be given fir priority once the full website launches. In the meantime, you can explore the categories and threads with what has been done.
By. Chris Stritzel
If you've been following along on Twitter, Facebook or even the project update page for Ballpark Village you notice that the office building (Pennant Building) is on it's 7 floor. That's a significant milestone as construction will soon speed up on the building as the concrete based construction will turn to steel. This change will allow the 4 office floors to fly into place and lead to a topping off ceremony before the end of the year which would coincide with the one year anniversary since the start of construction. It's been fun to watch go up but the fun is no where complete as there are still 3 other buildings on site that are under construction or are preparing to start and the eventual cladding process of the Pennant Building. As we enter mid-November, it has been 4 months since a tenant has been announced at Ballpark Village. The last tenant was a "Gashouse Bar and Grill" concept at the Loews Hotel but as my readers know, I have discovered more tenants than officially announced.
That brings us to now. Last year, a rendering appeared showing Rawlings within the development. After disappearing for a year, it has returned and in the same place as before. When this discovery was made, an individual who was familiar with the matter said it could be a "fan experience" much like how Louisville Slugger has an experience for baseball bats. This appears to be on the table again along with Rawlings potentially being the second big name in the Pennant Building. Both of these decisions make sense as a baseball company would most likely prefer to be next door to a major league stadium.
The rendering at the beginning of the story also shows slight design changes such as the removal of the decorative fountain at 7th and Clark and red brick disappearing. The rendering also shows a radical redesign of the OneLife Fitness & Market building. The design has more lines in the glass along with an exterior climbing wall. What still is included is the Leinenkugel's stage, as found in this story, even though it is out of the frame. Another subtly change is the appearance of the baseball sculpture between the hotel and office building as seen in this story from February. Onto the new interior rendering.
Pennant Building's Lobby
In mid-September, I discovered renderings of, what I thought to be at the time, the lobby of the Pennant Building. I was sort of right but not 100% right. Those renderings were posted to Paric's website and gave us our first look inside of the office building. In fact what we were seeing were parking floor lobbies. Basically, if you park on any of the 6 parking floors, you will be greeted with a small lobby with basic sitting areas and elevator lobbies along with a concierge desk. Now a rendering posted to Ballpark villages official website shows the lobby of the Pennant Building.
The main lobby includes soaring floor to ceiling glass and is located at the corner of the 7th Street Pedestrian Corridor and Cardinal Way. The lobby also includes wood accenting and marble accenting. The lobby looks great and is a far cry from the upper floors whose tone changes dramatically (rendering below).
Leaking Phase 3?
It's an absurd sounding statement. Three words that describe everything. Look out the window of the office building's lobby, you will see another building just outside. After reviewing floor plans, I have discovered that the lobby rendering is looking North towards Walnut Street but a good size building is blocking the view of, what would be, the Spire Building. The building appears to go above 4 floors in the rendering and has a design similar to the Loews Hotel before it was redesigned. This could symbolize that the Cardinals and The Cordish Companies are looking ahead to future phases sooner rather than later. I know it is absurd but it would be true in more ways than one.
I specified in a previous story that the website domain for Two Cardinal Way (twocardinalway.com) was purchased. It is a GoDaddy website and Cordish has used GoDaddy in the past, so it makes sense. Plus, the market for new residential space is high right now so another residential building isn't out of the realm of possibilities. On top of this, the overall site plan for Ballpark Village (form leasing materials) shows 3 gray boxes along Walnut. While they are all the same height it shows that those are prime real estate spots for another Phase or 3.
While it is most likely a placeholder for a future building, it seems to be an office building but of what size and height remains the question and the answer to that may not be known till Phase 3 is announced. So, let the rumors begin!
Phase 2 Tenants
Based off of renderings, reports and nods, I can list tenants with 75% confidence.
- OneLife Fitness
- Power and Life Yoga (One Cardinal Way)
- The Gashouse Lounge
- A Market (Culinaria 2)
Office and Hotel Block
- Live! By Loews
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)
- Rawlings (Office & Fan Experience)
- Shake Shack
- Leinenkugel's Stage and Restaurant