By. Chris Stritzel
After the Post-Dispatch and KTVI/KPLR reported that Indianapolis based Pearl Companies will have their 5 floor, 100 unit apartment building completed by the end of the year, I raised my doubts for many reasons. Many are obvious while others are simply speculation at this point in time. Let me list my 3 main doubts about the project before I get to the 3 main hopes that this project could get done in 10 months or less. Let’s get started...
1. Current State of the Site: I checked on the vacant site at 6300 Clayton Avenue Sunday Night. All that was on site was a Excavator and a Small Bulldozer. Nothing else. The lot’s gates were open and about 12 cars were parked there. However, an advertisement that advertises the project’s website was on the fence so that is a good sign.
2. Timeline: If this complicated project can get done in 10 months, I’ll be surprised. The fact that an underground garage has to be built for the residents and even for the general public is what really raises my doubts. You have to dig way underground, put your supports into the ground and then build up which could take anywhere from 3-4 months on a normal project AT BEST. That on top of the grocery store and 4 floors of apartments is going to be a squeeze to get done. It just seems impossible considering that the streets around the site are smaller than most and that there is no way that a entire street would have to be closed for construction.
3. General Stall: This was stalled for sometime and is just now starting. It will happen, but just at a slower pace. There may be some kinks in the construction process that will slow it down from being stalled for a while. We will ultimately see though.
1. Construction: If the city can work with the contractors on the project to fast track this, we can see it done in 10 months. While one piece of construction is underway, another permit should be applied for and fast tracked so that construction doesn’t have to stop at all. Even a day of construction being stopped could derail the hope of this opening by the end of the year.
2. 24/7 Construction: It is HIGHLY unlikely that this tactic will be used when digging a hole for parking and supports along with the neighbors, but it is an action that could be taken to fast track construction. Say if this were to be a 20 month long project typically, 24/7 means it could be a 10 months long project. I don’t see them doing this for the parking but for the residential framing and construction, I could see this being done.
3. High Labor Demands: Maybe the contractors and Pearl Companies already have this one planned, but I doubt it. Have many more excavators and bulldozers and what not to fast track construction along with more human labor. More workers = more things being done at once.
In the end, I am placing bets on residents moving in by Mid-Spring 2019. The Fields Foods market at the base could open by January 2019, but even then, it is cutting it close. I don’t know what will happen here, but we will see. Either way, this project will be significant for Dogtown as it has the possibility of adding 220 residents to the neighborhood if all units are full to their maximum potential. So this project will be a big win for Dogtown. It is also a $25 Million investment into the City by an lout of state developer which is an even bigger win.
Let me know in the comments if you think that HIBERNIA could be done in 10 months. And if so, how?
I contacted the Pearl Companies to get the scoop on this project's timeline. The person who answered me back is Jeff Tegethoff. His answer is that the project will break ground on Thursday March 1st, 2018 at 11A.M. The Company would like the neighborhood to be there to help celebrate this occasion. He then went on to say that "construction should take about 12 months, so a March 2019 completion" but they hope to have the Fields Foods Market opened by late February. Jeff also stated that the Apartment Unit residents will not have to pay additional money to park in the gated garage as it will be included in the monthly rent. Rent is also supposed to be around $1300-$1900 a month.
There will be 89 1 Bedroom Apartments that range in size from 650-800 square feet and 11 Two Bedroom units which will range in size from 1000-1100 square feet. All in all, Jeff says that these apartments will be 10-15% below the common rent in the area which means that residents can save $1000-$2500 per year. On another note, he says that the Pearl Companies are actively looking at putting a second residential building on the City's South Side in a deal worth $15.5 Million and will add 74 apartment units to the St. Louis market.
They hope to have more information on that once HIBERNIA starts to rise. In all, the Pearl Companies will invest more than $40 Million into St. Louis City.