Category: Building & Real Estate

May 24

We Built a Transit-Compatible Place and Removed the Transit

Transit works best when it delivers you to and takes you from the middle of things instead of the edge of things (for example Metrolink in Clayton missed the mark by not putting the station at Central and Forsyth). The Central West End has been the region’s premiere walkable neighborhood for quite some time and has been getting even more walkable. A goal of development, as stated by Alderman Roddy, has been to create car-optional places. We see that in action on Euclid south of Lindell. That’s why it’s regrettable that there is no longer bus service on that part of Euclid.

I asked about it on Metro’s monthly live chat. The #1 bus used to run down Euclid. The route changed due to all the construction. I figured it would return after the Orion and Citizen Park were done. Apparently not. Ray Friem, Executive Director of Metro Transit said,
at this time, Metro does not plan to return the routing of the #1 Gold to its former routing on Euclid. There is considerable difficulty obtaining space for bus stops, and the narrow streets and heavy traffic make bus operations difficult. Instead, Metro is providing service on Taylor.

I say bunk. Catching a bus on Taylor (which is served by the #18) adds at least a 1000 feet (the length of blocks in St. Louis is a whole other problem!) to reach a bus stop from Euclid. Not a burden a transit agency interested in boosting ridership would place on potential riders. Discouraging bus ridership only worsens traffic. It’s safer to walk to a stop and wait on Euclid where there are more eyes on the street than Taylor. Euclid is just as narrow there as it is north of Lindell where it continues to run. There are many obvious places for bus stops. There are several curb bump-outs that could be used.

A stop for the EB #1 used to be at the Schlafly Library. Bus service to a library is a good thing. The curb is painted yellow already so no street parking spots would be lost. A stop for the WB #1 used to be across the street.

Euclid south of Lindell. The WB #1 could stop here if immediately north of Lindell is a no go.

The WB #1 used to stop in front of what is now the Orion. If that’s too hard it could use Laclede instead of West Pine to reach Euclid from Taylor.

A stop for the EB #1 used to be at West Pine.

There are curb bump-outs mid block between West Pine and Laclede that could be bus stops.

Curb bump-outs could be stops for the WB #1 if coming up Euclid from Forest Park Ave or coming west on Laclede. Or put stops on Forest Park Ave that are shared with the 10 and 95.

How about three sets of bus stops? Why do we make this so hard?

About Richard Bose

A nextSTL contributor since 2011, Richard is an Electrical Engineer by profession. He earned a BA in Physics and Economics and an MSEE from Washington University in St. Louis. Richard is a transplant from Central Illinois and has called St. Louis home since 1998. He is Vice President of St. Louis Strong. He can be found on Twitter @Stlunite and contacted at [email protected]

May 21

Loop Trolley Corridor Photo Tour: Delmar from Des Peres to Limit

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Let’s continue our tour of the Loop Trolley corridor heading west along Delmar from Des Peres.
See the first installment: DeBaliviere
See the second installment: Delmar East of Des Peres.

Things pick up as one heads west. There is a lot of litter especially in front of the inactive properties.

Des Peres is blocked for cars, but not bicycles. Townhomes are planned for the lot on the right.

Redevelopment opportunity at 6045 Delmar

{H3 Studio} The Skinker DeBaliviere Neighborhood Plan shows an ambitious vision for redevelopment of the area.

Rosedale Building waiting for new life.

The southeast corner of Rosedale and Delmar. Anyone remember a time when this was active?

Rosedale is blocked south of Delmar

Rosadale south of Delmar is a moonscape. It desperately needs to be repaved. Shame they couldn’t go a few feet into the side streets during the repaving of Delmar. Also the sidewalk repairs didn’t include the texture that the rest of the sidewalks have.

The Everly and Delmar Hall. No word on possible occupants of th retail space in the Everly. The addition of 400 residents on Delmar will hopefully encourage some of the nearby properties to become active.

The Trolley stop at the Pageant. Poles are meant to keep jaydrivers off the platform. None of the stops on Delmar have seating or shelters. Hopefully that will come later.

The fence in front of the former Mt. Olive Church has been up for 10? years. Joe Edwards purchased it and plans to bring it back to life. Hopefully the empty part to the east will get a 2-3 story building. The sidewalk in front is deteriorating. Its assessed value per acre is $504k.

OMG, the tracks are too close to the curb!
Operation Mirror Saver to the rescue!

The blighting boarded-up low-productivity former fast food building at Delmar and Skinker. Closed for four years. Call now! It may become a Ferris wheel. Its assessed value per acre is $297k. The single-story Pinup Bowl across the street is $821k per acre.

How about something like this?

The northwest corner of Delmar and Skinker. The Shell Station’s assessed value per acre is $221k. Pace plans to redevelop it into a pharmacy and two floors of office space above. Pace has been granted eminent domain power to encourage Circle K to give up their lease. Removal of this vehicle magnet would improve walkability.

What used to be at that corner.

The intersection of Skinker and Delmar. Just a year after its reconstruction the paint is fading. The curb cuts are in line with direction of travel. A goal of the trolley is to strengthen the east-west connection here so people view it as the same place. Development on any of the three nontraditional corners would help. The ferocity of traffic on Skinker will continue to be a hindrance.

The barely used parking lot on the southwest corner of Skinker and Delmar. Word is that AT&T won’t sell it for security reasons. The site almost became a Jack-in-the-Box. Its assessed value per acre is $126k.

What used to be at 6200 Delmar. Despite being occupied it was deemed obsolete in the early 1970s.

What used to be at 6208 Delmar.

The AT&T building- tax exempt

Another barely-used parking lot next to the AT&T building. Its assessed value per acre is $124k.

Eastgate at Delmar. Crosswalks are missing.

Awkward crosswalk on the north side of Eastgate and Delmar.

A crosswalk at Limit and Delmar. Before there were no crosswalks between the Tivoli and Skinker.


The Delmar Loop Memorial Puddle and Sometimes Skating Rink has been vanquished! Bless the heart of whomever made this happen!

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May 19

10-Unit Condo Building Proposed for Central West End

The St. Louis City Preservation Board will review a proposal for shoehorning a 10-unit condo building into a long-vacant corner in the city’s Central West End. The Cultural Resources Office is recommending preliminary approval of the project. While only sketches of the project are available, the three-story building shows a residential entrance on Maryland, with garage entrance on the alley to access 10 ground level parking spaces. A Sanborn Fire Insurance map included in the Preservation Board materials depicts residential buildings that once faced Boyle Street.

[4301 Maryland Avenue proposal – Central West End Historic District]

Owner/Applicant:
Lauren and Mark Mathis

Staff Recommendation: That the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval to the proposal, subject to review of final documents, design details and materials by the Cultural Resources Office.

The Project: The applicants propose to construct a ten-unit three story condo building on a single vacant parcel. All new residential construction in Local Historic Districts is brought to the Preservation Board for review on a preliminary basis prior to permitting.

Preliminary Findings and Conclusion:
The Cultural Resources Office’s consideration of the criteria for new residential construction in the
Central West End Historic District Standards led to these preliminary findings:

  • The proposed site for construction, 4301 Maryland Avenue, is located in the Central West
    End Local Historic District.
  • The siting, scale, proportions, roof shape, and exterior materials comply with the
    Standards.
  • The building’s floor heights, water-table, and foundation do not line up with the
    neighboring property due to the ground floor garage.
  • The setback along Maryland cannot be followed due to the shape of the parcel.

Based on the preliminary findings, the Cultural Resources Office recommends that the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval for the proposed new construction with the condition that final drawings, design details, and exterior materials be approved by the Cultural Resources Office.

About Alex Ihnen

Alex is the owner and editor of nextSTL.com. He earned a B.A. in Journalism and Masters in Public Affairs at Indiana University and has studied in Adelaide, Australia and Perugia, Italy. Alex can be found on Twitter @alexihnen and reached at [email protected]

May 19

Friday Live Chat – nextSTL

Alex is the owner and editor of nextSTL.com. He earned a B.A. in Journalism and Masters in Public Affairs at Indiana University and has studied in Adelaide, Australia and Perugia, Italy. Alex can be found on Twitter @alexihnen and reached at [email protected]

May 19

Reproduction Historic Mansion Proposed for Compton Heights

By now, no one is surprised when Killeen Studio presents a historic replica project. The architecture firm has designed a number of residences in south St. Louis local historic districts. In March, a historic corner retail replica residence in Benton Park took it to another level. Now, the Compton Heights neighborhood may be getting its first new mansion in decades. The historic neighborhood known for the huge homes of past leaders of industry and commerce has seen more modest infill since its heyday. Also in Compton Heights, a long-awaited proposal for the vacant South Grand Y and Pelican Building site was recently revealed.

[3012 Longfellow proposal – Compton Hill Historic District]

Owner:
Eugene and Marilyn Stubblefield

Architect:
Mike Killeen, Killeen Studio

Staff Recommendation:
That the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval of the new building as proposed with the stipulation that final plans and materials are reviewed and approved by the Cultural Resources Office.

The Project:
The applicants are proposing to construct a two and a half story single family house on a vacant parcel on the Compton Hill Local Historic District. All new construction in Local Historic Districts is brought to the Preservation Board for review on a preliminary basis prior to permitting.

Preliminary Findings and Conclusion:
The Cultural Resources Office’s consideration of the criteria for new residential construction in the Compton Hill Historic District Standards led to these preliminary findings:

  • The proposed site for the new single family house is within the boundaries of the Compton Hill Certified Local Historic District.
  • The subject parcel has never been built on prior to this proposal.
  • The proposed two and a half story house is compatible in height, scale, and exterior materials with other single family buildings along Hawthorn, Russell and Longfellow. Its design complies with most requirements for new construction in the Compton Hill Historic District Standards.

Based on these Preliminary findings, the Cultural Resources Office recommends that the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval to the project, with the stipulation that final plans and exterior materials for the new building will be reviewed and approved by the Cultural Resources Office.

 

 

About Alex Ihnen

Alex is the owner and editor of nextSTL.com. He earned a B.A. in Journalism and Masters in Public Affairs at Indiana University and has studied in Adelaide, Australia and Perugia, Italy. Alex can be found on Twitter @alexihnen and reached at [email protected]

May 18

DESCO Unveils $80M Mixed-Use Plan for Former Shriners Site in Frontenac

According to the St. Louis Business Journal, The DESCO Group has a preliminary plan in place for an $80M development including a three-story, 36K sf mixed-use building at the former Shriners Hospital site on South Lindbergh Boulevard site adjacent to the Plaza Frontenac. Two 6,500 sf restaurants and a Lifetime Fitness would also be added to the 9.5-acre site.

“Preliminary Concept Design Only, DESCO Building to Have Similar Design Intent”:

From our previous report: DESCO has Frontenac Shriners Hospital Site Under Contract 

Shriner's Hospital - Frontenac

nextSTL has learned the commercial real estate division for Schnucks Markets Inc., DESCO Group, has the Shriners Hospital for Children campus in Frontenac under contract. The parcel has attracted much attention from developers since 2013. That is when the Tampa-based organization announced plans for a new $47 million hospital in the Central West End (CWE).

nextSTL sources say at least four groups have made serious offers for the Shriners property thus far. This includes a second attempt to land a Frontenac location by high-end health club chain Lifetime Fitness, and interest from BJC. Activity regarding pursuit of the property has been so high that the Shriners decided to handle the sale itself, forgoing local representation.

Shriner's Hospital - Frontenac

The Frontenac children’s hospital opened in 1963, and will see its final patients on May 16. It is situated between St. Joseph’s Academy to its south, and Plaza Frontenac to its north. A residential community along Litzsinger Rd. comprised of 14 estates borders the hospital property to its west.

According to nextSTL sources the DESCO Group has one year to do its due diligence. This involves the buyer completing a thorough investigation of the property before committing to buy. Due diligence reduces the risk the buyer will be disappointed and increases the chances the seller will have its terms met. Still way too early to tell, but high-end retail plans for the site have been mentioned.

Any commercial development at the site would almost certainly meet fierce resistance from residents. That is what killed the proposed 2012 Sansone Group mixed-use project at the Ladue Early Childhood Center near the Spoede and Clayton Roads intersection. Opposition from neighboring homeowners, including three-time U.S. Open golf champion Hale Irwin, was too much to overcome. An attempt to reach the Shriners and DESCO for comment was unsuccessful.

Similar opposition has organized against a proposal for 30 villas, 24 townhomes and an 86-bed assisted living facility at the site of the closed Ladue Early Childhood Center on Clayton Road. A citizen group titled “Citizens AGAINST High-Rise Assisted Living & High Density Housing” has opposed that development under the banner of “preserve the beauty of Frontenac”.

Citizens AGAINST High-Rise Assisted Living & High Density Housing

The new 4-acre Shriners St. Louis Hospital for Children will be located at the corner of Clayton and Newstead Avenues, on the BJC campus in the CWE. This will be the third facility for Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis. In July of 1921 property for the first hospital, located only two blocks from the new CWE hospital, was purchased for $150,000. In January, nextSTL was first to report that the Washington University School of Medicine is exploring converting the 1921 building to medical student housing.

May 18

Goebel & Co. Furniture To Open Retail Space in Downtown Maplewood

The retail landscape in St. Louis isn’t healthy. Vacancy is high, we’re famous for our dead malls and empty retail strips, and even new retail is struggling. But St. Louis is a large and diverse metro area, with a diverse retail sector. While standard retail suffers, some specialty and local retail is finding success. The latest indicator of this is Goebel & Co. Furniture opening a retail storefront in the former Monarch restaurant space at 7401 Manchester Road in Maplewood.

Goebel has been building to this point for years. We profiled the company back in 2012 when it was operating out of the Temtor Building at 8125 Michigan Avenue in far south city. The building was long home to a Coca-Cola syrup manufacturing operation. After sitting vacant for years, it was redeveloped into a mix of residential, retail, and office space. It’s most trafficked tenant was and still is Perennial Artisan Ales.

When Goebel outgrew the space, it relocated to a 6,500 square feet in Midtown Alley and the Locust Business District. That building has something of an office and showroom streetside, but not exactly a brick & mortar retail presence. The Maplewood location saw the Goebel sign erected today and is set to open this fall. The company continues to seek a larger space for its manufacturing operations.

7401 Manchester:

Goebel & Co. was founded in 2011 by St. Louis natives Martin Goebel, Nick Leidenfrost and Noah Alexander, the latter two of the Classic Cars Studio. The company specializes in
residential, commercial and hospitality furniture, having supplied product to Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, Vicia restaurant, The Libertine, 4 Hands Brewery, Washington University in Saint Louis, Monsanto/The Climate Corporation, Tommy Bahama New York, Christner Inc., and others.

From our 2012 profile: Design Week Feature: Goebel & Co. Furniture and How St. Louis Fosters New Design Enterprises

For Goebel, choosing St. Louis has much more to do with the resources the City has to offer his company than just a desire to return to his family’s home town. In fact, basing Goebel & Co. in St. Louis capitalizes on a number of competitive advantages innate to the City, its business culture, its geography, and the revitalization of the City’s classic building stock.

St. Louis’ first competitive advantage is found in the hardwoods preferred for their furniture being native to Eastern Missouri, including classic offerings in Cherry and Walnut, but also specialty woods like Siberian Elm which produces a distinct blonde coloration to the woods.

Goebel & Co. selected products:

May 15

Drury Development Seeks Demo for FPSE Building on Kingshighway

There are a handful of residential buildings facing Kingshighway in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. In one view they’re woefully out of place, fronting seven lanes of a traffic and an interstate interchange. In another view, the homes anchor the edge of the residential neighborhood, holding and presenting its identity to those hurriedly passing through.

The homes on the west side of Kingshighway, in the tiny Kings Oak neighborhood, don’t seem nearly as challenged, but these FPSE four-families have been in limbo for more than a decade. Three years ago we write about Drury Development’s acquisition of these homes and others. It was a somewhat surprising expansion of its holdings. The 2008 hotel tower proposal seemed long gone, but with that move, seemed to still be alive.

Now Drury is seeking to demolish the building at the corner of Oakland Avenue and Kingshighway, just one of the row which has been assumed would make way for a hotel entrance if the plan ever comes to pass. Demolition will be considered at the city’s Preservation Board meeting later this month. We’ve watched this plan and process for nearly a decade, and it’s once again time to take a look at past proposals and current Drury holdings:

____________________________
May 12, 2014:
Drury Eyes Future Hotel, Adds 15 Parcels to Holdings in Forest Park Southeast

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast

It’s a smart bet that there will be a landmark Drury Hotel in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. Exactly when, and what it will look like is less certain. nextSTL has learned that Drury Development Corporation recently purchased 15 parcels on the edge of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood for $1.675M.

Back in August 2008, Drury presented plans for two 16-story hotels towers with a total of 690 rooms. The idea received a mixed response from a packed church of more than 100 residents. Then the recession hit full force. Plans were put on hold.

Drury is currently focused on the completion of the 210-room Drury Inn & Suites Brentwood at Interstate 64 and Brentwood Boulevard just a few miles west. If that hotel performs as expected over its first year or so, the company’s attention is likely to turn to Forest Park Southeast (The Grove).

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast{rendering of twin 15-story hotel towers from 2008}

There are currently no revised renderings or site plans available, and Drury has not decided whether to pursue a plan similar to its 2008 proposal. The 15 parcels are added to five already owned by the company at the northwest corner of the neighborhood.

A Drury representative told nextSTL that the company had reached a point that it needed to make a decision on the FPSE site. The parcels had been marketed by KH Ventures LLC for several years. A number of the buildings have been vacant for up to a decade.

Drury plans to renovate a half dozen or more properties on Oakland and Arco. Current plans include renovating 4564 Arch and 1074 S. Kingshighway. Two homes on Gibson (4571 and 4521) will also be renovated as rental properties. The Gibson homes were acquired as part of a package with the church property several years ago.

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast{buildings such as these on Arco will be renovated as rental properties}

At that time, the idea of historic homes serving as hotel rooms or extended stay hotel rentals as a buffer between the hotel and residences was floated, and Drury stated that the church itself may form the lobby of the new development. It’s unclear if these ideas will be pursued.

This corner of the neighborhood has clearly been a target for development since at least the time MoDOT’s plan to remove the expansive I-64/Kingshighway cloverleaf interchange came along. Since then, some truly horrific plans have been floated.

While dead-on-arrival with zero chance of support from the neighborhood, or alderman, the K2 Commerical Group promoted images of a CVS, QuikTrip, and several office buildings. The idea would have required the demolition of more than 120 residential units.

Forest Park Southeast neighborhood - St. Louis, MO - K2 Commerical Group development plan{the K2 plan would have faced a mountain of opposition}

The site is challenging to access, and neighborhood residents have made it clear that they would not like to see hotel traffic on residential streets. Any development would require access at Oakland Avenue, the end of which was recently permanently vacated by the city, removing access to the neighborhood from Kingshighway at that point.

While the expanding adjacent medical center is seen as underserved by hotels, this is changing. A Hilton Home2 hotel is planned for the northeast corner of Chouteau and Taylor Avenues nearby, and the Cortex development further east is planned to include a hotel.

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast{the former church at Gibson Avenue has been owned by Drury for several years}

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast{buildings facing Kingshighway will likely be targeted for demolition}

May 12

New Renderings of Armory District Show Off Plans by Green Street

In February, we got our first look at plans for the historic Armory building. Developer Green Street tapped Arcturis to…

May 12

Friday Live Chat – nextSTL

Alex is the owner and editor of nextSTL.com. He earned a B.A. in Journalism and Masters in Public Affairs at Indiana University and has studied in Adelaide, Australia and Perugia, Italy. Alex can be found on Twitter @alexihnen and reached at [email protected]