Montgomery Moving Forward on Downtown Clayton Mixed-Use Tower

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Montgomery Tower*edit 05/13/14

Montgomery Development has released a new rendering of their renewed project first reported by nextSTL (below). The rendering shows a 33-story building with street level retail and up to six levels of parking. The development is planned for 345 residential units, a 478-space parking garage, and nearly 13,000sf of retail.

Architect Humphreys & Partners designed Cortona at Forest Park as well as the One Light tower in Kansas City’s Power & Light district, a building that bears some similarities to what they’ve titled 2 South Central in Clayton.

First envisioned in 2006, the latest iteration will now seek approval for zoning changes and support from the Clayton Architectural Review Board.
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{though this rendering dates from 2007, the project may move forward in 2014}

WhoLou has learned that the long anticipated Montgomery family Clayton apartment tower development has picked up speed very recently after having been stalled for the past half decade. The project would call for the demolition of several buildings that house some longtime Clayton businesses including World News at the corner of South Central Ave. and Forsyth Blvd. World News has been operating out of the building since the 1960s, and has been a local favorite for nearly as long. It is the go to place in town for domestic and international daily and Sunday newspapers. World News also sells groceries and carries more than 2,500 magazines. The family of World News co-owner Ann Pointer sold the building to Montgomery in 2006.

According to Joel Montgomery Jr. of Webster Groves-based Montgomery Development, “We feel that market conditions in Clayton are currently favorable and may support a high-quality apartment tower. Our development team is preparing conceptual plans to review with city and county officials within the next 30 to 45 days.” The Montgomery family and Montgomery Development is developing this project independent of Montgomery Bank, which the family owns. Montgomery Bank bought the 6,544 sq ft building that World News operates out of for $1.75 million in 2006 according to the St. Louis County Assessor’s Office website.

{the building housing World News, and adjacent buildings would be demolished}

The Montgomery family now owns more than 30,000 sq ft of property within the development zone. Approximately 20% of the property within the development site along South central Ave. is owned by Montgomery Bank. 2007 plans called for a $100 million 25 to 30-story residential and office tower featuring a 4,000 sq ft Montgomery Bank branch on the first floor along with some other retail tenants. Additionally, the county intended to trade the 54,600 sq ft parking lot at South Central Ave. and Carondelet Ave. across the street from the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in exchange for 55,000 sq ft of office space in the proposed development.

Montgomery Jr. commented, “Assuming they (city and county) determine that the project we are envisioning is appropriate for Clayton, we will seek construction cost pricing from qualified general contractors and prepare detailed pro forma projections. While we are early in our evaluation process and require many levels of approval, we are cautiously optimistic that we could move forward in 2014.” The development site would also need to be rezoned. Montgomery Development also developed the 8-acre Des Peres Pointe shopping center approximately one mile west of I-270 and Manchester Rd. The center is anchored by a Trader Joe’s specialty grocery store.

Montgomery Bank is based in Sikeston, MO. It was established in 1934, and has been family-owned since 1957. With over $900 million in assets it is the 26th largest bank in the state of Missouri. It is also the 744th largest bank in the nation. According to DepositAccounts.com as of September of 2013, Montgomery Bank had 207 employees at 11 locations throughout the state.

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  • Hasan

    Great news. Was this project initially supposed to be office with MB hq?

    • Geoff Whittington

      I think that is right Hasan. Though Joel Montgomery was adamant about Montgomery Development being the lead on this project, and completely independent of the bank. Montgomery Bank could/will still be a tenant in the new building. Additionally, I am told that Clayton denied Apex Oil their tower despite reports that the project has only “stalled.” Apex is most upset about this after having spent so much time assembling the land bank, interviewing contractors, hiring former Clayton employees, and preparing buildings for demolition.

      • John

        Why would Apex be denied their tower? Is it because Clayton doesn’t want it on that particular site? Why not build it over a parking lot? Same with this tower and the Crossing in Clayton as well, actually…I don’t see why all new development in Clayton isn’t funneled onto parking lots near the MetroLink stations.

      • tpekren

        Wow, that it tidbit of news that I haven’t seen anywhere. I can see McKee and Koman calling the moment he know about it. I have give up on DeWitt having any clue on how to land an anchor tenant for BPV after he got played by Centene and than essentially pushed Stifel Nichols away.

        • Alex Ihnen

          Old rendering (the taller tower is build – though is a bit shorter than in this image):

          • rgbose

            Wish this was on top of the first one!

        • Geoff Whittington

          I have been trying to work it into one of my more recent Clayton development items or a stand alone item for the last two months. I may compile an item on Apex in the next week or two. Info comes from multiple primary sources.

  • Mike Brockman

    That’s a solid row of rather attractive storefronts they’re demolishing.

    • Geoff Whittington

      For sure Mike. We should also start preparing ourselves for Centene tower II. It will also soon come to fruition. Clayton skyline is exploding.

      • Mike Brockman

        Centene II? Wow, didn’t know that was coming online so quickly. Bummer the BPV/Centene deal fell through…

  • Sean McElligott

    I am happy to see Clayton’s projects come back to life but what is keeping or holding back large projects in downtown st Louis? I hope sky house or the bottle district come back to life this year.

    • john

      Clayco is working with McKee on the Bottle District. June is when the Northside Regeneration Project is supposed to begin work. I don’t know what phase the Bottle District will be part of but I know they do plan to build it.

    • Tpekren

      Sean, Clayton is seeing the fruits of a successful and quietly expanding companies such as Centene,, Entreprise, and Apex Oil as well as the law firm relocation/consolidation that took place. Where as downtown has taken by corporate acquisitions that eventually led to ATT’s shrinking presence and the likes of Macy’s leaving downtown even with success stories as Stifel Nichols, Laclede Gas and a expanding Tech scene. My take is downtown still needs a big win on the corporate jobs front to support a high end market residential tower… Just as you see a explosion of development activity coming in CWE/FPSE/Midtown on the backs of CORTEX/BJC expansion/Wash U medical school/Pharmacy School expansions
      ..
      The silver lining for downtown, My bet is Drury Family will deliver a Hotel/Condo or Apartment tower for downtown on the property they secured next to Eads bridge but it is because of their ability to fold in hotel rooms into the equation, strong balance sheet not based on individual properties as well as a parking structure deal that will be the defacto replacement for Arch Grounds parking garage going away. My other bet and believe is that Ron K with Stifel will convince another investment banker to relocate back officer work to St. Louis as well as their own expansion and another big commitment from Wells Fargo.
      ..
      What I think will be fascinating in near future. What is Tropicana’s take after securing downtown’s casino and what will be Stan K’s take through his RAMS & THF development arm. Especially the RAMS take on where they want to be and what should be around them

  • Presbyterian

    This will be fine, but I do wish they would build it on the parking lot to the immediate south. I hate to see Clayton lose any more of its low- and mid-rise storefront buildings. Those buildings are what give Clayton its character.

  • jhoff1257

    I’m mixed on this. What I do like is that parts of St. Louis are finally hitting a point where high-rise construction is becoming feasable again. What I don’t like is Clayton losing more of its increasingly shrinking amount of “human-scaled” development so to speak. Central, especially around Forsyth, is one of the few remaining places in Clayton that still retains a lot of those small scale commercial buildings (despite County HQ). Adding density and more people will only be good for Clayton, but I fear it will lose a lot of its history and character if they continue to let original small scale urban buildings to fall for these super blocks of high-rises. The best mixed-used districts have a great combination of both older urban character and high-density living. Didn’t a Clayton official recently say Clayton needs to be more like the Central West End? Imagine the CWE without all the small shops on Euclid. Clayton should be focusing on filling empty lots (Forsyth and Forest Park Pkwy!) then replacing what’s left of its historic urban center with modern high-rises.

  • gatsby

    Mr. Whittington,
    Greetings. Thanks for the breaking the news. Great article regarding Clayton. We are planning to open a retail shop in Clayton later this year or early next year. Currently, we have our eye on several places near there. Do you know of who may be going into those potential retail spaces with Montgomery Bank? Thanks in advance for your consideration.
    Best Regards

    • Geoff Whittington

      Hello, thanks. You can reach me with your contact information and query at geoff@nextstl.com. I can forward for you. Thanks again.

  • STLEnginerd

    Based on the rendering this looks like its built all the way to Carondolet, Is that true? If so it would make a serious dent in the amount of downtown Clayton surface parking. Also Clayton isn’t exactly swamped with open lots appropriate for high rise construction, like much of Downtown. There is the space by the Forsyth Metrolink and the one by Centene both of which are controlled by other interested parties. I thought the lot between Central and Bemiston on Carondolet was owned by county government. Is that wrong? Suffice it to say most proposals for towers in Clayton will have to involve demo of the current built enviroment.

    One thing is for sure the current number of residents living in Downtown Clayton is not supporting retail there so addition residents are needed to make the current retail enviroment work and this tower is a big step in that direction.