Apartments, Bank Proposed for 1957 Obata Designed 4100 Lindell

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The Remington Rand Building, most recently home to the St. Louis Housing Authority Headquarters located at 4100 Lindell in the Central West End may soon be redeveloped into 16 apartments with a bank occupying the first floor. The Lawrence Group will present its $5.35 million rehab proposal to the Central West End Development Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 11

The proposal calls for the rehab of the Mid-Century Modern 25,500sf building into eight market-rate apartments on each the second and third floors. Apartments would carry the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic to the interior design. Eagle Bank as the primary tenant on the ground floor, will occupy 4,000sf, of the 6,700sf floor plate.

The rehab proposal also calls for the demolition of the adjacent 4108 Lindell building to the west for a surface parking lot. The existing parking lot located south of 4100 Lindell that formerly served the Housing Authority would be partially converted into a drive-through for the bank. There would be 31 parking spaces for the site in all.

If approved, construction would start in July 2014 and would finish in Spring of 2015. The developer is requesting a 10-year tax abatement. According the agenda notes, Park Central supports the request with the conditions that 4108 Lindell be rehabbed or replaced with another building, and that all curb cuts are removed from Lindell and placed on Sarah Street and the alley behind Lindell.

The building has been the target of controversial development plans before. The St. Louis Housing Authority vacated the building in 2009, moving into a new building housing a PNC Bank branch and Chronicle Coffee near Grand Center and the mixed income Renaissance Place at Grand housing development.

The building has been seen as a challenge to redevelop, with the most serious plan previously presented being for the building’s demolition and replacement with a CVS pharmacy. That plan’s rejection was attributed to “recently arrived neighbors passionate about urban design.” Since that proposal died in 2009, the building has remained vacant. CVS eventually built a new story a couple blocks east. There, a battle to save the elliptical AAA building successfully pushed CVS to alter its design plan.

The proposal by the Lawrence Group goes before the Park Central Development Corporation’s Development Committee tomorrow. The form based code overlay recently implemented for this part of the Central West End should preclude demolition for a surface parking lot facing Lindell, no matter what landscaping or urban camouflage is employed. However, it’s still unclear if the code meant to encourage density and retail corridors has teeth. A recent proposal called the West Pine Lofts, just a block south on Sarah, is being allowed to forgo code required street level retail.

The case will likely be made by the developer that one building must be sacrificed to save the other. Located a short distance from Saint Louis University, the Cortex innovation district, Washington University Medical School and the many institutions of the medical campus, as well as being along the proposed Lindell Streetcar line, the project could be ideal for car-optional residents. Marketing it as such would be a big step forward for St. Louis, and likely prevent the demolition of another building along Lindell.

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Update 05/08/14

At its meeting last night, the Park Central Development Corporation’s Central West End-Midtown Development Committee endorsed the Lawrence Group plan outlined above. The endorsement clears the way for the demolition of 4108 Lindell, contravening the neighborhood’s form based code. That code is meant to increase density, especially along major corridors, and prohibits surface parking on Lindell. 4108 Lindell would be replaced by 11 parking spaces. The Development Committee also endorsed three years of 100% tax abatement and 2 additional years of 50% tax abatement for 4100 Lindell.

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  • rgbose

    Let them choose between the tax abatement and the building demo.

    • Ricke002

      ^No.

      • rgbose

        They really need the parking at home so they can drive to the 11-story garage at CORTEX for work.

        • John

          It would just be too much to have to walk a few blocks to work.

          • imran

            Or …. bike a few blocks?

  • John

    What the hell is the point of the form-based codes and all that if everyone is going to be exempt from following them?

  • Presbyterian

    The housing authoroty building is a favorite of mine and has been at risk for years. I hope they can find a way to renovate it and provide the parking they think they need to market the units. Perhaps they could arrange with the owner to their south for diagonal parking along the alley. There are options. I hope they make it work.

  • imran

    ‘No parking lot on Lindell’
    The ol’ battlecry is still relevant. I guess we will find out just how much power the form-based code has.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Apparently there was another developer interested who planned to renovation both buildings. Their offer was less and so they’ve missed out – so far. The point is that there’s interest and a potential back-up plan if the neighborhood wants something better.

  • STLEnginerd

    Ever feel like the developers in this town are coming up with projects to purposly test the lines that are drawn by form based code.

    My initial reaction is A) the building they are proposing to tear down is far from architecturally significant, and B) the proposal makes efficient use of the site plan and isn’t asking for excessive parking allowance.

    That said there is form based code for a reason. It should be held to a reasonable interpretation of the rules if only to keep from steadily degrading the rules to the point where every project is automatically granted an exemption.

    My recommendation is they block the parking from Lindell and build a privacy wall of some kind maintains the street wall. Use some of the Green space between the lot and Lindell to create a patio and awning complete with a BBQ grill at that end of the parking lot. I’m not sure if that satisfies critics completely, or the rules for that matter, but its a smaller ask so as not to kill the project and presents a better face toward Lindell.

    • Adam

      i disagree about the efficient use part. they’re proposing 12 parking spaces in place of a building that could generate tax revenue. only 12 spaces. the remaining 19 spaces plus on-street parking should be more than enough for 8 market rate apartments and a bank in the city’s most walkable neighborhood. i’m not saying the current building needs to be saved but absolutely there needs to be a building there. they could even do a small two-story garage with retail on the ground.

      • Alex Ihnen

        16 apts, but yes.

        • Adam

          ah, right. i read too quickly.

          • STLEnginerd

            OK after further looking I’ll concede the need to demo the building is suspect, with a few caveats.

            This site would not be seen as car optional by most prospective
            tenants or developers. The bus is there of course and SLU students might give it a try, but realistically 90% of people who
            rent here would have a car. If the streetcar was built, that equation might change, but in honesty, I doubt it even then. Also its construction is by no means a certainty.

            A parking garage simply isn’t really reasonable solution for such a small project. Parking garage construction estimates are in the neighborhood of 40k per space and the layout of a garage wouldn’t be workable.

            There is a decent sized parking lot south of the alley which I would think could be purchased or leased to meet parking demands.

            If you intend to use street parking for residents then IMHO you really can’t have it as metered parking. Is that stretch of Sarah still metered? I can see metered parking for patrons to a bank as they have limited time they are parking there but employees, and residents need a place to store their cars for longer periods. If the meters were removed then I’d definitely agree there is no need for demo. Also with all the parking across the street I highly doubt that these meters generate much revenue.

            Also the whole need for drive through banking is a bit suspect as well. With Online Banking and ATM Banking, the demand for drive through banking at a regional bank branch admittedly can’t be all that great.

            I do agree a solution can be found that preserves the use, but doesn’t require demo..

          • Adam

            “A parking garage simply isn’t really reasonable solution for such a small project. Parking garage construction estimates are in the neighborhood of 40k per space and the layout of a garage wouldn’t be workable.”

            wow, really? so just to, say, build a 1-story parking deck over a surface lot would cost ~$40K per space?

          • STLEnginerd

            That’s what I’ve always heard, but I could be wrong, I don’t build parking garages for a living so its second hand information. FWIW

  • Adam

    This doesn’t apply to 4100, but imran reported over at urbanstl that the agenda for tomorrow’s Park Central Development meeting (conveniently at noon) shows a proposal to demolish the Optimists International building at 4490-4494 Lindell (intersection of Taylor and Lindell–directly across from the Archdiocese’ parking field) !!! anybody who can make it please go and see what the F*CK is going on with this!

    • Adam
    • Alex Ihnen

      Proposal is for a residential tower, but details have not been made available.

      • Adam

        i suspected as much… i just wish we could get the empty lots and surface parking filled in before we start demolishing attractive/significant buildings. OI is a nice looking MC building, and while i’m willing to part with it for an attractive (hopefully modern) residential tower, there a number of empty parcels within a few blocks of this site.

  • Guest

    Seeing as this is a proposal from an architecture firm, you’d expect a bit more concern for the quality of the built environment for humans rather than cars. It’s disappointing to think that the Lawrence Group seems in some ways to have sold out…I’m thinking back especially to their involvement in the Pevely fiasco. They’ve done some great things, but it sure is hard for me to forget their role in that incident.

  • http://schlaflycorporation.com/ David Schlafly

    I referred to the building to the north, however I meant to the west.