UIC Opens Detonty Close Project in Shaw

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De Tonty Close - by UIC

We can easily customize many things in our lives, our phone, our computer home screen, clothing, shoes, and more. Why not our homes? UIC, the visionaries who are developing the Botanical Grove neighborhood, have launched sales of Detonty Close, their newest development, offering buyer customization and an upfront sales process. While historically this is nothing new – think Sears Modern Home catalog, it represents a paradigm shift in the City of St. Louis.

In the suburbs, large tracts of homes are often designed and built, then sold, with little buyer customization. This is also how recent large-scale residential development has been built in the city. Just east of Botanical Grove, several city blocks were clear cut to build the urban-light cul-de-sac Botanical Heights development. A similar, though more urban, process was used to develop Gaslight Square. In the City, single-family residential infill is most often a one-off project.

De Tonty Close - by UIC

{Detonty Close site plan}

While there’s never unanimity in home design, UIC has captured a little bit of urban infill magic in a bottle. The formula is right, the location is right, and the market is there. A new community is being built around a free public Montessori school, a french patisserie, a wine bar, and more, and all within shouting distance of the Missouri Botanical Garden, and not much farther from all the rapidly expanding Central Corridor jobs and amenities.

The DeTonty Close project, as it is now known, has been in the works for more than a year. The project will feature 16 new bungalow style homes located on two-pedestrian courtyards, located in the historic Shaw Neighborhood facing Interstate 44. The challenge of development here is the intrusion of the highway, and the location in an historic neighborhood. The solution, to turn homes 90 degrees and onto shared courtyards, hasn’t been universally praised, but we’ll soon know what the market thinks of the design. Courtyard developments of varying similarity can be found in the Shaw Neighborhood and elsewhere in the city, including Hortense Court, Fairfax Court, and others.

De Tonty Street

{the Detonty site today}

UIC’s success has been a combination of different factors: location, amenities, design, and process. For Detonty Close, buyers can choose from six different home models, each with several form options. Basically, it’s a simplified menu that provides a real, final cost up front. As someone who has purchased two homes in St. Louis, and constantly dreaming of building a new one, this process just makes sense.

With this project, UIC moved south of I-44. They have also recently designed the renovation of apartments adjacent to their custom home in The Grove, several blocks north in The Grove. On the same block, UIC plans to build single family homes, and have set up a survey asking What would you build? Another three single family infill project is underway on Olive in the northeast corner of the Central West End neighborhood.

Gibson infill:

UIC Gibson homes

Previous proposals for the Detonty site:

DeTonty renderings

From nextSTL’s “What Should Be“:

What Should Be - Detonty

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  • John

    That Millennium Restoration proposal is horrible. I would rather get shot in the face than have anything to do with one of those.

    • Nat76

      They aren’t that bad. If the community is overly strict on developers in terms of sticking to traditional forms, materials, size of the historic neighborhood, that’s what you get. Take a look at the more traditional new housing in Botanical by comparison. Luckily, UIC is getting a bit more latitude to do something different for the site plan this time around, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

      • John

        I like what UIC has done in the CWE and FPSE. Very cool stuff going up.

    • Alex Ihnen

      It’s an old idea, and poorly executed rendering. IMO – homes like these could make for good infill on single lots around the city, and they conform to the historic code – in fact, they appear to be very much like existing homes in the neighborhood. Guessing you don’t like faux historic recreations?

      • Nat76

        Elevating the homes by introducing the sloped entry as you did with the “what should be” version and not using the same brick for every home would have helped the rendering immensely too.

  • STLEnginerd

    The current DeTonty Close proposal is just awful looking. White vinyl siding a red brick has got to be the worst color combination every conceived. The what should be concept is great because it attatches homes together so you get a continuous attractive brick facade facing the street.

    I really think multifamily rental/condos is the best use of this site but UIC seems determined for it to be Single Family housing.

    • moe

      This will be similar to the projects completed near gaslight square. A few years out, they seem to appear ok.

    • Hammond

      I built a concept for the extreme INSTItute by NELLY. I had my meeting with SIUE ENGINEER DEAN WE NEED TO OPEN THE FOX OR MUNY FOR SIUC. Carniege Hall did it. Sp

  • STLEnginerd

    Any idea why UIC seems so dead set on making Single Family work on this site? Seems like all their neighbors are multifamily building. Seems like several 2-3 story multifamily buildings would be perfect for this site. Rentals or condos would be up to them.

    Not to mention this is one of the tougher spots for Single Family because of the Interstate which is apparently why they decided they had to rotate the lots ninety degrees so the front yards weren’t staring at I44.

    • Nat76

      Two reasons. First, that’s what Shaw seems to want. The neighborhood seems to encourage conversion of 2 family homes to 1 family. Second, the height of structures relative to the highway. Specifically, noise and headlights. Headlights are only about 16 feet above the DeTonty street surface. I might be wrong, but these units seem to keep a fairly low elevation to avoid that, which equals lower interior ceilings. All else equal (ie, floorplan), they’ll have less of an “open” feel. I think you can get away with that when you’ve offering 2 floors and 2000 sq ft of living space. With a 2 story condo with 1300 sq ft of living space per floor, I’m not sure you could. You can forget about a 3rd story regardless. The other issue with 2 story condos @ 1300 per floor: you would have to reorient the building to street facing for them to fit on the site. 16 larger single families with a courtyard orientation are probably easier to sell than 24 smaller condos…and there’s probably more profit in it too.

  • Adam

    i think the form is pretty good but the aesthetics leave a lot to be desired–broad, undecorated expanses of brick veneer and white vinyl siding scream section 8. hope the materials are higher quality than they appear in the rendering.

  • Christina Clagett

    I can’t get over how this site is always characterized as a “challenge” or “problem.” Amazing central location, high visibility for (great) design, fabulous surrounding neighborhoods. Narrative means so much in STL.