Failed Westin Proposal Raises Questions for Future Development in Clayton

“But now residents can rest easy.” That is at least if they enjoy a vacant storefront and surface parking lot. The proposal for a 245-room Westin Hotel at Maryland and Central Avenues in Clayton is dead. First proposed in 2007, the tower and retail/parking structure on the north side of Maryland had been redesigned several times. Graybar has now purchased the site, but has no current plans to develop the site. The Post-Dispatch has a good write-up. Toronto Cialis

“But now residents can rest easy.” That is at least if they enjoy a vacant storefront and surface parking lot. The proposal for a 245-room Westin Hotel at Maryland and Central Avenues in Clayton is dead. First proposed in 2007, the tower and retail/parking structure on the north side of Maryland had been redesigned several times. Graybar has now purchased the site, but has no current plans to develop the site. The Post-Dispatch has a good write-up.

Ultimately the project was the victim of a down economy as the property went into foreclosure and was available to purchase, but Graybar, whose headquarters sits to the west, and nearby residents were happy to do their part. It would seem that Graybar enjoys 1980 Clayton and so do many residents. I always enjoy/cringe at the irony of those who build mid-rise towers in place of low-rise and then complain that anything higher would be inappropriate.

Graybar opposed the development at city meetings, making the ridiculous argument that a large hotel and associated traffic would have endangered their 130 employees. Now that’s just stupid. Are they prepared to use the same argument against the nearby public library? It would appear that Clayton may be reaching a point of limited development as NIMBY’s backed by established businesses say enough is enough.

While projects such as Maryland Walk have added density, residents of the nine-story $73M Crescent fought to lower the height of the new Centene headquarters at Forsyth and Hanley in the central business district. Their argument boiled down to saying that they bought a residence counting on the fact that the view from their window would never change.

The Westin would have added density to a city that feels more like an office park than a downtown. The added (dangerous) traffic would have boosted demand for restaurant and retail options as well. The addition of development on the north side of Maryland would have been a very positive step toward making Maryland Avenue an attractive corridor instead of the dead edge of development.


{Maryland Walk and The Crescent developments in Clayton}

According to the Post-Dispatch, Lodging Hospitality Management, owner of the Seven Gables Inn has expressed an interest in expanding into the buildings which back up to their property facing Meramec Avenue. They would seek to expand from their current 32 rooms to 80 or 90. It would interesting to see how the two buildings may be tied together and the reuse of the current perfectly functional building would be welcome.

But what effect will Clayton NIMBYism have on future development? Will hotel growth be limited? Will the former Trianon condominium proposal ever return? If developments receive the knee-jerk “more traffic is dangerous” or “taller is worse” treatment, Clayton will stall. Looking for a silver lining? Perhaps that’s good news for the region’s first downtown.


{the various stages of proposed design – CORE10 Architecture, 2009}


{the site plan and rendering of retail/parking on north side of Maryland – CORE10 Architecture, 2009}

*top image courtesy CORE10 Architecture, 2009/Bob Watel