$80M Washington University Project Aims to Bring More Retail, Residential to The Loop

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WUSTL_Loop project site place
{red – Delmar/Eastgate mixed use building, yellow – Enright apartments, green – greenspace}

As we continue to witness demolition for parking, or worse, in Clayton, Kirkwood and elsewhere, The Loop appears to continue its trend towards becoming a dense urban neighborhood. Recent development has focused on retail and entertainment (the Moonrise Hotel, Pageant), but Washington University is now proposing the first new residential construction on Delmar in The Loop in decades.

With apartments the university is calling an "innovative housing concept" for students, the project would also include 20,000 square feet of retail space. The project will significantly alter the Delmar streetscape at Eastgate. The former site of a Meineke auto repair business and past gas station. The university purchased the lot in 2008. In 2010, nextSTL covered potential development as the school surveyed students to gauge interest in living in The Loop.

Redevelopment proposal
{site plan for mixed use building facing Delmar/Eastgate and new residential on Enright}

While the highest profile corner is currently vacant, the project seeks to demolish two residential buildings on Delmar, a commercial storefront on Eastgate and 10 residential apartment buildings on Enright. As a result, overall residential density will not be greatly increased, while the retail component will fill a hole in the Delmar streetscape. A four to six-story building would front Delmar and Eastgate, while three buildings would be built on Enright, the easternmost two of 2-3 stories and the westernmost 4-6 stories.

WU Delmar housing
{this rendering looking west toward Delmar/Eastgate accompanied a 2010 Student Life story}

WU Delmar housing_609
{a Meineke service station occupied the site of a former gas station until 2008}

WUSTL_Loop project_streetview
{streetview of Delmar/Eastgate corner looking northwest – 2012}

The announcement of the project follows quickly on the heals of the Delmar Loop Area Retail Plan & Development Study, released in February. That study, commissioned by the university, found that a total of 155,000 additional retail square footage could be supported in the Loop area. On a parallel track, the Parkview Gardens neighborhood plan seeks added residential and retail density as well as better transit service (an improved Delmar MetroLink station and the addition of the Loop Trolley) and investment in parks and civic space.

Both the Parkview Gardens and Loop retail study appeared more aspirational than shovel-ready just last month. With this project set to break ground in January 2013, it becomes more likely that additional development will be announced. It's anticipated that private developers will move closer to breaking ground on other projects as the Loop Trolley and university investments result in a better connected, more dense neighborhood.

WUSTL_parkview gardens view
{the plan for Parkview Gardens anticipated added density in the project area}

{the Parkview Gardens plan shows development very similar to the announced project}

WUSTL_Loop project
{another view of the project site – looking north}

Redev plan existing conditions
{the project area (blue) spans University City and the City of St. Louis (red line)}

Delmar Loop - WU buildings
{the two residential buildings fronting Delmar would be the most high-profile buildings lost}

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  • Benya31

    until SLU realizes a top 50 university means thinking progressively in all matters, i.e urbanism, it will never fulfill Biondi’s goal. Kids picking schools care about where they are going almost as much as ‘where’ (what school) they go.

  • Yeahyeah12

    Good plans that make sense for the area as a whole.  I think that the picture shown, while maybe not being what will eventually be built, show a better use of the space and creates the urban feel that should be on display in the Loop.

  • Chudsonsf

    ‘Potential Development’ hyperlink in article appears to be broken.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Thanks. Should be working now.

  • Guest

    I want development in the city and I’m glad Wash U is taking positive steps in that direction.  I don’t agree with the demolition of three sound historic buildings which are contributing resources of the Delmar Loop-Parkview Gardens Historic District.  Its been awhile since I have been to the loop but I’m not positive if the building on Eastgate is still occupied.  However, the demolition of three sound, maintained and at least two occupied buildings are huge pluses which we don’t typically see of buildings that are saved from the wrecking ball. Granted, something will be put in its place that is useful and somewhat well designed but I think it is shortsighted for Wash U to demo these buildings that are perfectly useful.  Plus, if the new construction is not going to greatly increase density, why demolish a majority of an intact block when housing already exists.  I agree that the hole on Delmar and Eastgate needs to be filled but the large scale of demo for new construction is unnecessary.

    • Guest

      Normally I would agree with this.  But the units will be re-created essentially.  They are also adding retail…something that is currently not there. That provides more money for the City and more options for those living and visiting the Loop.  These buildings are not too shabby, but I think this area could be better served with more retail and commercial development as well.  Especially with the new Streetcar coming soon.

      • GMichaud

         Yes, and I think that is the whole point, Wash U. embraced the urbanity of the Loop and created a suitable replacement that makes sense and critics can feel like their concerns are listened to. Contrast that to Biondi at SLU who is nothing but a slash and burn administrator who could care less about the consequences of his decisions for the City. It is interesting a secular institution cares more about its impact on people and the environment than the supposedly Christian Catholic Church and their representative Biondi. (I purposely don’t use Father or Reverend, for he is neither).

        • Guest