Washington University Updates Plan for Loop Infill

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WU residential/retail Loop infill

New renderings of a proposed $80M residential and retail project by Washington University in The Loop have appeared as part of a demolition review by the City of St. Louis Preservation Review Board. Project architect is listed as William Rawn Associates. At issue specifically are 609-611 Eastgate and 6236 Enright. Both are listed as contributing buildings within the Delmar Loop‐Parkview Gardens National Register Historic District. The project would also require the demolition of two contributing buildings in the National Register district on Delmar in University City at 6241 and 6251 Delmar. The completed project would consist of 22,000 square feet of retail space and 240 apartments.

The project spans the University City – City of St. Louis line, but as the vast majority of the project sits within the boundaries of U-City, the City of St. Louis has designated U-City as the municipality to review new building permits for the buildings and manage inspection. The recommendation of the city's Cultural Resources Office states, "That the Preservation Board approve the demolition of the two buildings as the proposed new construction equals or exceeds the quality of proposed demolitions and the project would be in general accord with the current development of the Delmar thoroughfare in the local historic district."

WU residential/retail Loop infill
{south elevation – Delmar Boulevard}

WU residential/retail Loop infill
{east elevation – Eastgate Avenue}

WU residential/retail Loop infill
{project site plan}

Comparing the new rendering with the old:

WU residential/retail Loop infill

WU Delmar housing

Photos of updated renderings and models added 09/18/12. Images were posted on the nextSTL Forum by user Tyrp. There are a few small changes in the design, but the plan appears to remain very similar to the images above.







Previous story from 02/27/12: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}

Updated renderings 02/01/2013:

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

Washington University Loop Living project

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  • Jakeb

    I like the concept, and applaud the U for committing to the Loop. But the glass-fronted buildings (at this design stage) look out of place with other buildings along the street. Would it hurt that much for the architecture dept. at WU to have their new buildings look a tad more in keeping with the visual feel of the street? Will dreary, conformist, modernist design never die?!

    • I disagree. Recent attempts at St. Louis-standard brick have looked gaudy and cheap. There’s nothing wrong with modern design going up in a neighborhood with historic stock. Troubles start when it tries to appease both new and old, resulting in an ugly mash-up of vertical/horizontal design and brick/glass hybrids.

      The problem, more times than not, is that modern design often doesn’t pay respect to the standard lot line — it sits back on it’s own parking lot/grass, includes maintenance/drive-up lanes at streetside or is built with high, unattractive fronting (usually internal parking). This plan definitely does stand out from the architecture of the street and neighborhood, but it also respect the lines of the street, neighborhood and pedestrian…for the most part.

      • kuan

        Building off the comments about brick looking bad, etc. in new construction: For plenty of examples, just walk around Wash U’s Danforth Campus. Buildings, particularly the Psychology department, look almost as though they were intended as caricatures of the other true historic buildings.

        If any criticism were to be levied against the design, it would simply be that the design chosen was the least “interesting” (ie most conservative) fielded during the design selection process.

        A third item I would like to add is that the Westgate portion of the plan underutilizes the high volume of traffic that streams north from the main campus, across the pedestrian bridge, and north along Melville. While the midblock green break is nice and inviting, taking those same notions and applying them where Westgate meets the Loop would be more advantageous for business and provide a more pleasant experience for students moving between home and class.

        Finally, I want to add that I think that the “slit” aesthetic is an attempt by the architect to draw upon precedent through Olin library on the main campus. Similar facade treatment exists there and creating this continuity in design could potentially have a psychological effect. That is, students who associate the campus main with safety, comfort, and study; might also approach this new home on the Loop in the same manner. Or, I am just taking a design cue that was possibly unintentional a bit too far. Who knows.

  • WU Student

    The “hole” in the upper floors of building 1A is a garden courtyard open to Delmar. Building 1A is built up to Delmar and does not otherwise offer green space for students, unlike the buildings that face onto Enright which have front yards.

    The new North-South pedestrian path or “mews” in between 1A and 1B will have retail facing onto it.

    In addition to the sales and income tax generated by the retail stores, Wash U will pay property taxes on the assessed value of the retail portion of the development. They will not pay property tax on the student housing portion as this is considered educational in nature.

    The project will be phased. Buildings 1A, 1B, and 2 will be built first.

    In the long term Wash U hopes to help clear the land behind building 2 to make way for a park in accordance with the Parkview Gardens park plan.

    • rgbose

      Is there underground parking planned?

      • WU Student

        Yes, and based on the site plan in the post it appears that the entrance will be on the west side of building 3 from Enright.

        • rgbose

          I see it now. Thanks for the additional details. I know the tenants in the two apt buildings on Delmar have moved-out. Do you know the probable start date? As soon as the demos are approved?

          • WU Student

            Groundbreaking is scheduled for January, with completion of the first phase in time for the 2014-15 academic year.

          • STLgasm

            I’m guessing the demolitions will happen in phases too, or is WU planning to level the whole block on Enright at once?

          • WU Student

            That is correct. At the very least, the “University Terrace” apartment complex which stands at the corner of Westgate and Enright (where Building 4 is to be located) will remain standing and occupied as construction begins on the first phase.

  • Bsapor

    When Wash U buys and develops all of this is it property tax exempt?

  • rgbose

    Don’t like the hole in the upper floors of building 1A along Delmar. Is there meant to be a nice walkway from Delmar to Enright between buildings 1A and 1B? They should reuse the bricks from the demos somewhere in the project.