CORTEX Set to Grow With Contract on Laclede Gas Property, Other Moves

{Laclede Gas (red) recently added to its holdings (pink) – a contract in place would sell to CORTEX}

While the CORTEX district was created more than a decade ago, development of the 240-acre industrial area between the Central West End medical campus and St. Louis University is in many ways just getting started. The Solae headquarters and CORTEX I building comprised a first phase, and Phase II is rolling along with the new 200,000sf BJC building, the conversion of the 4240 Duncan building and a new Interstate 64 interchange. And yet the most significant projects are still to come.

The next big thing is coming to the area of Forest Park and Vandeventer Avenues. Parcels in this area continue to aggregate under the ownership of CORTEX and Laclede Gas. Now nextSTL has confirmed that Laclede Gas has a contract in place to sell their property along Forest Park Avenue to CORTEX. According to a Laclede Gas spokesperson, "there are conditions that must be met" and a final decision will come prior to May 2014. While the company has ruled out building a new headquarters here and is focused instead on moving into the downtown GenAm building, Laclede Gas has continued to acquire land within CORTEX.

{the new BJC building is near completion near Clayton and Boyle}

In May, Laclede Gas purchased three parcels along Forest Park Avenue (in pink above) from two companies owned by developer Rick Yackey. Yackey recently redeveloped the Midtown saucer building and converted the CORTEX-located Ford Motor Company Building to the residential West End Lofts in 2008. The purchases are likely the company’s last in the area unless they buy the recently demolished gas station and car dealer lot prior to executing a sale to CORTEX.

Other recent moves have cleared the way for large-scale development. CORTEX recently purchased the small vacant lot at 313 South Vandeventer. Crescent Realty has closed on the former Amerifile building at 3824 Forest Park and will move just a block from their current location on Duncan Avenue. United Refrigeration is expected to move next. That sale would leave the operational grain elevator and Laclede Gas as the only occupied buildings from Vandeventer west to Sarah Street. The grain elevator is the only structure expected to remain.

{CORTEX planning shows retail and residential development at Vandeventer and Forest Park}

{here, yellow represents residential and red, retail development within CORTEX}

This eastern end of CORTEX is expected to be a mixed-use residential and retail development. Planning documents show just three buildings on the expansive site, totaling 500,000sf of retail space and 600 residential units. As previously reported, we believe the largest retail tenant will be a well-known Swedish retailer. Across Vandeventer, Pace Properties is planning Midtown Station, a 166,000sf development focused on national retailers. Pace Properties is representing IKEA in its search for a St. Louis location. A block north, a 260-unit residential development, the West Pine Lofts, is planned.

{Midtown Station retail development is planned for across Vandeventer from CORTEX}

{Laclede Gas=red, LG recent acquisitions=pink, CORTEX=yellow, Cresent Realty=blue, United Refigeration=orange, recent demolition (owned by Lopata)=green}