57-Unit Intrada Lofts Planned for Downtown West

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One of the few remaining industrial buildings near the western end of Washington Avenue in the city’s Downtown West neighborhood may soon become The Intrada Lofts. The Vecino Group of Springfield, Missouri plans 57 studio, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units for the building at 2035 Lucas Avenue. Vecino has been seeking state and federal development assistance, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

The 50,000 sf building sits behind the Adler Lofts north of Washington Avenue and is across 21st Street from The Edge Lofts. The property, since 1930 the home of shoelace manufacturer St. Louis Braid Co., is connected to the Adler building by a sky bridge. Built in 1899 for the Desnoyer Shoe Company according to a design by Isaac Taylor, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is eligible for historic tax credits.

2035 Lucas – National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form (St. Louis, MO) by nextSTL.com

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  • markgroth

    Is this dead in the water?

    • Alex Ihnen

      This particular plan is dead. Hopefully someone will follow with another development idea.

  • STLExplorer

    Is STL Braid Co staying in the city? Will they remain in business?

    • Alex Ihnen

      My understanding is that they haven’t manufactured shoelaces there for several years and it’s an empty building with a small (1-3 person?) admin office.

  • samizdat

    Handsome building, with good proportions and some really attractive fenestration. Looks like there used to be a sky bridge to the structure across the street to the west; I suppose the remaining one will be coming down as well.

    I wonder what this area looked like before the firestorm destroyed a number of buildings in the early 70’s.

    • Presbyterian
      • Don

        I have no recollection of this either. The photos at the link you provided are pretty spectacular and include citizens (off duty firefighters?) manning hoses. Amazing!

        • samizdat

          Yeah, it was a massive fire, and quickly became an out-of-control conflagration, hence the characterization of it as a firestorm (This designation was conferred upon it by the Fire Dept. at the time; having said that, I must stress that the STLFD did not lose control of this fire due to any issues of competence or diligence. Once a fire like this reaches a certain super-critical point, the only thing you can do is douse everything around it with water, and let it burn itself to a more manageable state. It basically creates its own “weather”, so to speak. I do recall that FD’s from the surrounding suburbs were called in on a number of alarms) I would bet that KSD(K), KMOX(V), and KTVI have archival film somewhere. Either that, or perhaps MO Historical Society.

          Apropos of almost nothing, I was twelve years old at the time of the fire, and lived in Glendale with my parents and sibs. My wife and I now reside in Dutchtown.

  • Joe Schmoe

    A lot of talk lately about a declining downtown, there has been a number of announcements in the last couple of weeks that seems to put down that rumor. Downtown hasn’t seen this much development in years and it seems to be gaining steam post recession.

    • matimal

      I haven’t seen much talk of a declining downtown. Whose saying this?

      • Joe Schmoe

        go to the forum and look at the thread called downtown residential market

        • matimal

          It seems to me that they are describing a downtown that is not continuing to grow, not one that is declining. Stagnation and decline are two very different things.

          • dempster holland

            The downtown changes are changing the whole balance
            of the city. Previously, people worked downtown and then
            went home to their residential neighborhoods. Now down-
            town is changing to a residential neighborhood. So where
            do people work? At their residences? In Clayton? In
            suburban office parks? Good or bad, this seems to be the
            trend. One result will be that downtown will have much
            less activity during the day, but more at night.

          • John R

            Certainly though we can’t be accepting of the loss of downtown office jobs…. we need to grow them. I think in this respect downtown Pittsburgh and some (but not necessarily all) other “peer cities” have a healthier position… downtown retains a greater share of the region’s overall white collar employment base while also also becoming more diverse with an emergence of a residential sector. Here, our downtown continues to lose its jobs base while hoping that the residential/tourism/entertainment sectors make up for things.

          • Don

            Is the trend of jobs leaving downtown about to change? After years of businesses fleeing to the suburbs in places like Chicago, the tide has turned with suburban office parks being abandoned as employers — including Sears — are again heading back into downtown. The Chicago friends I mentioned above working for different companies have both been relocated from the suburbs to downtown. I believe Alex or someone else recently mentioned this and posted an article on it.

          • John R

            I sure hope the trend makes its way here soon… I think that part of the frustration here is seeing downtown office explode in the hot cities and even starting to return to some degree in places like Cleveland and Detroit. Unfortunately, a lot of our heavyweights like Enterprise and Express Scripts, etc. have all made relatively big investments in the county recently so there are not many strong candidates for making a move downtown.

          • dempster holland

            why did twitter move to sf? Did any of the powers that
            be work to keep them here?

          • Alex Ihnen

            Trick question. Twitter was never here, but one of its founders is from here.

    • Don

      It depends on how you look at it.

      Some friends who worked for SW Bell in downtown 20 years ago before leaving for Chicago were just back for a wedding and quized me endlessly on their jaw-dropping (to them) discovery that downtown is dead. “No one works here anymore”. I was perplexed by this view as I saw downtown in resurgence and asked them a couple times in they had visited Washington Ave and realized how many people now live in downtown. They weren’t buying it.

      And my friends have a point. Downtown is in decline in that office jobs are leaving in droves. 20 years ago Bell had thousands of employees downtown. Soon,
      the 42 story AT&T tower will be empty. Other major buildings are
      seeing high vacancies after losing anchor tenants including the Met Life Building. This is seriously a blow to the city tax base because of loss of high earner income (earnings) taxes.

      Conversely, downtown is booming with residential development. I work in downtown and when I look around I see a downtown cleaned up and transformed from so many now living in downtown.

      The reality is that it’s a real mixed bag for downtown. The city needs to attract more office workers to fill the existing buildings. You would think this would be easy given that “A” space rents in Clayton are double the rent costs in downtown. The rent premium for Clayton more than offsets the earnings tax which comes in somewhere between $1-3 dollars a foot. Does someone have the data on the earning tax / sq foot of rent?

      • John R.

        Don, I wasn’t here 20 yrs. ago, but I can imagine someone like your friend being shocked. In 1994, a new TWA Dome was being built that would soon host the new Saint Louis Rams and TWA itself was bringing travelers from across the world. Exciting times!

        Macy’s/Dillard’s/Saint Louis Center had begun to lose some of the luster, but they still had a pulse, more mom and pop shops were open and there were probably 20,000 or more office workers. And there were some 75,000 more souls in the city, a portion of which would find themselves downtown for this or that. I imagine that overall daytime population was significantly higher than today. Its a different downtown now and there has been a lot of progress in some areas, but I just hope it only gets better from here!

        • Don

          you have perfectly captured their view. They also mentioned the closed Famous and Dillards gone.

  • Mark Groth

    This building has one of my favorite fire escapes. Fantastic news!!!

  • John