Another New Apartment Building on the Horizon for SLU Area? (3933-59 West Pine)

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Project image added April 2016:

IMG_4513

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Conway2

*update 10/8/14
nextSTL has learned that the apartments proposed for West Pine is not expected to attract a majority student residents. With so many projects in the vicinity of Saint Louis University, the supply of new housing clearly exceeds demand from even a growing student body. Enrollment is rising on the SLU Frost Campus, though the Law School’s move to downtown this past year pulled back some of that growth.

We’re told that a large majority of early tenants in the now full Laclede Lofts project, just a block south of West Pine, were non-students. The large West Pine Lofts project is planning for less than 50% student residents. The proposed Silo Lofts at Cortex will target a non-student population as well. The Standard, at Forest Park and Vandeventer Avenues, in contrast, is student focused and will rent by the room and feature student-focused design.
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3933 West Pine

3933 West Pine by Paul Sableman*added 12/18/15 – image by Paul Sableman

More apartments–in all likelihood, student housing–may be headed to the vicinity of the St. Louis University (SLU) campus, this time west of campus at 3933-59 West Pine, across the street and to the east of the now-under construction 206-unit West Pine Lofts development.

According to city records, CW Homes is attempting to construct a new multi-family structure across five city lots on West Pine addressed as 3933 (a multi-family), 3937 (another multi-family); 3943-51 (an industrial building); 3953-55 (a portion of a parking lot); and 3959 (the remaining portion of said parking lot). The owner of the lots is Conway Pine Holdings, LLC.

Under the name CW Homes LLC, the developer appears to be Cornerstone Development. Their nearest project to this location is the attractive Gaslight Square condos. Cornerstone is best known for their high-end new construction and full rehab condos in Clayton.

CW Gaslight condosAbove: Gaslight Square condominiums by Cornerstone Development – built 2006

The Board of Adjustment must approve the proposed land use as it is in conflict with present zoning. The area is currently zoned H – Area Commercial. The Board of Adjustment public hearing is on October 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm in Room 208 of City Hall.

According to the City of St. Louis, 3933 was purchased by Conway in 2004 for $157K and has been recorded as vacant since 1999. Records show 3937 has been owned by Conway since at least 1998 and has been vacant since 2000. The buildings are reasonably well maintained. It’s unclear if they are currently in use as storage, or any other purpose.

Below is a photograph of buildings on the development site that are likely slated for demolition if the Board of Adjustment approves the land use. The first building to the right is 3933 West Pine, followed by 3937, and 3943-51 moving left (west) in the photo.  The combined site totals just more than 50,000sf, or 1.17 acres.

Below is a head-on shot of the two eastern-most buildings within the development footprint.

Conway1

Few other details regarding the development are available at this early stage (unit counts, a rendering, construction schedule, etc.).

If this project is indeed student housing, it will continue a trend of new student-oriented construction in the area. See below for a recap:

  • Already mentioned was the West Pine Lofts development on this same block. It is now under construction.
  • Also under construction in the SLU-area is The Standard, a 164-unit student-oriented housing development located at the northeast corner of Forest Park Avenue and Vandeventer.
  • Recently proposed was a 179-unit student housing structure on the 3700 block of Olive, just north of SLU.
  • In the “Probably Cancelled but Still Possible” Department is a student housing proposal at 3920 West Pine, located across the street from 3933-59 West Pine. In this proposal, quietly leaked last year without visible progress since, a one-story warehouse building may be rehabbed and preserved with a mid-rise built above it. Klitzing Welsch Associates displays the renderings for this proposed project on their website. Below is one of the renderings:

3920WPine

  • The Cortex Innovation District issued an RFP earlier this year for the “Silo Lofts”, a residential mid-rise proposed for the southeast corner of Forest Park Avenue and Sarah, within sight of the now under construction IKEA store. The Silo Lofts is not being marketed as a student housing project, but may still serve that population.
  • Proposed but possibly stalled is a student housing development on the site of the old Shack restaurant on the 3800 block of Laclede just south of the SLU campus.

If we receive more information on the 3933-59 West Pine development, we will update this post.

Click here for a map of the area.

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  • baopuANDu

    I have a great idea for the 3920 property! Who wants to finance it? Step right up…

    • Alex Ihnen

      Happy to connect you to people looking for good ideas to support.

      • baopuANDu

        Indeed, I would be most grateful.

  • Mike F

    Sooo…Why not take these buildings back to the original look of the one in the right of the photo frame? Restore the cornices, the parapet height, the first, second and third story porches, new windows, etc. These are triplets, and obviously the current and past ownership of 3933 and 3937 has been very poor. Crap windows, removal of the original cornice, porches. Who does this shit? And they’ve been sitting on them for over a decade? Speculators are scum. A good tar (ok, molasses) and feathering is in order hear. Likelier, however, is a poorly-designed structure with cheap materials, and a full wood frame, and walls you could punch a fist through (and hear your neighbor breathing; but they’re students, so who gives a…). And the City and the alder-schmuck will call this pig a thoroughbred, and, as per usual, expect us to bow and genuflect at their feet (and get surly and incredulous when any criticism is leveled) for the wonderful job they’ve done. Shaking their fool fists at us, and shouting, “Damn preservationist commies!”. (Ignoring, of course, the plain-as-the-nose-on-their-arrogant-faces the compelling and obvious evidence that preserving individual houses and entire districts has W-O-R-K-E-D, time and time again, in not only the City, but nearly everywhere else).

    I swear to the god that doesn’t exist that if I win the lottery, my wife and I are leaving this podunk, backwater, provincial, parochial, ignorant, conservative, blinkered and insular burgh in our dust and heading somewhere else.

  • Presbyterian

    Wash U–like many schools–has been investing very heavily in recent years to rebuild all of their student housing, while SLU has done very little in fifteen years. The world changed in the latter years of Biondi’s administration, and he missed it. The private sector is stepping in to fill the gap.

    Cornerstone has done some great projects. I hope this turns out to be them!

  • Justin

    Doesn’t the Cafe next door use the first floor of the easternmost building as their “annex”?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes – the first floor is part of Cafe Ventana – and is really cool if you haven’t checked it out. I believe the upper floors are occupied apartments. That building isn’t going anywhere.

      • Justin

        That’s good to hear. I must have misread, I thought this project included that building.

  • Presbyterian

    I’m not all that attached to the existing structures, given their relative lack of interest. A lot depends on what is proposed. My priorities involve recreating the street wall and defining vibrant civic spaces and neighborhoods.

    The blocks between Sarah and Vandeventer are really beginning to transform. I look forward to hearing more.

    • John R

      I’d think Laclede is prime for redevelopment with its significant vacant lots and govt. owned property. I’d love to see STLMPD moves its fleet services out as part of a top-notch redevelopment. The Postal Service could also sell its building and re-open in a mixed-use spot in the area.

      • Presbyterian

        Agreed. That’s some valuable real estate!

        • John R

          Do I recall correctly that the PD may be moving out of their facility in the Grove to make way for a project?

          • Alex Ihnen

            Yes, they will be moving. Multiple developers have expressed interest in the site, but there’s no timeline.

          • John R

            Thanks; hopefully a nice project will go in and fill that gap.

          • kjohnson04

            Are we talking about the old building (with attached parking) or the new one across the street?

          • Adam

            whereabouts is this building? on Manchester? i’m not familiar with it—was going to look it up on Street View.

          • John R

            kj and adam, the parcel is almost directly across the street from Rise Coffee & Space…. you’ll notice the surface lot with a gate + a facility set back a bit that makes the building kind of hard to notice. I’m not sure if the building directly to the east that fronts Manchester is still a chemical company or not but if that property could also be acquired and combined with the SLMPD property it would be a pretty significant amount of square footage for a developer to work with.

          • John R

            Actually looking at google maps it looks like the gate cuts off what previously was an intersection of Gibson and Manchester…. it would be interesting to know at what point the city neutered Gibson.

          • Adam

            thanks! yeah, the surface lot and setback is why i couldn’t picture it. it’s not very memorable at the moment.

      • Ashley Diaz

        Hey! Wait a minute! I live very close to that post office and use it frequently! Don’t take out that major convenience from the neighborhood. There is an empty lot across the street that you may redevelop, but leave my USPS office alone! 🙂

        I would love to see some sort of bodega open up on the empty site across from the post office. Something that is not owned by Walgreens or CVS but mom and pop owned; or even a little bodega that has a farmer’s market feel.

        • John R

          I promise to keep it either at its present site or within a block as part of a fabulous new project that will make the neighborhood even more vibrant! Maybe it will be right next to the bodega!
          But getting back to actual projects proposed for the area, I do look forward to seeing what retail is in store for the Gerhardt Block spaces.

  • Tysalpha

    How much market-rate student housing is needed by SLU? Sure not everyone lives right by campus, but no one was complaining about that when I was in grad school.

    • Tysalpha

      And, why not just renovate those two buildings? The one with the bad 1980s bronze-framed windows could look awesome with a period-appropriate rehab.

    • John R

      SLU student population is also down isn’t it? I wonder where these students are coming from… fleeing crappy on-campus housing? Other apartments in the City? Escaping commuting from parental units? I suppose these details also impact official census figures.

      • Alex Ihnen

        Current enrollment appears to be ~13,000 (8K undergratduate/5K graduate). Anyone know numbers from recent years? Anecdotally, I know a lot of first year students are tripled up in dorms – I’d never seen three students in rooms that size at any other school. Of course new apartments won’t require tenants to be SLU students, and if SLU built more on campus housing and required students to live on campus, the dynamic would change significantly.

        • Michael C

          SLU enrollment has been consistent. Here are the figures per the SLU website: http://www.slu.edu/Documents/SLU_Profile.pdf

          2007: 12,309
          2008: 12,733
          2009: 13,313
          2010: 13,785
          2011: 14,073
          2012: 13,981
          2013: 13,505

          • Alex Ihnen

            It’s a 10% increase since ’07, but obviously a decrease more recently. I wonder if the student profile is changing – perhaps becoming more affluent and so driving demand for new off-campus apartments with decent amenities. I hope to find time to look at all the projects and proposals and see exactly how many units/beds are in the works. My quick guess is that not all projects being explored get built.

          • John R

            Good, so not so bad from peak… colleges are worried about the end of the Echo Boom pipeline that boosted college ranks for a good stretch and area Catholic high school enrollment is down in the region so hopefully SLU will be able to hold steady. Of course a boost in foreign enrollment is a strategy that is helping many. Elsewhere, a quick google glance shows that Harris-Stowe enrollment has dropped as well as area community colleges while UMSL is at an all-time high. (I’d like to see some UMSL programs locate downtown or in Cortex area.)

          • biddle

            Umsl has a city presence, umsl at grand center. It is very small, if they were to expand a city footprint it would likely be there. That said, it looks like they are doubling down on horrible NoCo, pushing for a bunch of great streets development dollars on natty bridge.

          • tpekren

            My thought is different, like you noted UMSL is doubling down on its NoCo campus which isn’t all that bad. It has two metrolink stops and some better planning should capitalize on that fact. My only gripe with UMSL is that they should have had a cultural presence in Grand Center a while back.
            .
            What I think needs to happen is a new Community College campus for the city with a focus on IT, Bioscience/health and Advance Manufacturing as well as stepping stone for 4 yr degrees. A well placed urban community college campus with better transit access would be a big plus in my mind. Heck, build vertical on Laclede’s landing

          • biddle

            Its “bad” because its not in the City. Its stupid because the university of missouri “St Louis” should have some kind of presence in St Louis. Just because it is on a mass transit line doesnt make it good urban design. The plus side is that it adds some viability to metrolink, but having all that student activity out in the middle of nowhere doesnt do anybody any good. Its too late now to move the main campus, but they should really do something in the City, yet another example of a regional institution tailor made for an urban setting laying an egg.

          • Brian

            When UMSL was established in 1963, there were no wide-open spaces in the city to locate a new college. The now-vacant parcels were humming with activity: GM was running 3 shifts at its Union & Natural Bridge plant; the Army Ammunition Plant on Goodfellow was being kept busy by the expanding conflict in Vietnam; Pruitt-Igoe was still occupied; Scullin Steel was still in business on Manchester; the Forest Park Highlands was still intact, though it burned to the ground that summer (FoPoCoCo eventually built on the site); Mill Creek Valley had been razed, clearing the land from Union Station to SLU, but the plan was for housing and light industrial/warehousing (plus, with SLU & Harris-Stowe already in the area, UMSL would have been somewhat redundant); and white flight, while under way, had still not emptied out North St. Louis to a large extent. While UMSL could have gotten by with less than the 300+ acres they now have, there were few large plots of land available in the city proper of even half that size. Furthermore, North County was booming, as baby boomers in the bedroom suburbs started entering college. Why build a campus in a part of the region that is already saturated with educational institutions (and would not welcome more competition) when you can build on clean land (it had been a golf course) in the midst of your target market? Finally, North County is still St. Louis; as is South County, Gumbo Flats, Clayton, the Metro East, and even frickin’ St. Charles. Having lived in the City all of my 54 years, there are few people more chauvinistic about the importance and primacy of the City than I used to be. However, I have come to realize that this love it or leave it attitude is counterproductive and is holding the region back. Perhaps UMSL is an anachronism; built as a commuter school, it now finds itself in an era when driving an automobile to school is declasse. However, as long as it fills a need and provides a reasonable education at a reasonable cost, it will be an asset to the entire community, and it has my vote for continuing to use the St. Louis designation on its Normandy campus. (btw, I have no ties to UMSL, having earned my degrees at SLU and WUStL.)

          • biddle

            Yeah, every place on earth is within the City limits of st louis missouri.

          • Mike F

            UMSL used to have a cultural presence in “Grand Center”, but when the inferior Touhill was built, the Premier Performances chamber music series left the exquisitely perfect sound of the Sheldon. A shame and a mistake, as it’s likely that the audience was primarily from the City and inner suburbs, and of course the Touhill’s acoustics are absolutely not up to snuff as compared to the Sheldon’s. That was over a decade ago.

            I heard some amazing performances at that Sheldon series. No amps, no mics, just the pure, unfiltered beauty of the instruments. One especially virtuoso performance by a Canadian cellist, Shauna Ralston, accompanied by Menachem Pressler, was most likely one of the best concerts I’ve ever witnessed. Her ethereal encore recitation of the fourth movement to Oliviere Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (written while Messiaen was in a Nazi German prison camp) was even interrupted by some blindingly stoopid and inconsiderate moron who didn’t turn off his pager. She literally never missed a beat. I, however, had all I could handle at that moment trying not to jump from the second row, front-and-center (smack dab in front of Ms. Ralston) seat I was in to the rear seat where the idiot was and throttling him to oblivion.
            I will never forget the sensations her playing evoked in me (Nor, unfortunately, will I forget the drooling simpleton whose blindingly stupid insensitivity nearly ruined the whole experience)

          • John R

            Ah, yes, I forgot about The Touhill… would have been nice instead to have built a theater in Grand Center along with arts programs.

          • Alex Ihnen

            There’s really no UMSL student presence at Grand Center. There are a couple classrooms at their new building, but at least as far as I know, they’re not often in use.

          • biddle

            I know, and its terrible. My point was they already have a branded, urban loation. If they were to expand in the City wouldnt that be the logical place?

        • kjohnson04

          As a graduate of SLU, I remember in my sophomore year Biondi declared that new students must live on campus. The only wrinkle was the lack of student housing. One of the cart before the horse moments. So while working at the University News and SLU News 22, we ended up covering the inevitable overcrowding that resulted from that. Prior to the new construction, the only new dorms were the Student Village.

  • matimal

    The entire square footage of Manhattan could fit into St. Louis’ undeveloped land and we’re demolishing buildings? I just don’t understand…….

    • kjohnson04

      Thank you. I’m glad someone said that.

  • kjohnson04

    Why not raze two buildings? It’s not like there isn’t plenty of land nearby that isn’t being used. Let’s tear down property with people living in it for bad pre-fab housing. At least the only lost with the RC Cola warehouse (where new lofts are being built) was a few old bottles of Jones Soda on skids. This is historic property that needs to be rehabbed, not replaced.

    John and Adam are right. There are alternatives. Lets force the alternatives.

    • Yojimbo

      Agree with John, Adam, and KJohnson.

  • John R

    The older apartment building directly across from the West Pine Lofts (and I believe immediately to the west of this proposed project) recently joined “The Donatello” (located adjacent to the West Pine Lofts) in upgrading and rebranding…. “The Michelangelo” is being marketed now as luxury living. I think the obvious solution here is to build on the parking lot and industrial building lots but renovate the two apartment buildings and rebrand them “The Raphael” and “The Leonardo.”

    • Adam

      Brilliant! We need a building for every character: the April O’Neil, the Casey Jones, the Bebop, the Rocksteady, the Krang, the Shredder… amazing.

      • Nathan Bookhout

        The Shredder… I like it!! A twenty story internationalist glass and steel tower!!

      • John R

        Once Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Village in completed, we can move on to the next block… how about Wreck-It Ralph-ville on Laclede. The Vanellope, The Calhoun, The General Hologram, etc., etc. Of course, this would be a mixed-use district with great retail. Fix-It Felix Hardware, Sugar Rush Bakery & Sweets, King Candy Shop, Duncan & Wynchell’s Donuts & Eclairs, Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade.

        • Adam

          now you’ve lost me. 😉

  • Adam

    absolutely no reason to raze the two multi-families. renovate them as student apartments and/or build vertically. of course there’s no preservation review here and Roddy has a pretty sh*tty record when it comes to preservation so I won’t hold my breath.

  • careyclanton

    I’d vote no, no, yes, yes, and yes. Rehab and construct around and/or over, please.

    • careyclanton

      tastefully please, as in the above example