New 179-Unit Student Housing Building Coming to Grand Center (3700-3824 Olive)?

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A new 179-unit residential building geared toward students may soon be in development at the southwest corner of Olive Street and North Spring Avenue. The address listed on the building permit application is “3700-3824 Olive”, which would take in about a block and a half of Olive Street west of Spring. Two buildings within the address span of 3700-3824 Olive have been demolished in the past few years; one historic building, at 3724 Olive, remains. All other parcels in the range are vacant lots. Matthew Foggy, Jr. is shown as owner of the eastern half of the collective lots; Grand Center, Inc, owns the western portion.

Olive Street

Note that this permit application is shown as “zoning only,” which indicates that the city’s Zoning Board must first approve the proposed land use prior to the permit application moving any further. The site is presently zoned H – Area Commercial. Below is a Google Streetview capture of 3700 Olive, just one block north of Lindell and St. Louis University and one (long) block west of Grand.

3700Olive

The developer listed on the permit is Peak Campus Development out of Atlanta, Georgia. Examples of developments the company has tackled in other cities are shown in their portfolio here. Peak Campus Management acquired the management contract for the Lindell Strip (Coronado Place, Moolah Place, and Lindell Towers, partially visible in the photo above) in June 2013. See the press release for that announcement here.

New residential construction in Grand Center would be a major turning-point for the district, which has seen mixed-use historic rehabs and some new commercial construction, but no new residential buildings at all, and none without some frontage on Grand. Other details on the proposed development are scarce. More on this development proposal as it comes to us.

Olive Street, Grand Center - St. Louis, MO

*update: The William Cuthbert Jones House shown above is in the development footprint, but according to a well-sourced comment below, the historic home would be moved to a new location. The other two buildings appearing within the development outline have been demolished. According to the same source, the building would likely be similar to the West Pine Lofts currently under construction nearby. Michael Allen at the Preservation Research Office has a great write up of the William Cuthbert Jones House.

West Pine Lofts - St. Louis, MO
{West Pine Lofts – currently under construction near St. Louis University}

Two buildings have been demolished recently on the block (images below). The last remaining building to the east is listed on the National Register for Historic Places along with the Jones House. Several parcels and buildings on this block have recently sold.

Recently demolished:

Olive Street demo - St. Louis, MO

Click here for a map of the area.

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  • Mike F

    I recall that a very large (4 stories, and a fairly deep lot; the Wagner? Warner?), well-built, attractive and unfortunately for it–old–apartment building was demolished in this vicinity. It is certainly good news that a new building is going in where there were once an entire block of residences, but this seems to be another case of the Grand Center and SLU organizations’ poor planning decisions over the last twenty years or so. So many buildings razed, so many eminently restorable into student housing, and yet that choice was dismissed out of hand. This is indeed a private development, but I can’t help but think how different this area would be if a concerted effort was taken by both major institutions to stabilize and restore the structures now lying in a landfill. No, we don’t live in a perfect world, and no, I didn’t have the money to purchase and restore them myself (I’d love to slap every straw-man who brings that one up), but I don’t recall any effort to even consider the option of restoration.

    Oh, well. It’ll be nice to have the block occupied…again.

  • moe

    I think this will be a great addition to the area. My only concern….relying too much on students. I know it’s in SLU’s backyard…and student housing is needed, but sooner or later the student bubble will stop and start to deflate. Then what? We need diversification of housing stock.

    • tbatts666

      Right on. We need flexible or diverse housing.

      We don’t want empty housing to be a liability to St. Louis in the future.

      • tpekren

        Have to agree with what Moe, Adam and yourself stating. But I believe that goes to the bigger question of bringing jobs back into the city, specifically downtown and CORTEX. Couldn’t help but notice a Post Dispatch article about an Indian IT firm expanding their NC presence by adding 1200 jobs and how three states tried to lure them away. Unfortunately, most states rarely ever mention Missouri let alone St. Louis being competitive for new jobs.
        .
        I still got faith in CORTEX. But they still need to land a big outstate presence to fill the proposed 500,000 square feet to be built on top of the US Metals site next to the new Boyle metrolink station and ever expanding number of direct flights to SFO. Land a couple of big employers for CORTEX and you will see the housing stock built that goes beyond student housing.

    • Adam

      i’m not confident this will be well-enough built to last until the student bubble bursts, much less beyond that. my concern is that in 40-50 years these cardboard structures will be falling apart and will all need to be replaced.

      • Ihanaf

        Maybe by then we will be ready to build that that state of the art soaring glass tower with mixed use at street level. 🙂

        • Adam

          hopefully several of them, since we’re apparently getting several of these paper mache student housing developments.

    • Mike F

      Student bubble? Are you referring perhaps to the student loan bubble?

  • Paul Hohmann

    I happened to be in City Hall this morning for plan review of another project and asked the plan reviewer if he had seen the zoning app for this, specifically curious what if anything would be happening to the Wolfner Library Building toward the end of the block at Vandeventer. He said he had seen it and looked up the addresses and confirmed that it does not include the Wolfner property. He said the proposed project starts at the corner of Spring and has massing similar to West Pine Lofts with a garage in the middle. It would include moving the restored Italianate home at 3724 Olive to another lot (presumably farther west on the block). The other remaining building a few parcels east of the Wolfner is still privately held and presumably also not included.

    • Adam

      moved instead of razed? hallelujah! maybe the stink over Pevely and the saucer opened a few eyes in midtown.

  • Chris Naffziger

    Oh I’m sure they’ll demolish the perfectly preserved house.

  • John R

    I’d prefer to see a big Art House type project here or maybe see what UIC could do, but quality student housing still could be a great addition.

    • Adam

      i’d like to see the Art House development resurface somewhere in the city, at least. i want some modern glass and concrete architecture up in here.

      • John R

        Grand Center makes a logical spot…. hopefully the original site can re-emerge with something similar, although that would be many fewer lots than I’d like to see. I also want to see Downtown West and/or north Laclede’s Landing get to the point where we see some townhouse development.

  • tbatts666

    This looks great! Thanks nextstl for keeping us up to date on this stuff!

  • Michael C.

    Great news!!

  • jds

    That surviving house at 3724 had better stay put. It’s in impeccable condition.

    • Justin

      Hopefully the fact that it is on the national historic register will help prevent any demolition. Here is an interesting post about the home and the surrounding area.

      http://preservationresearch.com/2011/04/the-william-cuthbert-jones-house-a-midtown-gem/

      • tbatts666

        Great opportunity for adaptive reuse. They could transform it into a community center for the people living in the student housing!

      • Alex Ihnen

        Unfortunately, I don’t believe that this building has any protection from demolition. It’s not in a local historic district or a preservation review area. The National Register designation means it it eligible for state and federal historic preservation tax credits, but not protected.

  • Presbyterian

    Just noticed … Peak is also doing West Pine Lofts. I would expect something similar at this location. They must be experiencing very high demand at their Lindell properties.

  • Presbyterian

    That stretch of Olive and Spring really needs infill to define the street. I’m hopeful that this project will move forward and help re-create a great urban space.

  • Brian

    I hope Grand Center pushes them to do better than they have in other locations. Even if this is only student housing, they should build innovative, high quality structures. We do not need another Dryvit over brick post-modern box.

  • Ihanaf

    Wow. Their portfolio runs the Gamut from crappy to sleek. Wonder which end we will fall on……

    • SnakePlissken

      I’m guessing crappy-sleek.

    • Ryann

      I wish our modern society would stop making cookie cutter buildings, they all look the same. What happened to making something nice like the police headquarters or city hall. And I’m not saying they have to look exactly like those buildings but something unique that looks nice would be great.

      • Alex Ihnen

        I agree, but in the end, I think form matters much more. Many great cities are filled with “cookie cutter” buildings, but their massing makes all the difference. I don’t really think STL builds more crappy buildings that other cities (Boston has tons of crap for example), but our buildings here are singular, lack context, and so stick out. Also, when building is slow, our expectations for each building are raised. Just my take.