Centene Agrees to Terms on Parcel for Phase II Tower in Clayton

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Centene - Clayton, MO

nextSTL has learned Centene Corp. has put a deal together for several parcels in Clayton along Hanley Road between Carondelet Plaza and Forsyth Boulevard. The Clayton-based Fortune 500 healthcare management company intends to expand its campus footprint by building a second tower on the property.

According to sources, Centene has reached terms with Gershman Commercial regarding three properties within the development zone. The bundle includes 12 S. Hanley Rd. which was completed in 1958, 20 S. Hanley Rd. was constructed in 1960, and 7642 Forsyth Blvd was built in 1952.

Longtime a favorite of local oenophiles, the Wine Merchant has operated out of the 9,432 sq. ft. building at 20 S. Hanley Rd. since 1992. Metaphase Design Group occupies the 11,720 sq. ft. building at 12 S. Hanley Rd., and the Lifestyle Center medical spa is located at 7642 Forsyth Blvd. Attempts to reach the business for comment were unsuccessful.

Michael Allen, founder and director of the Preservation Research Office and a lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University, sees nothing necessarily wrong with the demolition that will inevitably follow. However, he notes the lack of any preservation planning ordinance in Clayton.

Centene - Clayton, MO{Centene Phase I included a tower at Hanley and Forsyth with parking and retail to the west}

“The problem with this project is not so much the proposed individual demolitions, but that Clayton has no mechanism to run the losses of these humanely-scaled modern buildings against professional standards or community desires. Until the city creates preservation review, it is hard to support demolitions — even ones that might lead to beneficial development,” Allen commented.

In 2008 Centene backed out of plans to be the corporate anchor for Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis, and also considered moving its headquarters out of state. Clayton then approved $22 million in tax abatement. Centene built a 17-story office tower at 7700 Forsyth Blvd. with a 1,700-space parking garage and a public plaza with decorative landscaping, including outdoor seating, a waterfall and a fire pit.

Centene - Clayton, MO{early renderings showed two towers, extending from Forsyth to Carondelet}

Along with 20,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail Centene Plaza phase one is 100 percent leased to companies including one of the region’s largest law firms, Armstrong Teasdale, as well as, JP Morgan, Cassidy Turley, and Stinson Leonard Street LLP.

Centene, the state-appointed administrator of Medicaid, reported $10.5 billion in revenue in 2013. That was a 37 percent increase, and its profits totaled $161 million. The company recently selected Ferguson as the location for a new claims processing center. The facility plans to employ approximately 200. Representatives from neither Centene nor Gershman Commercial were made available to comment. We’ll continue to update when additional information is made available.

Centene - Clayton, MO{The Centene development would replace the Wine Merchant, and adjacent buildings}

{Centene Phase I replaced Harris Armstrong’s Vandervoort’s building – image by Paul Hohmann}

Centene renderings - Clayton, MO{previous development plans showed Phase II west of Hanley Road}

Centene renderings - Clayton, MO{previous development plans showed Phase II west of Hanley Road}

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  • moorlander

    Centene is working architects and the goal is to break ground in 12-18 months. The Wine Merchant has requested permits for 7817 Forsyth which is the old bank between the Crossing and PNC.

  • Presbyterian

    More development is great. So long as no one proposes a skybridge across Hanley, we may be okay. 🙂

    • Alex Ihnen


  • Greg

    Centene has parking rights in the garage for levels 6-10 and that parking space is almost full, even with several hundred employees moving out to West County. (Realize Centene only has floors 3-8 in the Centene Plaza building – the remainder of the tenants and retail shops utilize the remaining parking in the garage.)

    I’ve heard that Centene has approval to build a new building on the greenspace lot south of the new building. I suspect we will see one of two things happen:

    1) A larger than previous planned building is built across Hanley with a parking garage placed on the greenspace lot.

    2) The previously planned building is built on the green space lot and parking is built across Hanley (with the possibility of additional buildings on that side of Hanley, down the road).

    The expectation was that the Centene Plaza building would provide enough space for the company’s growth for 5-7 years. Instead only lasted 3-4 years.

    • moorlander

      Centene added an upper floor recently, I believe floor 11.

      • Greg

        Part of one upper floor.

  • moorlander

    Que the Crescent Nymbys!!!!

  • matimal

    Clayton’s emerging as a valuable corporate center, CWE/Midtown as Eds/Meds/Tech, and Downtown as start-ups and innovators of various kinds. This isn’t what we’d all want, but it makes metro St. Louis a formidable economy.

    • Alex Ihnen

      And downtown is becoming a residential neighborhood. Downtown + Downtown West added 4,651 residents from 2000-2010. With Roberts Tower, Arcade (and others I’m not remembering), since, it’s changing drastically.

      • matimal

        Good point. I predict that home and office will blur in the future and people will increasingly live and work in more geographically connected ways. Downtown offers a place for such arrangements to be established in St. Louis. St. Louis has a lot to work with. No entity gets to magically become what it wants, but it can work toward it by acknowledging what it really is and St. Louis offers a surprisingly full-service metro with affordability and a central location, and strong collection of institutions. That’s something not available in that many places in North America.

  • Why not build on the vacant land that Centene already owns before demolishing existing (and occupied) structures? Oh right- “greenspace”. Classic St. Louis.

    • Alex Ihnen

      That’s a good question, and one I don’t know the answer to. I believe that the greenspace at Hanley and Carondelet is slated for future development.

    • moorlander

      Because, believe it or not, there’s not enough space in the garage with the wind chime..