Montgomery Tower in Clayton Moves Ahead with Revised Design

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Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

A revised design for the $100M Montgomery Tower at the corner of S. Central Avenue and Forsyth Boulevard has been submitted to the City of Clayton. New plans by the architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz out Chicago reveal a 31 story, 546K sf, glass apartment tower with street level retail.

In January, this site was first to report the nearly decade old project had been revived. At the time, Joel Montgomery Jr. of Webster Groves-based Montgomery Development told nextSTL that market conditions were favorable for a high-quality apartment tower, and that he was optimistic about moving forward in 2014.

Clayton is on the verge of a significant residential transformation. Three additional projects, along with the Montgomery Tower, could add as many as 565 housing units to the city of 16,000 residents. The Crossing, a $72M, 26 story, 250-unit tower appears likely to win approval. The 229-unit Vanguard apartments at 8500 Maryland Avenue is being planned, and the Maryland School Townhomes project is being refined.

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

The tower features 316 apartment units comprised of 120 efficiency, 147 one-bedroom, 47 two-bedroom, and 2 three-bedroom units for a total of 367 beds. Retail plans show just two storefronts, including a 5,500 sf grocery, and 2,900 bank. The residential lobby and sculpture plaza would occupy the building’s corner.

Parking occupies a portion of floors two through 10, providing 361 spaces for residents. Thirty-nine below grade parking spaces are designed for retail visitors and guests. The building also includes 344 bicycle parking spaces below grade.

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Apartments occupy a portion of floors two through 10. Level 11 features an indoor/outdoor that includes a cafe, cinema, library, fitness facility, dog run, pool, spa, and other spaces. Apartments rise to level 30, where the only two three-bedroom units are located. A rooftop amenity deck tops the structure. The conceptual design will next be reviewed by the Clayton Architectural Review Board. The project is not expected to seek tax abatement.

Montgomery Bank will likely be the bank tenant, and it is possible the 5,500 sf grocery will be an iteration of the existing World News. World News has been operating out of the building since the 1960s, and has been a local favorite for nearly as long. It is the go to place for domestic and international daily and Sunday newspapers. World News also sells groceries and carries more than 2,500 magazines.

Architectural model perspectives:

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Building elevations with materials:

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Site plan and floor plates:

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Montgomery Tower - Clayton, MO

Previous Montgomery Tower renderings:

Montgomery Bank_Clayton

2 S Central_Clayton

2 S Central 2_Clayton

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  • Adam

    Can somebody remind me why this project is on hold?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Not enough money? I’ve never heard an explanation to be honest. FWIW, I’d love to see the existing storefronts stay here and the tower be built on one of the downtown’s parking lots or elsewhere.

  • Hasan

    This looks great. I’m looking forward to this and all the other residential projects in Clayton.

    The conversation on Clayton vs Downtown is interesting. Personally, I don’t think we have anything to worry about; both markets can thrive together.

    • John R

      Just curious whether you feel downtown is thriving now? It seems to me more stalled than anything else. More residents but fewer workers. Office is a huge struggle; start-ups are a source of optimism but likely will take years to make a big dent in occupancy/employment. There’s not yet enough of a population to drive an increase in retail. Arcade-Wright will be a nice boost but some retrenchment on Wash Ave. and Railway Exchange is now a ghost. Its really hard to know how much of an impact more Clayton residential and office will have on downtown but if those projects move forward while things like the once-promising plans for the Chemical (still hopeful!) and Jefferson Arms (crying right now!) continue to stall, even aside from any new towers, it will be a frustration for me. I’d like to hear your/others thoughts but I’ll end mine here to keep from endless back/forth.

      • Hasan

        Not thriving, but not stalled either. Maybe, stuck in first gear. Office is a struggle but I believe that will soon change with companies relocating and expanding in the city. The recent announcements in Clayton will grow interest in the core thus creating a larger pool of potential customers. Lack of substantial population (employee) growth downtown is the main issue. Get companies to relocate downtown and everything can change very quickly. And on the residential side, if more units can get built, across all price points, then I think more people would move downtown. Its tough for downtown to get out of 1st gear, but once it does, it’ll be a nice run.

  • moe

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the tower looks great. But all the towers in the region, be they in Clayton, Ellisville, CWE, or Downtown St. Louis are useless unless we have jobs so people can afford to live in these towers. I would have loved for this to be a new Corporate Headquarters for some company moving to St. Louis.

  • moorlander

    It was just pointed out to me that this building looks almost identical, yet like a slightly smaller, than SCB desgned 500 Lake Shore in Chicago, IL

  • Sean McElligott

    I am happy for Clayton but why is downtown not seeing any tower proposals?
    Is it NLEC?
    Banks don’t want to loan to downtown development?
    Clayton talks to developers more?
    Or does Clayton have job growth?

    • rusty

      Because they need to fill up the empty towers they have first. Thanks again Clayton, Mo!

  • Presbyterian

    While I’d like to see a more retail-rich first floor, this project will add much-needed residential density to our urban core. This is good for our region.

    • rusty

      Clayton is not the urban core of this region, not close, its not even a part of it at all. Its a classic edge city.

      • Alex Ihnen

        Yes and no. Clayton is east of the metro area’s population center, is one of the more dense areas of the region, and has two light rail stations. It’s a suburb, no doubt, but it was developed in the 1920s. My take is that the region is better if Clayton is better (more economically sustainable land use, etc.). The same is true of every locale. I hope Ellisville becomes more economically sustainable. My belief is that we’ll see better, more dense, more urban, land use if places aren’t allowed to pursue a development ponzi scheme.

        • rusty

          Im just glad you are able to admit that Clayton is a suburb, unlike most peolle on this site

          • Presbyterian

            I don’t think this is an issue of willingness, but of disagreement. 🙂

          • rusty

            And yet it moves…

          • matimal

            “it”?

      • matimal

        St. Louis’ urban core is stretched out along a line from downtown to Clayton. This may not be what we want, but it’s what we have to work with. We have to be realistic.

        • rusty

          Lets work with developing the urban core, not a suburban edge city

          • matimal

            Lets work on developing metropolitan St. Louis, not letting internal divisions keep St. Louis from participating in the global economy however it can.

          • rusty

            If that means abandoning the City and becoming a midwestern phoenix im not interested. Ill just move to Chicago, like lots of other young people here interested in a dynamic, thriving City.

          • moorlander

            So in your eyes any development in Clayton = abandoning the City?

          • rusty

            Yes, that is what downtown claton is. A suburban alternative to downtown.

          • moorlander

            So all development should should stop abruptly at the city county line? What do you propose be the best use of St. Louis county? Should it be returned to farmland and forest?

          • rusty

            No, but building up downtown clayton has a direct negative affect on downtown st louis. A bad thing for the City, and a bad thing for urbanists, if they desire to have a d ense functioning city. Clayton can do what it wants, downtown needs to work harder to attract more develoment. Clayton makes that harder, which is bad for downtown, the city, and the region.

          • matimal

            “building up downtown clayton has a direct negative affect on downtown st Louis”
            Real estate markets just aren’t that simple. The success of investment in a metro actually encourages others to consider investing there who would not otherwise have done so. Economists call it ‘externalities.” When you paint your house, it increases the value of your neighbors house to some degree. Clayton has ‘externalities’ for St. Louis city. There isn’t some absolute limit on the amount of investment available to metro St. Louis.

          • matimal

            You’re supposing an all or nothing dynamic that just isn’t the way real estate investment and metropolitan areas work. Young people today are far more likely to go to Nashville, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, all of which have far less urbanity than St. Louis. I think you need to proverbially turn your focus 180 degrees to see St. Louis is a more realistic context.

          • rusty

            Not all or nothng, city developmen is better for the region because it helps create a dynamic urban environment that there is a growing market for. Thats means a really thriving downtown, not faking it with a place like Clayton.

          • Andy

            Just because downtown Clayton is not in St. Louis City does not mean it cannot also be an urban area. I am personally happy when we create more walkable areas in the region, especially along the route of the Metrolink. Your arguments against Clayton seems to be “outside city limits equals bad, inside city limits equals good.” What if we used a city limit for St. Louis similar to that of Chicago.

            As you can see, if we did that, then most of St. Louis County would fall within the boundaries. If we extended this line separating city from county and Clayton magically became inside the city of St. Louis, would you then be happy about the development going on in Clayton?

      • Mike Brockman

        In most other cities without a city/county divide, wouldn’t Clayton be more of an “Uptown” district? I say this because between downtown STL to downtown Clayton, there is a pretty consistent urban form.

        IMO, what makes Clayton frustrating is that it is not part of the city and its tax coffers. If it were, I’d compare it to Buckhead in Atlanta. Both are about 8 miles miles from the regions CBD and consist of upscale retail, restaurants and a sizable employment district.

        • rusty

          To the extent that atlanta has an urban core buckhead is not part of it. We have an “uptown” district in the urban core. It is called the central west end. Cayton would not exist without city county devide. The reason clayton is there is to not be in the city, that is why it developed in the first place.

          • Mike Brockman

            Good point.

      • Presbyterian

        Viewed from the north, from the south or from above, St. Louis has a dense, multi-family, mile-wide central corridor running from Brentwood Blvd. to the Arch. Think Downtown, Midtown, Central West End, DeBaliviere (Place and Skinky-D), the Loop/Wash U and Clayton. The City-County division is a legal reality, but from an urban perspective, the density of the Central Corridor continues along Forsyth and the Moorlands up to Shaw Park.

        • rusty

          I guess you are right, clayton is part of the urban core, but soulard, laf,sq, benton park or the tower groves or shaw aren’t. Makes sense.

          • Adam

            c’mon. he didn’t say those neighborhoods aren’t part of the core. he was talking about the central corridor. what point are you trying to make in bringing them up?

    • John R

      It is far from a slam dunk. The potential market for new towers is quite limited in our slow-growth region and whatever gets built in Clayton will have a definite impact on what can get built in both the CWE & downtown. And more housing stock in Clayton may even lure some existing residents away from downtown… I’m sensing a lot of residents are becoming frustrated with how things are going in their neck of the woods. Perhaps if these Clayton residential towers get quick occupancy they’ll prove a greater regional market exists for towers and open up more financing for such projects in the City, but I’m not sure that will happen. If the proposed OPUS tower had workers on site and other city projects were announced I’d feel more comfortable, but so far we’ve only been able to have one Chicago developer finish off a pre-recession tower. My preference would be for Clayton to be the overflow location for robust activity in downtown…. but it just doesn’t look like that is happening.

      • Alex Ihnen

        I would argue that towers are far from what the city needs. The projects like West Pine Lofts, Cortona, The Standard, Opus, City Walk, and more are great projects for the city. The 3-8 story infill creates density and fills more voids in the city.

        • John R

          Mid-rise is great and that will be the workhorse of infill construction, but a few towers, particularly in downtown, are needed if we are to have truly robust residential growth in the City…. towers can deliver density on relatively small footprints and are the highest and best use for certain lots; they also are a product that appeals to a certain type of customer — its sort of like the law firm that left downtown to Clayton for the Centene Building because downtown didn’t have modern Class A space. And my larger point is that if Clayton will begin delivering many hundreds of units (regardless of type) to the market, that will have a negative impact on the scope and speed of projects in the City.

  • STLEnginerd

    The design is good but i think there are better places to put it. The parking lot immediately south is the obvious choice. I really like the storefronts currently on Central and think that is part of Clayton’s identity that the need to preserve. If the future of Clayton is all glass towers it will be soulless.

    The ideal scenario would have STL County essentially trading land to Montgommery parking lot for the historic storefronts. Then sell those and use the proceeds to build a garage for St County Courts on the remaining parcel. Or they could arrange for this building to be built on the county courts lot, and in exchange they get a permanent easement for the parking they are loosing. Building is built, storefronts saved, and parking capacity preserved.

    The thing that bothers me is not that a complex deal like this might not be successful, but that its assumed impossibility means that no one even tries…

    • moorlander

      StL Development Partnership has put out an RFP for the lot to the south. The county wants another highrise there too. You can search for new world trade center StL for more info.

  • Imran

    Nice and streamlined. The only criticism for me is the 10 story blank concrete panel wall on the south aspect. Wondering why they did that. Maybe it comes right up to the property line and the wall is a fire code requirement….

  • Chaifetz10

    Clayton a skyline is about to really take off with these two modern glass towers. Would I live for both to be downtown instead? Sure. But it’s density in the central corridor and not more suburban growth. Love the renderings.

    Does anyone with photoshop ability want to take a stab at what the clayton skyline might look like in 5 years?

    • Geoff Whittington

      Centene Tower 2 will also soon be announced…More on that later….

      • tpekren

        DeWitt and Cordish will be left in the dust again. I’m still amazed that BPV can’t get one tower to rise while things are really starting to happen between CWE/CORTEX and Clayton CBD. At this point, I honestly see the next proposed tower be in CWE (whether it be Koplar or smaller CORTEX hotel/residential tower) or Drury moving forward on Lacledes before BPV even puts out a rendering.

        • Geoff Whittington

          BPV has been a big disappointment in this regard. I am told Cordish is not easy to work with.

          • tpekren

            I think Cordish has made it pretty clear that they want the big pay off and absolutely no risk the day that Centene said thanks no thanks to BPV. It was confirmed when Stifel Nichols found themselves in a much better position by saying thanks no thanks to BPV also. .
            .
            But trying to get back to the topic on hand. I wonder if Montgomery’s confidence will rub off on the Drury family? Both companies have the developable land for residential high rise in good locations as far as I’m concern, both are established businesses with strong bottom lines that must give financers some degree of confidence and both will profit from their risk by not having a third party developer.or having to secure property after they propose something,

          • Jason

            As a former employee for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, I can tell you with absolute certainty that Cordish is nobody’s friend. I can also tell you that the massive debt payments KCMO is now required to pay each year is partly the reason I no longer work for KCMO. Cordish fleeced us.

    • rusty

      This is suburban growth.

      • chaifetz10

        I think that you’re just upset this isn’t downtown or midtown. There is no way that this project gets built anywhere but here (since they already own the land). And I’d rather see density added to Clayton than say to Chesterfield. Is this project great for St. Louis the city? Nope. But it’s still adding density to the regions core instead of spreading it out past 270.

        • imran

          And the residents of these towers will be able to see the CWE and downtown from their windows ( and rooftop deck ). They will feel more connected to the City than, say, Creve Coeur or Chesterfield. It would be only natural for them to venture into the City and discover how cool it really is.

          • rusty

            Dude, talk about lipstick on a pig, are you jeff rainford?

          • chaifetz10

            Nope. Just a realist who is looking at the silver lining here instead of doom and gloom.

          • rusty

            More power to you. Im also a realist, and I really think Clayton is terrible for the City of st louis.

          • matimal

            How is thinking the existence of Clayton is terrible more ‘realistic’ than thinking that the existence of Clayton is good?

          • rusty

            Is bad for the city, takes biz away, pretty straight forward

          • matimal

            I think you are wrong. It isn’t that straight forward.

          • Imran

            LOL. Considering my name is Imran, It would be rather difficult for me to be Jeff Rainford. This will make Clayton look more and more like the city and, in the future, the city-minded dwellers of Clayton may not shriek as much at the prospect of a unification. As for the City, after 250 years, its not going anywhere. And if we preserve its historical assets, it will draw people (and glass towers).

          • rusty

            Not tryng to be contrarian but the buildings they want to tear down for this look more like the City than the tower. Even as someone who hates Clayton they should atleast build this on a surface lot and not tear down one of the only engaging blocks in their edge city.

          • Imran

            Agree with you there. Clayton seems to have no conscience when it comes to historical preservation.

          • rusty

            Seems like the Maryland school wo i ld be a great residential conversion. The location is fantastic (if you dont think clayton is a soulless suburban edge city), walking distance from dt clayton and forsythe metrolink, yet they want to tear it down, I dont get it.

          • Alex Ihnen

            We’ll have an update on that project tomorrow (maybe later today). The issue there is that it’s owned by the school district, which is obligated to sell at market rate. In Clayton that means demolition for new homes. In theory, the city could simply block any demolition, but it’s not clear anything would happen with the building. As much as I believe that cities should have progressive development (and preservation) plans, there are market forces that direct development activity.

          • moorlander

            C’mon man. I’ve lived in Clayton for 10 years now and I can tell you it’s far from soulless. I’ll concede we have a mostly sleepy central business district after hours but you can clearly see by the flurry of new development being proposed, that the city is actively and aggressively attempting to bring enliven the cbd. I think adding 795 apartments is a pretty good start. (316 here, 250 at the Crossing, and another 229 at the Vanguard.)

          • rusty

            Resdential clayton makes total sense. Im talking about the CBD, thats the drain on the City.

          • Alex Ihnen

            That’s absolutely true. I count 11 retail spaces (10 occupied) in the buildings currently on the site. Reducing that to two – and one being a bank – is a huge step backward. This is about as dense as Clayton retail can get.

          • moorlander

            I do really like that corner. This intersection is the heart of Clayton.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Here’s a retail map of downtown Clayton. This corner (blue circle) is one of the more dense nodes, in an otherwise sparse setting. Perhaps a trade for residential here makes sense, but the city needs a retail plan as well.

          • Yojimbo

            Agree.

          • Jason

            Are you wimple?

          • Justin

            Lol I was thinking the exact same thing. Although, wimple had more typos in his posts.

      • matimal

        It is dense growth.

        • rusty

          So was new town

          • Mathew Chandler

            new town followed the new urbanist development pattern mostly focusing on design/ land use and is not built nearly to this density.

      • Mathew Chandler

        better suburban growth pattern than most in a suburban community. IF every suburb followed this growth model there would be a lot less for urbanists to frown upon.