Green Street Set to Add 250 Apartments, 50,000sf of Retail in The Grove

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Chouteaus Grove_outline

According to a press release from Green Street St. Louis, the largely vacant 4.5 acre Commerce Bank site at the eastern entrance to The Grove in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood will soon be home to a large mixed-used development.

Named Chouteau’s Grove, the $70M development will feature apartments over first-floor retail and structured parking. The existing Commerce Bank is being replaced. A smaller home for the bank is set to open this month at the far east end of the site at the corner of Vandeventer and Chouteau Avenues.

Brooks Goedeker, Executive Director of Park Central Development, told nextSTL that the project has the potential to transform the area. “We were looking for a mixed use proposal to fit the form based code,” Goedeker said. “This was one of the areas where we could do a large development. Green Street has a great vision for The Grove.”

Although no site plan, or renderings have been made available, the current concept includes 250 apartments above as much as 50,000 square feet of retail space. The planned anchor tenant would be a full service grocer. The mixed use City Walk project currently under construction in the neighboring Central West End features 177 apartments and a 30,000 square foot Whole Foods.

To fit planned apartments and retail on the 4.5 acre Chouteau’s Grove site would require at least a four to five story development. The nearby four story 206-unit West Pine Lofts development with no retail or public parking, covers a site of approximately 3.5 acres.

The project will likely seek $14M in Tax Increment Financing support. TIF allows the development to retain a portion of new sales tax generated to pay for public infrastructure. TIF has not been used in Forest Park Southeast previously, but is the mechanism employed to spur the development of Cortex and Ikea, just north of this development.

Commerce Bank - 901 S. Vandeventer - St. Louis, MO{the new Commerce Bank building occupies the easternmost portion of the site}

Commerce Bank{the new Commerce Bank is scheduled to open this month}

Goedeker stated the TIF may be key to maximizing the potential of the project and surrounding neighborhood. The development could see a new street bisect the expansive site, and as many as 300 public parking spaces could be included.

“The TIF wouldn’t be possible without a grocer,” Goedeker stated. “One of the concerns was that we are leasing 120 spaces from Commerce Bank. We looked at The Loop and considered their parking to square feet of retail. The price per square foot (of surrounding properties) will be going up and you’ll be able to sell to developers.”

Additional parking is seen as a needed asset to encourage the development of remaining vacant lots and empty storefronts. A concurrent development is already planned. The 37-space pay parking lot leased from the City’s Land Reutilization Authority could see a $10M mixed use building featuring more than a dozen apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail.

The development will be presented to the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Development Committee before it proceeds. Along with considering the still under refinement form based code, the neighborhood will be asked to weigh the mix of local and national retailers sought for the area.

IMG_3389{the 4.5 acre site is by far the largest vacant parcel is the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood}

Commerce Bank - 901 S. Vandeventer - St. Louis, MO{the existing Commerce Bank building – looking east on Chouteau at Vandeventer Avenue}

Although heavily altered and expanded, the oldest section of the existing Commerce Bank dates from 1910. Several developers considered repurposing the building before passing. A demolition permit application was filed this past month, clearing the way for Chouteau’s Grove.

According to the press release, Green Street is currently marketing the site to prospective retailers, conducting a feasibility study to determine the appropriate type, size and number of residential units, and initiating discussions with community stakeholders to address traffic circulation and parking. Green Street completed the transformation of the Renard Paper Company building into Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.’s Brewery and Bier Hall on Manchester Avenue at the far west end of The Grove. Other projects include the Jefferson Crossing, Chouteau Commons, and the River City Business Park.

Chouteau’s Grove is by far the largest mixed use development proposal in Forest Park Southeast since this proposal at Taylor and Chouteau Avenues failed to get off the ground (image below). That site eventually saw construction of the Aventura apartment complex. A Hilton Home 2 hotel and small mixed use building are under development.

Chouteau-Taylor rendering 1

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  • RyleyinSTL

    I was just discussing this vacant parcel with a the wife unit as we drove by the other day. I wondered how many years it take to fill in, and figured when it did, that would really be a sign the area was truly making big progress. Great news! If only Commerce Bank had gone urban with the new bank…those floozies. Why are new buildings so afraid of the curb?!

  • CWE1959

    This is good news for much needed infill at this intersection. However, I wonder how many more apartments the Grove and CWE neighborhoods can absorb. Without population growth and significant increases in employment, we may only be witnessing another period of population shifts from one St. Louis neighborhood to the Grove, CWE, and/or Central Corridor. In light of the recent violent crimes Downtown, there may be a number of renters looking to relocate to the Grove and/or CWE.

    • Presbyterian

      I suspect we’re seeing the continuation of a decades-long shift of young professional renters from west county and Maryland Heights (the trendy places to be twenty years ago) to the city. I doubt any of this growth is at the expense of other city neighborhoods. In fact, it may just raise expectations enough to get landlords investing more in their properties.

      • Mike F

        “In fact, it may just raise expectations enough to get landlords investing more in their properties.”

        From your mouth to Dog’s ears, sir.

        • Alex Ihnen

          From your mouth to “God’s” ears?

          Anyway, when I lived in the neighborhood I met more than one landlord who had inherited a multi-family property, or bought it for next to nothing 20 years ago. They were charging $600-$800 for a 3br unit. When I suggested they could raise rent, they basically said it would be too much work and that they didn’t want to gouge anyone. Whatever one thinks about affordable housing, and such, the lack of profit motive, and long stagnant development of the neighborhood clearly delayed further economic development.

          • Mike F

            Well, I’m an atheist, sooo…

      • John R

        Downtown might take a bit of a hit in the short-term as it faces increased competition from elsewhere in the Central Corridor offering significant new multi-family units. There were some projects here and there in the past 10 years or so outside downtown, but the percentage appears to be much larger now. But projects will certainly continue to come online downtown and it is great to see the city’s Central Corridor population making a run towards 100,000… it may take a few decades but its heading in the right direction!

      • moe

        I agree with both of you (Presbyterian and CWE1959). Apartments, apartments, condos, and so on. When are we going to hear about jobs? It’s going to take more than a few ground floor retailers and an IKEA to pay the rents for all these units. And more TIFs? There we go shooting ourselves in the foot again.

      • CWE1959

        Possibly. However, without population and employment growth there is little gained for the St. Louis community as a whole. Continued parochialist thought will get us limited and/or segmented progress without a net gain. There is a larger conversation that needs to take place about what true “growth” means or looks likes.

  • Presbyterian

    I wonder what grocer they’ll sign. Typical sizes:

    Trader Joe’s 14-15,000 s.f.
    Culinaria 21,000 s.f.
    Aldi’s 15-18,000 s.f.
    Natural Grocers 12-20,000 s.f.
    Fresh Market 21,000 s.f.
    Earth Fare 25-27,000 s.f.
    Fields Foods 37,000 s.f.
    Whole Foods 38-40,000 s.f.
    Walmart Neighborhood Market 40,000 s.f.
    Shop’n Save 40-60,000 s.f.
    Schnuck’s 55-80,000 s.f.

    • STLEnginerd

      plus the associated parking… only some have demonstrated a desire to work from an urban footprint. Culinaria has had years to look for a second location. They got beat to the CWE by Whole Foods I just don’t think Schnucks is commited to the vision.
      My money is on United Provisions. They have demonstrated a vision for a truely urban neighborhood store footprint. A project like this will probably simmer for a few years and if they are aggressivly expanding (assuming they remain successful in the Loop) I think timing would be about right and fit their current model and current market in the Loop.

  • Kyle Steffen

    We have a couple of grocers in FPSE already, each having its own strengths. Big NO vote on Whole Foods (won’t happen anyway, just saying). Maybe it’s time for Schnucks to build another Culinaria?

    • STLExplorer

      I don’t see Manchester Market, N&M or the St. Cronan’s store going anywhere soon – they serve their respective roles (and corners of the neighborhood) nicely.

  • Michael C.

    Incredible news! Congratulations St. Louis!

  • Kayleigh

    Any idea on which grocery store is going here? If it’s another Whole Foods i’m gonna barf. Someone should reach out to Luckys!

    • The broker

      My guess Fields Foods

      • John R

        My guess as well. It’ll be interesting to see what comes first, btw, this or Midtown Station.

    • Presbyterian

      The developer is exploring several local grocers as well as out of town ones.