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

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