13 Acres on The Hill Considered for Up To 500 Residential Unit Development

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13 acres on The Hill

nextSTL has learned the 13-acre former Owens-Illinois Glass Co. industrial complex on The Hill is being considered for a 500 residential unit development. While not yet final, nextSTL sources say the 540,000 square foot property straddling Daggett Avenue was recently listed for approximately $6 million by Berry Grant commercial real estate firm principle Bob Flynn. Among several offers for the property, Flynn is seriously considering a $4 million offer. The earliest of plans for the site are said to include demolition with approximately 500 residential units expected.

The network of white-brick warehouse and office space constituting 5006-5030 and 5019-5021 Daggett Avenue is located in the shadow of the soon to be replaced Kingshighway viaduct, across both streets fronting the longtime St. Louis favorite Rigazzi’s Italian restaurant. Buildings date from 1910, and include expansion in 1923, 1942, and 1946, according to city records. The largest parcel is bordered by pet food and products manufacturer Alfa Pet to the east on Daggett, and Imo Meat and Sausage company to the West at Hereford Street. Nearly three acres sits north of Daggett, extending to Shaw Avenue along Boardman Street.

Berry Grant Company on The Hill - St. Louis, MO{The Hill neighborhood left, I-44 top, Southwest Garden and Missouri Botanical Garden right}

Berry Grant has owned the complex since the late 1950s, when Flynn’s father founded the company. In a source-based item from 2007, the St. Louis Business Journal reported MLP Investments had the Owens-Illinois property under contract. At the time, Flynn had the property listed for nearly $16 million. The deal never materialized. An early look at the new project breakdown is 50% senior housing, 30% multifamily residential, along with 20% mixed-use retail. A considerable brick salvage component is also expected.

Any future development at the site will likely need Monsignor Vince Bommarito’s blessing. Sources say having the St. Ambrose pastor’s OK regarding Hill development is essential for projects in the neighborhood moving forward. Mnsgr. Bommarito was mentored by the popular and powerful 85-year-old St. Roch’s pastor, Father Sal Polizzi. He is well connected, and has many friends at City Hall.

Mnsgr. Bommarito is revered by many residents as the protector of the neighborhood, and an obstruction to progress by some developers. Alderman Joe Vollmer and Mnsgr. Bommarito are considered the two most influential men relating to all things happening on The Hill. Vollmer is also the operating partner at Milo’s Bocce Garden. The popular Hill bar and grill is a block to the west of the potential development site. An attempt to reach Bob Flynn for comment was unsuccessful.

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  • Very cool, if it happens. I’ve tagged this area in the past as a possible TOD option should the City opt to develop the Southside Metrolink along the DeSoto SubDiv. rail line. 500 new apartment units right here at Daggett would make a Kingshighway/Hill station stop a no-brainer. Heh, I even did a (poor) MS-Paint pic back in 2012 of how an arriving Metrolink might look from street level 🙂

    [Sidenote: The Oliva event space right there on Daggett near the K’hwy overpass is absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend stopping in or hosting an event there.]

    https://twitter.com/YASTLBlog/status/220177100143992835

  • Geoff Whittington

    Can anyone help me with this? I have heard for years that Schlafly (circa 1999/2000) wanted to open its Bottleworks on the site of the former Hill National on Southwest, but the neighborhood rejected the idea. Maplewood got the Bottleworks and The Hill ended up with Family Dollar. True or false? Thanks.

    • Guest

      You’re right. I’ve heard this story from the brewer’s owners (seem like a pretty good source). However, don’t discount the fact that the Hill also got a Save-a-Lot grocer in addition to the Family Dollar onsite. Many residents frequent Save-a-Lot much more so than they would a brewery.

      Still a shame to lose such a strong economic generator though…

      • Geoff Whittington

        Thank you.

        • MRNHS

          I have heard from residents of the Hill (who seem to be in the know about a lot of these things) that it was Vollmer that rejected Schlafly in what is now Save a lot. There was not a strong neighborhood opposition. Who knows why, but some speculate he thought it would pull business away from Milo’s. Everything I have heard about Vollmer from his constituents makes me question whether this project will go through without some type of “arrangement” with him (read bribe).

          • Alex Ihnen

            I wonder how different this is than other wards. Some aldermen virtually require development fees, etc. to get support for rezoning, tax abatement, etc.

          • John R

            The story I had always heard is that Schlafly ran into opposition from A-B with operating a larger brewing facility and the city towed the line. . But who knows.

  • I live near the Hill and appropriate multi-family that didn’t destroy the character of the neighborhood would be awesome. I’d move there in a heartbeat. As far as Rev. Bommarito, that dynamic began with Rev. Polizzi and traces back to when the Feds decided to build a highway through the middle of the Hill neighborhood. Having a priest vet your project is far better than the days before Polizzi, when the made guys with Cadillacs and gold chains decided who could live in or start a business in the neighborhood. Family friends were told to whom who they could sell their building.

    • Geoff Whittington

      I am told the alderman derailed the 2007 development. Would be nice to see. Good in general to see some activity at this property, whether or not this is the project to come out of the mix.. Done the right way, it could add much to the entrance of The Hill.

      • jhoff1257

        I hope you’re not hating on Don Brown there!

        • Geoff Whittington

          Ha! No disrespect intended.

    • Adam

      “Having a priest vet your project is far better than the days before
      Polizzi, when the made guys with Cadillacs and gold chains decided who
      could live in or start a business in the neighborhood.”

      But both are inappropriate, and a priest determining development calls into question the church’s tax-exempt status.

      • Gregg

        You’re entitled to your opinion but a priest speaking for his congregation has nothing to do with a tax exempt status. Have you ever been a part of a tight knit ethnic community?

  • Adam

    “Any future development at the site will likely need Monsignor Vince Bommarito’s blessing.”

    Well that seems inappropriate.

    • Moe

      Guess there’s still more than 1 mafia in town.

      • Wow

        Wow, so do you feel that way about the Jews in UCity too? America is not the country for you if you enjoy religious persecution.

        • Moe

          Check out Tim E’s comments further down. Sorry Wow, but the days of bowing, and in this case literally, to the Father are over. For way too long projects only got done in this City by paying the right homage to the right official for their blessings. Isn’t this whole site based on a premise that the old ways haven’t been working in the City and region? As Adam stated: Well that seems inappropriate.

          • Gregg

            So you’re a parishner at St. Ambrose then? Have you spoken to your priest about your feelings on this development? Are you a resident of the Hill?

        • jhoff1257

          Persecution, religious or otherwise, is still very much a real thing in America. Some might say this country was built on it.

  • Tim E

    I think the going understanding is that land will always increase in value if you hold onto it long enough. However, from Geoff’s brackground I wonder if the owner wished he would have gotten half on the $16 million dollar deal. I can recall looking renderings a while back fort this site but can’t recall the details of those renderings for the deal that never happened..
    .
    A new deal now, with demo and construction would seem to fit timeline of Kingshighway bridge closing. New residential in time with a new bridge. I think the bridge construction schedule is for year and half..

    • jhoff1257

      Kingshighway is expected to take up to 2 years to replace according to a recent article in the Post-Disptach. I highly doubt this project will be wrapping up in two years. I could see a groundbreaking for this taking place within a year and half to two years, especially when you consider the Hill still runs as if it were the Old Country.

      • Kevin Pastore

        It was already pushed back from a previous start date of November ’14, so I’d expect this date to hold.

      • Tim E

        Understand, but you could only hope that a new project is rising by the time Kingshighway bridge reopens. 55,000 cars a day looking at you new development is a lot of free advertising..
        I do enjoy Adam’s comment above. The fact that Geoff goes out of the way to bring up a need for pastor’s blessing on private development on tax paying private property is mind blowing

        • jhoff1257

          I would absolutely love and really do hope this project is rising by the time Kingshighway is wrapping up. I just don’t think it will be.

        • John R

          Interesting point on visibility… I wonder how many stories a redevelopment would have to have for it to be visible from the new Kingshighway bridge.

          • Tim E

            I’m not sure either, but I recall quite of this property appears visible from the current bridge if not mistaken. Been a few years since I crossed over this bridge and my last trip back to St. Louis spent a lot more time checking out changes in central corridor.

          • John R

            Not sure what we can see right now…. we’re all hanging on for dear life when we’re on the bridge so we aren’t looking at much else expect our lives flashing in front of our eyes.

        • Guido

          Ya I agree. Totally mind blowing that a tight knit urban community would have a priest, who is a leader in the Italian Catholic community speak for his congregation who happen to be the majority of the neighborhood’s residents. Screw ’em and let the buyer/developer do what they want. I guess if the residents don’t like it they can just move to the county right? Oh wait, is that what you people are against in the first place? Don’t you not want to lose city residents?

          • TIm E

            Okay I’m garme. So citizens can’t speak for themselves at a planning meeting or speak to their local elected aldermen/women? Somehow a Catholic has to bless a project even thought their is city ordinances, zoning laws and codes on how property is used and developed? Isn’t, that is why you have elected officials? Heck, maybe I’m taking Geoff use of bless the project way out of context.
            .
            But I’m still confused on how replacing an empty five hundred thousand square foot outdated factory with residences make the city lose residents. or is that your way of stating that Italian Catholics are only tolerant if they know that only Italian Catholics will move into a new development. So much for love thy neighbor.
            Finally, who is you people? I have myself, a wife who is more then willing to speak her mind, a teenage step daughter who doesn’t listen to what we say anyways, and a boy who rather go play catch with the baseball. I spoke for myself, try to speak for my family and somehow I represent you people.

          • Guido

            You people= people that care about the growth and progress of the city and follow this blog pretty close. The comments from the regulars always speak of regaining lost population, stopping the bleed of people leaving etc. When you undermine the one last ethnic tight limit community stronghold, in my opinion, you lose a big part of really having St. Louis be great major city. The German communites of Baden and Dutchtown were dismantled, Hop Alley was bulldozed, now commenters on this blog entry are basically saying screw the catholic priest leader of the ethnic community, let whoever do whatever. The demise of all the ethnic enclaves is not a good thing for our city but go ahead and cut your nose off to spite your face.

          • Tim E

            Guido, so what do suggest be done with a 500,000 square foot factory block? leave as is? Ban the owner from selling and or the buyer from repurposing? I’m now obligated to have the local priest blessing before I can even put my own home up to sale and then the priest has to bless the buyer.
            .
            Which gets to the point. How does developing and or repurpose a outdated commercial property undermine a community? Heck, Geoff is only reporting that the property is under contract. We have no details to argue about
            .
            I just chuckled on how a sale of property gets twisted into an argument about religious persecution. Its like my running argument with a Crestwood resident.
            .
            Personally, I think the factory for the most part gets bulldozed and a street grid gets put back in place to support residential and maybe smaller area of commercial. As far as past industrial use, I think the city is slowly rebuilding its past industrial base along the north river front as well as GreenStreets new industrial development on southside that is just north of Lemay Casino in the city limits. I think that works.

          • Guido

            You’re trying to have an argument about something that I’m not even commenting on. The comments by you and others that it’s inappropriate for a community leader to speak for the residents is absurd. Having a strong communites within a city important in my opinion. If you advocate disregarding the residents feelings weather they be for or against a development in their community communicated via a community leader i.e. their parish priest The end result will not produce the strong city we all should strive for..

          • Alex Ihnen

            Guido – that’s not what’s being said. No one likes that a single person (priest or lay) could have veto power over a project like this. That’s it. No one wants to disregard resident’s feelings. In fact, I’m guessing we would all want lots of residents showing up to a discussion about the project rather than someone giving a thumbs down behind closed doors. Let’s leave the strawmen alone.

          • Guido

            Your comments can be perceived as being culturally insensitive. If having a parish priest communicate the desires of an ethnic tight knit community is something you can’t agree with then that’s fine but pubically voicing it is in poor taste. We should all be sensitive and respect other cultures way of doing things even if they differnt from our own.

          • jhoff1257

            “Your comments can be perceived as being culturally insensitive.”

            No, no they cannot. Not even remotely. You should be sensitive and respect others opinions even when they are different from your own. The Hill is well known and frequented by St. Louis residents of all stripes. There is nothing wrong with others having an opinion about what’s happening in your neighborhood. And there is especially nothing wrong with other City residents having an opinion. No one is saying the developer should have carte blanche do do whatever they please. But just as a developer should not have a right to do whatever he or she pleases in any given area, one man should not control development in any given area.

          • Tim E

            Guido, I don’t have an issue with pastor speaking on behalf of his parishoners or speaking his mind on what he thinks this property should be redeveloped into. What I find absurd is that the impression that he and only him can speak for the community because its majority is Italian Catholics. I think the community will get a much better outcome when it has several expressions or opinions of what the developer should pursue if the property does sell.
            .
            I expressed my opinion on what I think what would work here. I would like yours as you are apparently a member of the community or heck, do you find my suggestion of reintroducing a street grid with a majority of residential with some commercial the wrong approach..

          • Guido

            I don’t find your suggestion to be the wrong approach at all and I’m not sure where you got the impression that the priest and only the priest can speak for the community beacuse the majority is Italian catholic. Anyone is more than welcome to voice their opinion but it’s nice to have a community leader such as our parish priest that can represent our congregants that are Hill residents. You sir said it was “mind blowing” that he would act as a voice of the community.

          • Alex Ihnen

            No one said that, and I think most, if not all, of the “regulars” here would demand something very sensitive to the context of The Hill. I hope there’s assisted living so those who grew up on The Hill can stay there. I hope some new housing brings in new residents and keeps the local businesses hoping, etc. I do think some recoil at the idea of a priest, or really any one individual playing developer, especially in a quite opaque fashion.

          • onecity

            The only thing wrong with Saint Louis, is Saint Louisans.

          • Guido

            So move somewhere that you don’t have a problem with the cities citizens?

  • Presbyterian

    The larger of the buildings fronting Daggett has some architectural merit. From my perspective, much of the rest of the site could be cleared for new construction.

    Given the location, I think the neighborhood should demand high quality design with urban setbacks and massing and quality materials.

    • matimal

      What are “urban setbacks and massing?” Many here aren’t trained architects.

      • Presbyterian

        Here’s a diagram of a different infill project. The example on the left is suburban in massing and setback (the distance from the street to the building line). The example on the right is urban. Urban setbacks will define the street as a public space with edges. We don’t want to see huildings dropped into parking lots.

        • matimal

          So, it means buildings built to the property line on public rights of way. Thanks.

          • SnakePlissken

            No, buildings built to the property line are the same as parking lots built to the property line. Do you consider your front yard a public right of way?

          • matimal

            Do you consider parking lots a public right of way?

          • SnakePlissken

            Snake no like online arguing. Snake out.

          • matimal

            I honestly have no idea what point you’re trying to make. A space is either public or private whatever is on it. Buildings and parking lots are different things. Most parking lots are on private property. I just don’t understand how you could argue these facts.

          • jhoff1257

            Don’t feed the trolls.

          • Alex Ihnen

            ? Point is (I think) that an “urban setback” is considered to be a building built up to the sidewalk – the public right of way. A building set back from this line is generally considered less urban.

    • John R

      I fully agree on the Daggett facade as worthy…. it would make sense as the retail orientation of the site and you could have a bit of feel of Pittsburgh’s popular Strip District and with Rigazzi’s across the street.

  • John R

    Very interesting and I’d love to see any conceptual renderings they may have done. The uses sound fantastic but it looks like they’d have to do substantial demo in the interior. I hope though they’d keep some of the historic warehouse complex, especially the portion fronting Daggett… you could do some high caliber stuff with that. There also is an opportunity to build closer up to Hereford.

  • Sean McElligott

    Would the residential unites be rehabbed into the building or would they build new structures?

    • Geoff Whittington

      Way too early to tell.

      • John R

        Seems like at minimum they’d have to open up the interior with a substantial courtyard/light well to bring in light for residential.