Chouteau’s Grove Development Drops Grocer, Sheds Units, Gains Better Design

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Green Street project in The Grove - St. Louis, MO

Tonight at the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association meeting Green Street presented the latest revision for their development at the Commerce Bank site at the far east end of The Grove. The updated plan shows 271 apartment units, including 171 1BR/BA, 96 2BR/2BA units, and 4 3BR/2BR, and 20,000sf of retail space. Target monthly rents range from $1,000 to $2,300. A total of 615 parking spaces are allocated to residences, with another 133 for retail.

Parking has become a concern for businesses and residents alike in The Grove as more businesses, especially bars and nightclubs, have opened and found success. A larger district parking plan calls for structured public parking at both the east and west end of the mile-long commercial strip. Required parking for the development is 461 residential spaces and 133 for retail. A new MetroLink station will soon be under construction three blocks to the northwest at Cortex.

The reduction in retail spaces is probably a smart move. With that big blue box opening just to the north, and imminent retail development across Vandeventer at Midtown Station, this block of the Manchester strip may be better suited to smaller retail. It’s anticipated that big box stores and additional national retailers will locate nearby on Vandeventer north and south of Highway 40.

IMG_0468{rendering showing eastern facade}

The once-planned grocer was pegged at 30,000 square feet, with additional retail beneath apartments and in separate buildings on the west side of Sarah Street. No update on those buildings has been made public. The initial Green Street proposal made public this past November called for 250 apartments and 50,000sf of retail space. An updated plan later showed 300 apartments, 78,000sf of retail, and 675 total parking spaces. That plan sought $12M in TIF support, while the new plan is seeking a 10-year tax abatement instead.

The new plan is for a shorter building, down from eight to four stories, but one that better adheres to the street face and presents a facade arguably better suited to the context of the neighborhood. In renderings, it bears a striking resemblance to the Cortona at Forest Park also designed by Humphreys & Partners out of Dallas, TX. Retail is focused on the southwest corner, nearest existing retail, while residential units will face Sarah, Manchester, a cut through street to the east, and Papin Street to the north, effectively building out the 4.5 acre site. A second phase would complete the site with a building on its northwest corner.

IMG_0469

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 11.56.33 AM

15549602170_e6f408952a_b{the revised Chouteau’s Grove plan includes the large parcel outlined in blue}

10261234786_4de9f7903c_b{the Commerce Bank site looking southeast}

15590350807_588dd5d2ce_b{the previous plan showing 300 apartments, 78,000sf of retail, and 675 total parking spaces}

14036822260_8e6fc2a316_b{a new MetroLink light rail station is planned 1/4 mile north within the Cortex district}

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Work has begun at the Chouteau’s Grove site as of November 2016. A $3.8M building permit for the projects structured parking component was issued earlier that month.

chouteaus-grove_nov-2016

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Updated rendering added 2/2/2017

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  • St. Louis City Talk

    Excavation is underway with bulldozers and graders on site. Nice to see this one get started.

  • Shelby Ketchum

    Great news!!! Just moved to the cwe and was wondering when this project was going to take off, very very excited to hear that planet fitness will b anchoring this building, after moving to the cwe quickly realized that there where no affordable gyms over here, with all the young people in this area they will be packed

  • Jonathan Shank

    Looks like Koman has taken over this. I found this on their site. It looks like planet fitness will have a location there. http://www.komangroup.com/koman-group-chouteaus-grove/

    • Alex Ihnen

      Interesting. “St. Louis-based Green Street Development (GS) and the Koman Group (TKG, Koman) have secured a controlling interest…” Looks like Green Street is still involved and the project could be what we’ve seen, but with Koman as a partner.

      • Presbyterian

        Koman removed it from their site a couple hours ago.

  • kjohnson04

    Nice to know residents will still have to trudge to Euclid and Westpine, Sarah & Lindelll, or Arsenel and Hereford for a grocery store. Was there no interest, or did they really look for chain? Kroger seems to be interested in gaining a foothold in St. Louis again with it’s Ruler Foods unit. No interest at all? Alldi? Nothing?

    • I think there’s something coming back to the former grocery in the Grove on Grand. Not too far away.

    • Daron

      City Green man. It’s great. Stop by.

      • kjohnson04

        Will do. It’s on my list.

  • samizdat

    So, stick-built firetrap like the Cortona and other developments in the City, or steel-frame skeleton, like the Wash U. developments on Delmar, in U. City?

    • moe

      We noticed the same thing. We see the apartments at Whole Foods going up in the CWE and they’re still building it, yet just to the east with the new SLUish apartments at Forest Park Parkway and Vanderventer, they’re almost ready for move ins….and they started AFTER the Whole Foods building.

      • matimal

        Who’s “we”?

        • Adam

          why does it matter? just curious.

          • Guest

            My guess is moe was driving or walking around the city with a friend or family member. God forbid someone use the word “we” when describing himself and an acquaintance without someone else thinking he’s driving around with one of the city’s rich and powerful lol.

          • matimal

            Who is as important as what.

        • Justin

          The Royal “we” of course.

          • matimal

            As I thought…..

          • samizdat

            I think people are confused because they couldn’t see him wave like Queen Victoria.

  • John D.

    Worthless plaza has got to go! This is a fancy way of concrete barricading the natives on Chouteau Ave out. Chouteau Ave has been working beautifully through Sarah and merging with Manchester over 100 years. I guess it’s time to screw it up for the sake of keeping high rent paying yuppies away from the minions of the FPSE.
    This intersection is the cross roads of where a residential street marries perfectly with a commercial strip, and they propose this? How aweful. Way to propose bringing congestion to an otherwise perfectly non-congested neighborhood. The audacity it must take, to mess with perfectly designed street grid? Jeeze.

    • I wonder if the St. Louis Metropolitan Fire Department has reviewed the street closure plan. That’s a tough right turn for a fire engine (or a tractor trailer, or a school bus). I also wonder if there is any study of traffic problems from cars that will now turn right at Sarah and left at Chouteau. I’ll avoid riding my bike around there, for sure.

      • chaifetz10

        They would most likely just use Papin from Vandeventer to get to anything in that area. Rescue 2 and T29 (both stationed at Vandeventer and FPP) could still make the right turn off Manchester though. The only equipment I’d think may have an issue are the H&L’s, but again, Papin is an easy turn.

  • Kevin

    It’s hard for me tell from the design. Does the plan provide for secure street-level bike parking for tenants? It would be a shame to build all that parking and then tenants have to lug their bikes up and down.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Site plan has this in the middle of the parking garage: “bike storage under ramp at 1st level”. Who knows what that really means. A place like this should absolutely have bike lockers immediately inside the garage with an air hose and tenant swipecard-accessible repair shop next to them.

      • Kevin

        That would be ideal and, as you say, entirely feasible (and marketable) for a development like this. Let’s hope “bike storage under ramp at 1st level” isn’t just an afterthought.

  • Peter G

    Not tall enough. Needs to be six stories minimum. Developer will seriously regret not going taller in just five years time. 300 units? Should be 500. It doesn’t matter how many units are now under construction or slated around town.
    This area will truly be a premium live, work, play neighborhood.

    • John R

      Can’t tell for certain, but I believe there will be more units for Phase II that will front Sarah. And hopefully they also will be able to move forward with the planned phase across the street on the LRA surface lot that I think calls for 50 units on two floors above street-level retail.

      I’m also curious what will become of the historic office building (I believe called the Chouteau Building of all things) across the street on Manchester. I think it currently is for sale, and could see that become mixed-use with residential on the top floors. Anyway, I can easily see 500+ new units or so carved out in this wedge area one way or another.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think the developer would happily go taller, if a bank would go taller with its stack of money.

  • John Warren

    Why are they cutting Chouteau off from Manchester? Keep the street grid in St. Louis. And reopen most of the other streets nearby at Kingshighway. What is with this city’s deal with removing the street grid any chance they get?

    • Adam

      Are they? The plan above appears to show a dividing island separating the right-turning traffic from that going straight ahead onto Manchester. Doesn’t appear closed unless I’m not reading the drawing correctly.

      • John R

        I believe what may be confusing things is the rendering mislabels Manchester as Chouteau. It looks like the plan does create a plaza cutting off Chouteau from Manchester.

        • Adam

          oh, i see. thanks. i was looking further east at the intersection. yeah, that does suck and shouldn’t be allowed. i don’t even see the point—traffic can still access Chouteau from Manchester via Sarah, so it’s not as if it would alleviate traffic on Chouteau. it just makes that access slightly more annoying (which perhaps would end up reducing traffic). yay, another useless plaza.

    • GrovePlayer

      Very stupid indeed. Chouteau Ave traffic needs to flow east and west? How could this even be appoved? What a soon to be cluster f**k! Leave the street alone. The residential corridor west of Sarah all the way up to kingshighway will be too isolated. It needs to be opened up!
      PS…. It’s time for all the concrete street barricades to be removed from the streets in the Forest Park Southeast. Let everything flow then the true potential of the neighborhood can be discovered.

  • Guest

    Here’s an article for STL post dispatch. The grocery store was axed from the plan because they did not think there would be enough population in that area to support it. I guess a critical mass of residents are needed first before a grocery store moves in to the area, which kinda makes sense.

    http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/a-redesigned-chouteau-s-grove-moves-ahead-in-st-louis/article_f4d28cba-331b-5e76-87f4-d4cab25b44bc.html

    Not sure if this is going to turn out to be a good idea. Just don’t know if there is enough population right now to fill it. It could turn out to be a really bad thing if people switch to buying a home rather than renting. At some point, people have to do their own math to figure out if renting an expensive apartment is better than just owning a house. It should be interesting to see what people choose. St. Louis is unique in that people do have the option of actually owning a house. It is possible for most folks at nearly all income levels. Why throw away $1K a month on rent when you could own a modest house with mortgage payments that are probably under $1K. Some of these smaller, modest homes have been rehabbed and are move-in ready. There’s a lot of options for folks so people need to do their research.

    • jhoff1257

      I’m going to go ahead and leave this here since I’m pretty sure you’re the same person from a previous comment. Not everyone wants, nor should, own a home. Especially a young, mobile professional.

      I pay over $1400 per month to live in a one bedroom in Kansas City and that is CHEAP for my neighborhood. FYI, that $1,000 to $2,300 range also covers up to a 3 bedroom two bath apartment. That’s pretty damn cheap for that much space. As far as home buying, not everyone wants to own a home. People are much more mobile now and many don’t want to be tied down to a mortgage. I sure as hell don’t. That’s one reason we’re seeing renting increasing as home ownership decreases. Plus I like the fact that I have no yard work, maintenance, or other obligations of upkeep to my building. That is taken care of, and that is a huge benefit considering I travel frequently for work.

      Different strokes for different folks. My guess is the developer did his homework and knows people will pay this to live here. For those that don’t want to pay that much and keep a bit more money, they can. As you said, St. Louis has lots of cheap rent. I assume you support continued development of the City and as that development picks up and more and more people start moving into these neighborhoods land values, rents, and even home prices will continue to rise. And for what it’s worth, $1,000 bucks a month for a one bedroom in a popular neighborhood is dirt cheap compared to nearly every other major city. My sister lives in a one bedroom in Chicago and pays nearly $4,000/month.

      • Justin

        I agree with you those prices make sense in some neighborhoods. But, in this situation it seems as if the units are priced well over market value. You can get a 2 bedroom apartment in the grove for less 900. So why pay 1000 for a 1 bedroom?

        • Alex Ihnen

          I think most people don’t understand the St. Louis rental market. Aventura is apparently full. Why? Not because people just didn’t know they could get a 2br for $900. People like to live in new apartments. Where would one do that in FPSE? People like to have a pool at their apartment, sometimes secured parking, and other amenities. I don’t disagree that the prices seem crazy – I think they’re crazy, but the market has shown that the prices work. There’s demand in specific locations and until that demand is surpassed, building will continue. If done well, more building will actually increase demand.

    • jhoff1257

      And one more thing, just because there isn’t “enough population” in the area to support a supermarket doesn’t mean we should stop building apartments that are meant to draw more people in, thus increasing said population to make things like supermarkets, dry cleaners, and pharmacies a reality.

    • matimal

      If you can’t get a mortgage because you’re self-employed or have irregular income from a series of temporary gigs, have too much school debt, have poor credit from big medical bills or other uninsured expenses, or aren’t sure you want to live in St. Louis for the foreseeable future, monthly mortgage calculations are beside the point. This is a growing share of people today. Suburbia was based on a whole “suburban industrial complex” that is unravelling and many just don’t see where they fit into the new normal. This is all part of figuring out a new way for people to organize their financial situation.

  • Builder Tom

    Great to see these new updated design changes. The more high end the better! This actually looks like it will compliment the area well.
    Just look around midtown.
    “West Pine and Sarah” apartments are brick and feature aluminum clad windows, it looks fantastic. Now look at Vandeventer and Forest Park, fiber cement and mostly vinyl windows, looks like cheap crap on a major intersection, sad to see. This design doesn’t look as “cheap” as some others.
    This developer will have no problem filling this thing up at whatever price they want. Aventura just up Chouteau Ave was an overwhelming success, even with a poorly executed design. People need to realize that the future tenants of Chouteau’s Grove will mostly be transplants from out of state who are use to paying $1000 per month just to park their bmws. The booming Cortex district is only beginning to ripple into the Grove.

    • Tam

      So it’s full masonry not veneer? I kinda like fiber cement, much better than vinyl!

      • Builder Tom

        Actually this project looks like it has a good deal of fiber cement, some masonry. But…its the design that is key here. The architecture on this proposed development works well contemporary building materials.

  • John R

    It feels kinda weird going down the Grove right now…. demos are pretty much completed for the two new construction projects and then you have the slew of existing buildings that have had their rehab permits already approved (but as far as I can tell work has not yet commenced). Imaging what things will look like 12-18 months from now is pretty neat. I’ll really be hyped when the Gill project on the currently blighted building at the corner of Manchester and Tower Grove gets underway,

  • Presbyterian

    I think this plan is an improvement on the earlier design. Let grocers go to Midtown Station, and keep FPSE dense residential and small, local commercial.

  • Framer

    More cheap fiber-cement panel construction. Not impressed.

    • The building is a great expression of an early 21st century balance sheet.

      • Mike F

        Lol. That’s a good joke. And too true.

      • Travis

        Please explain?

  • RentIsTooDamnHigh

    It looks beautiful and is a good value for high income earners who have money to burn. I understand that these apartments are brand spanking new. However, “[t]arget monthly rents range from $1,000 to $2,300”. To me, the rent is too damn high for area median income (even with or without children). St. Louis offers much cheaper rent than that. Why pay more if you don’t have to? Live in an older building and you can pay anywhere from 20-50% less easily. Pocket the savings for emergency $$ or retirement savings. Save early and save often for YOU.

    The value that St. Louis offers compared to other cities is cheap rent. Cheap rent is not offered in large cities. Don’t go with these overpriced ones when cheaper options are available in the STL area. Live below your means. Don’t throw $1K a month away every month just to live 30 days in a 1BR apartment. Insane. You may as well buy a small home. St. Louis has plenty of starter homes that come with updated appliances, granite countertop, and nice fixtures and flooring. It would be smart for developers to build small, cheap new homes in the midtown area so that people could own and build wealth.

    • rgbose

      The rent could be lower if it didn’t have to cover so much parking and financing to construct it. Another great way to save is to not own a car. In both case more money for savings or to use in other parts of the local economy..

    • SnakePlissken

      Completely agree. I’d love to know the target demo for these and the other new developments in the area. Are they out of town students that don’t see the rents as costly as I do?

      Side note, if this construction boom can continue through the next 10-15 years, the central corridor will be the heart of St. Louis. If the Stadium is built and with an updated Arch grounds maybe we’ll see a residential tower on Lacledes Landing sometime in the 2020-2030 range. The river to Clayton will be a pretty dynamic area.

      Other side note, where would we be without Cortex?

      • rgbose

        Cortex and BJC workers I figure.

        Increasing pricey apt supply may help keep rents low in older buildings as higher income folks won’t crowd out others as much.

      • jhoff1257

        Totally agree with the second part, though I would argue that the Central Corridor is already the heart of St. Louis, literally and figuratively. All of our major attractions and most of our large corporations are already in the area. Plus it has the best transit access in the region. Not to mention all the recent new development. Pretty dynamic already. Now imagine how much better it could get. I have also heard a rumor or two about a residential tower on top of the KMOV studio on the Riverfront. That would be an awesome addition to a Drury tower on Laclede’s Landing.

    • jhoff1257

      I pay over $1400 per month to live in a one bedroom in Kansas City and that is CHEAP for my neighborhood. FYI, that $1,000 to $2,300 range also covers up to a 3 bedroom two bath apartment. That’s pretty damn cheap for that much space. As far as home buying, not everyone wants to own a home. People are much more mobile now and many don’t want to be tied down to a mortgage. I sure as hell don’t. That’s one reason we’re seeing renting increasing as home ownership decreases. Plus I like the fact that I have no yard work, maintenance, or other obligations of upkeep to my building. That is taken care of, and that is a huge benefit considering I travel frequently for work.

      Different strokes for different folks. My guess is the developer did his homework and knows people will pay this to live here. For those that don’t want to pay that much and keep a bit more money, they can. As you said, St. Louis has lots of cheap rent. I assume you support continued development of the City and as that development picks up and more and more people start moving into these neighborhoods land values, rents, and even home prices will continue to rise. And for what it’s worth, $1,000 bucks a month for a one bedroom in a popular neighborhood is dirt cheap compared to nearly every other major city. My sister lives in a one bedroom in Chicago and pays nearly $4,000/month.

      • Adam

        You pay $1400 or mommy pays?

        • Adam

          “… I travel frequently for work.” –jhoff1275

          Stop.

      • Adam

        jhoff, I would like to clarify that the “Adam” below is not the same Adam (me) who typically comments here (not that it’s an uncommon name by any stretch but I haven’t noticed any other Adam’s around here–at least not consistently). In any case I try to avoid ignorant comments like the one below. If “Adam” continues to do so I’ll start logging in to comment so I’m not mistaken for a troll.

  • Tim E

    Post Dispatch reporting construction will start late this year.

  • jhoff1257

    I think this looks great. Fits the context of the neighborhood quite a bit better. Another floor or two wouldn’t hurt though. I kind of like the Cortona and a few of the other Highlands buildings too. It’s too bad they sit in what is basically a glorified office park.

  • rgbose

    Great to see this happening.

    $61M * 0.19 * .07585 = $879k per year. How about cut a level of parking and cut the abatement?

  • rgbose

    What is the parking reg? I count 375 bedrooms.

    • Db

      If I recall 1 per bedroom and 1 for every 7500 sq of retail is the city park reqs

      • rgbose

        Guess the extra spaces are meant for phase II?

  • Db

    When is work on the new station suppose to start?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Good news: station is funded and planned. Not as good news: scheduled completion is spring 2017.

      • Db

        Whaaaaat?!?! Tiger was awarded in 2014! Shocker that they haven’t been able to get it out to bid by now

        • TransportationPlanner

          The money was awarded in 2014, but Metro didn’t get it until very recently. Apparently there’s a sizable lag time with TIGER funding…