Salvation Army Continues $60M Midtown Project with Phase III

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Salvation Army Midland Division - St. Louis, MO

According to Jacob Kirn at the St. Louis Business Journal, the Salvation Army Midland Division is set to break ground on phase III of it’s $60M Midtown development. The first phase, completed in 2012, included an $8M, 48-unit apartment building for homeless veterans at 2933 Locust Street.

This past November we reported that the project appeared to be moving forward. At that time, phase II, the 3010 Apartments, were nearing completion. The former Harbor Light Center opened as 58 low-income apartments in February of this year.

Salvation Army Midland Division - St. Louis, MO

According to the Business Journal, the latest building is a $6M, three-story facility housing a clinic, counseling center and inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center. The building has been labeled as the Booth Center on previous master planning documents.

Salvation Army Midland Division - St. Louis, MO{3010 Apartments}

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  • Eric Thoelke

    It is astounding that once again the Salvation Army has been able to employ a sophisticated campaign of disinformation trickled out to the community, to ensure its true plans are not scuttled before ground is broken and it’s too late for concerned neighbors to react.

    Go all the way back to your article of October 19, 2011, where you talk about the neighborhood’s resistance to the plans the SA revealed.

    A diagram of the SA’s plans for the property, as sold to the neighborhood, was included in your article. The Phase III project was then clearly labeled “Senior Citizen Apartments”. A photo of a more descriptive document, taken at the unveiling of the SA’s plans to the neighborhood, clearly shows the project as a 40-unit HUD 202 project. Section 202 is HUD’s “Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program”.

    Fast forward to your article from November 24, 2014. The Phase 3, now innocuously named “Booth Center”, is described simply as a “contemporary counseling center that will provide various treatments accredited by the Missouri Department of Mental Health”. Its estimated construction costs are $4.6 million — the closest to the actual permit amount of $4 million.” Reading your article, the neighbors were lulled into thinking that the building and the purpose were still on track with the original plans we had been sold and reluctantly agreed to.

    Only last week, when we read about the groundbreaking for the Booth Center project articles like your above and the Business Journal’s, did we hear how far from the truth was the project we thought was coming. Only this week did we finally hear that the Booth Center would, in fact, be “a $6M, three-story facility housing a clinic, counseling center and inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center.”

    No senior housing. No HUD 202. No truth at all in anything they had told us. Again.

    So the Salvation Army, and its FleishmanHillard trained team of misinformation masters, has gradually changed the purpose of this building, sited next to two churches and tens of millions of dollars in residential and commercial investment, from a housing project for senior citizens to an inpatient center for drug users.

    Why would they do this? Simple — they knew the neighborhood would be up in arms if we were told the truth.

    I was the neighbor who was referenced in your 2011 article who complained that the SA’s veterans’s housing project, where located, would disrupt the flow of the commercial spaces we and others were developing along Locust Street. It was just good urban planning. We were told “”the project was too far along to make that change”, even though the Trivers architects I privately spoke to agreed with my logic. Four years later, while the building is quite nice (kudos Trivers) and the residents polite, the building does, indeed, kill the run of commercial spaces along Locust. We were right.

    The Locust corridor between Jefferson and Grand is the strongest, most attractive, and most viable connector between West Downtown and Grand Center. Development continues by my company and others on the 2800 and 3100 blocks, extending what has become the most concentrated collection of creative agencies in the region. Midtown Alley is the Cortex of creative agencies in this city — it is our city’s Design District.

    But the Salvation Army puts our planning, our businesses and our staff in jeopardy through bad urban planning, lies and obfuscation.

    Why doesn’t the city support the areas of the city that are being developed by grassroots businesses who are creating measurable successes? Why don’t someone talk about the influx of restaurants and housing into our neighborhood, with Small Batch, Pappy’s and The Fountain on Locust packing in crowds, and with The Southern, Sushi and More, and OBar all opening in recent weeks?

    If the city wants to grow and thrive and attract the creative class, it can not continue to allow liars to place unwelcome projects in the middle of areas on the rebound.

    • Guest

      Are you familiar with Queen of Peace Center? It’s two blocks from Maryland Plaza and property values in CWE are doing just fine. It’s gonna be okay.

      • Eric Thoelke

        No one has expressed concern about the female patients.

  • Alex Devlin

    Still a lot of surface parking. Why don’t companies build garages? I’d think the cost of building a garage would be covered by the value of available land for future development, not to mention the benefit of owning and operating a charged parking garage for noncustomers. I would figure plenty of other businesses near by would appreciate the opportunity to invest. It would be a little underutilized for the time being but with midtown development on the rise, I think it would become useful.