Central Corridor Residential Boom Passes 2,000 Units, Reaches Campus Housing

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The apartment boom in St. Louis City continues. Over the past two years, 963 apartments have been built in the city’s central corridor near Forest Park and the Central West End, with many smaller projects adding more units. By our count, 557 more apartments are currently under construction, and at least 600 more have been proposed and approved. In all, the projects total nearly 4,000 beds.

The projects represent a mix of student-focused, non-student market rate, and luxury units. The majority of units are in new construction, with some rehabs and residential conversions adding to the total. The building boom now includes campus housing projects at Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the St. Louis College of Pharmacy as well.

Washington University has finally demolished Rubelmann Hall after several delays, and will continue the planned streetscape of the South 40 residential complex. The new building will accommodate 180 beds. The university continues to explore options for student housing at the medical complex, and of course completed the $80M, 165-unit Loop Living project on Delmar this past year. The St. Louis College of Pharmacy is adding 200 beds within a mixed-use building designed by Forum Studio.

Saint Louis University recently approved the second of two new residential facilities. The campus building boom will add more than 1,000 beds to the Frost Campus. The first building, currently under construction at Laclede and Spring Avenues will feature 450 beds, conference room, and other common spaces, including a small outdoor amphitheater.

The second SLU residence hall, a seven-story, 237K sf, $71M project, will adjoin Griesedieck Hall and have 528 beds as well as a dining hall. It is scheduled to be completed in time for 2017-2018 occupancy. Both buildings were designed by Hastings+Chivetta.

Nearby, The Standard added 164 units (465 beds) in a student focused building contiguous with the SLU campus. West Pine Lofts opened this fall, adding 206 units. The influx of development, and specifically the university investment, stopped at least one project short, as a massive development on Olive Street has been cancelled.

Elsewhere in the area, the 278-unit Cortona opened at The Highlands near Hampton and Highway 40, Aventura brought 203 units to the northwest corner of Forest Park Southeast, a new 88-unit building was added to the West End City apartment complex, and 4242 Lindell was converted to 24 apartments.

Under construction currently are the Opus Development project at Euclid and Lindell (217 apartments), the Mills Properties development that will include a Whole Foods at Euclid and West Pine (177 apartments), 3933 West Pine (77), 4528 Olive Street (33), 4321 Manchester Avenue (20), Gerhart Block loft apartments (17), and 4100 Lindell (16).

Apartment projects proposed and approved in the area include the 271-unit Green Street project at the Commerce Bank site in The Grove, 5510 Pershing (165) and 5539 Pershing (117), both by Aspirent Properties, and the 60-unit Koman development at Euclid and West Pine.

And there’s more coming. The Cortex development continues to plan for as many as 550 apartments and several developers are zeroing in on projects that would bring more units to the Central West End, Forest Park Southeast and nearby areas.

Of course, there are other big non-residential projects in the area, including a new St. Louis Children’s Hospital complex, 500K sf Washing University/BJC Healthcare building, the Washington University McKinley Avenue research building, that first St. Louis College of Pharmacy building, the new Shriners Hospital , the $240M Washington University Danforth Campus remake, the TechShop mixed use building and more coming soon from Cortex, including a new MetroLink station at Boyle Avenue, and Saint Louis University. Oh, and that IKEA finally opened.

Campus Housing:

Rubelmann Hall - Washington University in St. Louis{Rubelmann Hall – Washington University in St. Louis

{Loop Living – Washington University in St. Louis}

St. Louis College of Pharmacy - Phase II{St. Louis College of Pharmacy – Phase II}

Saint Louis University residence hall{Saint Louis University residence hall – Phase I}

Saint Louis University residence hall{Saint Louis University residence hall – Phase II}

Residential projects completed:

The Standard - St. Louis, MO{The Standard – northeast corner of Forest Park and Vandeventer Avenues}

West Pine Lofts - St. Louis, MO{West Pine Lofts – southeast corner of West Pine Avenue and Sarah Street}

Cortona at Forest Park - St. Louis, MO{Cortona at Forest Park – near Hampton and Highway 40}

image{Aventura in Forest Park Southeast (The Grove)}

245 Union - West End City apartments{West End City on Union near Forest Park Parkway}

4242 Lindell - St. Louis, MO{4242 Lindell in the Central West End}

Residential projects under construction:

4643 Lindell - The Opus Group{4643 Lindell by Opus Development}

CityWalk on Euclid - St. Louis, MO{The Orion, and Whole Foods – Euclid at West Pine}

{3933 West Pine – near Saint Louis University}

{4528 Olive in the Central West End near Euclid}

{4321 Manchester in The Grove}

Gerhart new{Gerhart Block on Vandeventer near Forest Park Avenue}

4100 Lindell - St. Louis, MO{4100 Lindell – southwest corner of Lindell and Sarah Street}

Residential projects approved:

Green Street project in The Grove - St. Louis, MO{Green Street’s Chouteau’s Grove at Vandeventer and Chouteau}

5510 Pershing - St. Louis, MO{5510 Pershing by developer Asprient Properties}

5539 Pershing - St. Louis, MO{5539 Pershing by developer Asprient Properties}

34 N Euclid proposal - St. Louis, MO{Koman development at West Pine and Euclid}


Other projects:

Children's Hospital St. Louis{Children’s Hospital St. Louis renovation and expansion}

WUSM/BJC Mid-Campus Center by Christner Inc.{500K sf BJC Healthcare/Washington University in St. Louis building}

McKinley research building - Washington University in St. Louis
{Washington University in St. Louis McKinley Avenue research building}

St. Louis College of Pharmacy - St. Louis, MO{St. Louis College of Pharmacy Phase I}

Central West End construction - St. Louis, MO{Shriners Hospital in the Central West End}

Washington University in St. Louis transformation{$240M Washington University Danforth Campus project}

{Washington University in St. Louis student recreation center}

Hillman Hall at The Brown School - Washington University in St. Louis
WUSTL Brown School

TechShop @ Cortex - St. Louis, MO{TechShop in Cortex on Forest Park Avenue}

Cortex MetroLink planning
{MetroLink station at Cortex near Boyle Avenue}

{IKEA St. Louis at Cortex}

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  • DevelopmentIsGood

    Foreclosure rate activity has spiked in St. Louis area–doubled over the last year. St. Charles county has 7% of its properties in the foreclosure process, St. Louis county has 19%, and 23% for the city of St. Louis. See KSDK link below.


    Once the baby boomers start to unload their properties in 2020 and onward, there will be a lot of properties on the market. Many going for dirt cheap, I imagine. Better to wait to buy a home on the low side of prices, if interested in buying. In the meantime, you can wait it out in your “fancy schmancy” (pictured above). I wonder if the foreclosure activity will increase as these “schmancies” become more and more available. 4000 rental units available could mean up to 4000 foregone home owners who may very well reject the idea of home ownership entirely. The rentership society is here. Welcome renters!

    Sellers who can’t sell will be trapped in their own homes and bedroom communities (never mind if their are any good job opportunities nearby since housing quality matters first and foremost). This is sweet revenge particularly against the white baby boomer generation–many of whom participated in white flight to escape Black people in St. Louis–all while taking pride in home ownership as their way to insulate themselves in their white bedroom communities, away from Blacks. Now, they could very well be stuck in their homes, unable to take white flight. The very last flight may be only to a nursing home, assisted living, hospital, or to the grave. No more white flight once they can’t sell. That would be very good punishment against a mostly racist generation that has created poisonous segregation and division in our city. This is largely their legacy–their own doing. And now, they’ve done it to themselves in their latter years and deservedly so. Let the housing market go bust. Punish those racist, white baby boomers. Yes, please keep the rentals coming since development is important. I really love those “fancy schmancies”. They look awesome!

  • RentOrOwn

    Here is an unbiased calculator below that can help you assess whether it is better to rent or buy. It’s all math. There are other calculators out there that you can use as well. I think it is good to make economic decisions based on your individual situation. Some things to keep in mind are:

    St. Louis has a lot of rental/home-ownership options at various price ranges. One of this city’s greatest strength is that it has very affordable, decent housing options that won’t drain your wallet (renting or owning). You don’t have to be at the highest price point in terms of renting/owning. There are rehabbed apartments/houses that are done by locals who care about building up the city and then there are these brand spanking new “fancy shmancy” rentals pictured above built by developers to bring in big money to large management companies. Follow the money to find out where rent checks flow to and who benefits.

    Many people are very happy living in housing that is affordable and decent that doesn’t have to be brand spanking new. It’s the people that matter–the community is what makes life enjoyable. It isn’t always the newer or more expensive housing/rental areas where you will find people whose company you will enjoy (in terms of socializing, neighborhood activities, etc.) and where you will find valuable life experiences from people of diverse backgrounds. Dig a little deeper and maybe you will find a location that is a good fit for your social/family/cultural/community life.

    IMHO, the fancy schmancy rentals pictured above do not feel like “home”. It is not where I personally would find a sense of place and belonging. I would not feel comfortable. This is just me but I have been a local since birth. This does not mean that I am anti-progress or anti-technology. I advocate for doing what makes economic sense. St. Louis isn’t NY or San Francisco so you don’t have to pay a lot in housing cost if you don’t want to. You can live in a house rental that has been rehabbed or you can live in a cheap apartment in an immigrant area, say Bevo Mill, which is fabulous in terms of affordability and people. People need to be made aware of these options rather than look to the shiny and new.


    • Adam

      “You don’t have to be at the highest price point in terms of renting/owning… People need to be made aware of these options rather than look to the shiny and new.”

      Oh, Lord… as if people in St. Louis aren’t aware of these options? Currently there AREN’T any other options! It’s not as if the we’re in danger of losing our affordable, non-“fancy-shmancy” housing any time in the foreseeable future. If anything there’s a DERTH of “fancy-shmancy” (i.e. new) housing options. Why are you so hell-bent on convincing everyone that they have to buy or rent in an old house?

      “I think it is good to make economic decisions based on your individual situation.”

      Just so long as it’s the same decision you would make, right? I LOVE our historic architecture but the reality is that not everybody wants to live in and take care of a 100-year-old house like you and I. If St. Louis is going to replenish it’s population it needs more modern housing options. Period.

  • David Hoffman

    With all this new development, you would think the city would make infrastructure a priority to support it. Forest Park Parkway underneath Grand Avenue is a mess.

    • Alex Ihnen

      There is a plan to bring that intersection to-grade and make it a more basic, navigable area. Any work may be a ways off, but I wouldn’t anticipate much more than patching until then.

  • TIm E

    The other question on my end, has anyone heard anything out of the Koplar/Koman/Clayco deal to develop Koplar’s prime CWE location. Nextstl had a nice write up on the architect they hired. But also seems quiet at the moment

    • Alex Ihnen

      They’e working on it. We don’t have anything more to share at the moment.

  • TIm E

    Curious if any updates out of CORTEX or speculation to be had on residential or even hotel development?. Their was the SILO lofts RFP that seems to have gone quiet. My understanding is that two proposals were received but I don’t believe anyone has posted information on it. Also, understand that CORTEX was working on a residential project along Boyle but believe that might have been some more speculation (However, I can’t claim that one as my rumor). I think they could put in a nice mixed use mid rise at the northwest corner of Forest Parkway and Vande on the empty corner lot which I believe is Cordish
    With a market present it seems that CORTEX would be able to break ground sooner or later on any residential component. Heck, probably quicker on a hotel. Right now CORTEX seems a lot more like DeWitt/Cordish when it comes to breaking ground on residential.

    • Alex Ihnen

      We’ll definitely see more from Cortex soon.

    • John R

      Tim. I think Cortex and Wexford have had the right emphasis up till now now on focusing on the company recruitment and tech shop/venture cafe end of things…. making sure they are establishing that critical jobs mass that is central to ensuring a successful innovation community before moving on to nailing down the mixed-uses that will help round out and activate the district. It sounds like we’ll be hearing even more good news soon on the employment front, and I bet we’ll be hearing more on retail and residential as well.

      Cortex btw is on record saying that they’re looking at more retail (and maybe no residential?) on the “Silo Lofts” site… plans surely have been evolving. One thing that hopefully won’t set anything back but is of interest is that Wexford/BioMed was just sold, so that potentially might alter plans for the planned redevelopment of their US Metals site that was to have a residential component in addition to labs/office.

  • moorlander

    Why weren’t the downtown or Clayton developments included? Aren’t they both technically in the central corridor?

  • The amount of development is quite impressive (for St. Louis standards, at least). It’s almost laughable how horrible the Aventura looks compared to every other development pictured. And despite this mini boom,

    • SnakePlissken

      Completely agree with everything you’ve said. I’d add that at some point in the 2020’s we’ll see a forced restructuring of County/City government. STL County will show a massive population loss at the 2020 census (Yes, Ferguson effect, corrupt municipal government AND NOW a disaster plan for the eventual radioactive death cloud from the Bridgeton landfill fire will most certainly be the nail in the coffin for North County), with that residents will vacate and head to St. Chuck, who will reach and exceed 400K population in 10 years. Leaving the county with massive infrastructure liabilities and no tax base.

      Long story short is that once the City reenters the County, only then will we have cohesive identity and land use planning that will attract some investors to take bigger risks.

      I understand it’s just part of the puzzle but that job creation -> population growth -> new development – is the main driver but we need to all hold hands and sing by the campfire and quick.

      Another note, clearly TOD doesn’t hold weight in STL, theres plenty of evidence that shows this. What’s more telling is that residential lots and new construction is booming (in a lighter sense of the word) in Jefferson County, Franklin County and continues in St. Chuck – while people are moving to urban cores all over the world, they aren’t in this region.

    • Chicagoan

      Are TOD’s (Transit Oriented Developments) a thing in StL?

      • John R

        We have some TAD’s (Transit Adjacent Development) but not really any full-blown TOD’s.

    • John R

      gasm, I like to imagine what Grand Center & CWE would be like if the Metrolink stations were realigned and underground with access from Lindell and Grand and FPP and Euclid, respectively. it would be amazing. As it stands, neither station provides easy convenience to the heart of the areas.

      • rgbose

        Bingo. Would be way better if it headed west from Union Station under Clark and FPA. That’s the appeal of the Lindell/Olive streetcar. It’s in the middle of things.

        • John R

          Yup… we need some kind of enhanced service down that corridor. I always think of that Hard Times bar on Olive in Downtown West.. perfect name for a pretty depressed area. It shouldn’t be that way.

          • rgbose

            Could run the 10 bus more often.

          • John R

            I’m not sure more bus frequency would spur the redevelopment that is needed to make Olive denser & increase ridership though. A streetcar or good brt project holds better promise to jumpstart the redevelopment of a challenging, but high-potential area.

        • STLEnginerd

          I’d say under Market and the FPParkway but I’d be ok with just a partial under Market only section right now and connect up with the current Grand station. New Union Station station (under the shed), a Jefferson/Market station(Wells Fargo and MSD), and a Compton/Market station (Chafitz and Harris Stowe) .

          If the next Metrolink extension is determined to be the Daniel Boone line I would argue strongly that a realignment of that section should be part of the proposal package.

      • tbatts666

        Great idea! The grand metro stop has a lot of problems.

        I would like to see the area underneath grand developed, and the walkability to SLU’s two campuses improved.

  • Guest

    It all looks great but what effect will this have on the area housing market? Will it promote more people to rent than buy? How will that affect area home sellers and property values? If a person pays, say, $1200 to $2000 per month on rent, then that is money that is not going towards a mortgage, hence equity. Does this mean that at most “4000 beds” (people who choose to rent) are not moving into home ownership any time soon? How will baby boomers sell their homes? To whom? I’m sure there are some willing buyers but maybe not enough after these new apartments are built.

    I know a lot of people who pay rent that for their income level is kind of high. High rent prevents them from saving more money towards home ownership. They will never own a home. I would encourage people to look beyond the new and pretty and to consider what is of value and necessity–what is reasonable. Have economic sense. Do you really need to live in a fancy shmancy expensive apartment? Why not own a modest rehabbed house that could be yours entirely when you have paid it off? Better to live within your means and have extra money. Just a gentle reminder to help you succeed financially. More money in your own pocket is the name of the game.

    • John R

      The cult of home ownership crashed our economy, Guest. It makes no sense for a good portion of this demographic (young. mobile professionals) that are moving into all these units to purchase a home. Back in the day the criminal Chairman Greenspan would urge such people to strongly consider buying a 1% down home even if they were thinking of moving in a few years.

      As long as their rental & transportation costs compose a satisfactory percentage of their income, living close to work (and holding off on a car if possible) in one of these units makes perfect financial and quality of life sense.

    • jhoff1257

      Here’s an idea. Let’s let people make their own decisions. If you can afford to rent and prefer to do that, then do it. If you want to own a home, then do it. There are many benefits to renting as opposed to home ownership. I rent and all of my coworkers own, all they do is bitch about the massive sums of money they have to spend to keep up their homes. As a renter I don’t have that issue. Yeah, owning may put more money in your pocket, but that money disappears into maintenance, renovations, etc.

      Let’s let those making the decisions decide what’s in their means. I bet they have a better handle on it then you.

      • RenterForLife

        You will hurt the STL home sellers who are mostly what I call “the little guys”–elderly couples, single moms, baby boomer couples, young families etc. . . . They will become trapped sellers and will take heavy losses. Rent money will go to management companies of these fancy schmancy apartments/lofts and not into the hands of common folk people. Who benefits? Follow the money and ask yourself where does it end up? You only help to enrich management companies and not people like us–regular folks. This will destroy communities and neighborhoods as decline may beget more decline as properties linger on the market without being sold. Communities and families could be destroyed. There could very well be a vicious cycle of decline in home sales as these apartments/lofts become more and more available.

        High rent is not too different from a modest mortgage with maintenance costs but, at the end, you will have at least shelter for oneself in the case of home ownership. Better to have my own shelter after many years of making payments than to have nothing at all, IMHO. I do not see home ownership as a cult but as a basic necessity and maybe a more practical choice for those who can settle down. There are modestly, priced homes that are decent in price/value and can be a better deal for young people instead of renting, even if you take into account maintenance and upkeep. Rents tend to go up as they have as of late. Check it out yourself.

        Also, look at the bigger picture, which is beyond oneself. Do you want to help a management company of an expensive apartment/loft or do you want to help “the little guys”? Follow the money to where it is going to and you will know who will benefit from your decision. What impact will your choice have? Will communities/neighborhoods be strengthened or weakened? What do you think will be the long-term consequences? Your city will go ghetto but you won’t notice it since you will be occupying your fancy shmancy apartment/loft without care or concern of others. You gotta look out for Number 1–the BIG ME (that’s YOU) as your city turns into a ghetto. Enjoy your fancy shmancy. Thanks for not caring about the impact of your decision.

        • jhoff1257

          I’m not around to enrich you or any other little guy. I could care less about you. I rent because my job requires me to be mobile and I can’t afford a house and all the extra expenses that come with homeownership considering my travel expenses. Why don’t you look at the bigger picture and realize that the decisions you make are not going to work for every single soul out there. I’ll also add that it was predatory home loans that banks were doling out to people who couldn’t afford them that crashed our economy and created this foreclosure crisis we’re still partly going though. I don’t see anyone foreclosing on rented apartments, do you? I’ve been renting for a decade and the city I live in (I don’t live in St. Louis) has only gotten stronger in recent years. Also, my rent has been steady for the last two years and actually decreased on the lease I just signed last month.

          Also, who do you make your mortgage payments too? My guess is a large bank, or a subsidiary of one, who’s sole purpose is to get rich with your money.

          Just like you said…I gotta look out for the “BIG ME.” Well I am looking out for ME, certainly not you, which is why I rent instead of putting myself underwater in a house I can’t afford. It’s also why I don’t take advice from random internet armchair quarterbacks who have literally zero clue as to what they are speaking about.

          Which lending agency do you work for again?

        • Guest

          Good grief RenterForLife, if this doesn’t sound like a (very poor) sales pitch I don’t know what does…if not merely someone who is completely out of touch because of their bias. Quite simply, people make their own choices on whether they want to live in an apartment or house and those choices are really none of your or anyone else business. Development responds to whatever option is in demand. There’s room in any sane big city for neighborhoods that offer options for home ownership, condos and rental units. In a forward moving city those neighborhoods can change to respond to demand.
          Insults and unfounded condescending remarks does no one any good.

    • Guest

      Do you really think developers aren’t in tune with their own business, that is, knowing what’s in demand and what isn’t? We live in a far more mobile society these days and buying houses really is too much a waste of effort (with hidden unmentioned expenses) for many such people. Plus you’ve ignored condos for those who want ownership of their domicile who prefer to stay put.
      I don’t mean to be rude, but you’re position on this seems biased and very outdated.
      jhoff1258 (thank you) has made some very reasonable points on this.

    • Patrick Sullivan

      You do realize that the number of people that – right this second – create the renters and owners of this city don’t remain the same. Students (mostly from places outside the city) turn to mostly lower-end renters as they figure out and begin their careers; these renters either turn to home-ownership (generally not in the city, anyway, as they can’t afford it) or higher-end renters; then they turn into even higher-end renters or home-owners, then as they reach retirement age, they likely go back to being renters. And here is the amazing thing Guest – all the while, there are new students and renters entering the housing marketplace every single day to take the places of those that left. As everyone so correctly points out, home ownership needs to stop being thought of as the only, correct goal for which to reach. I would frankly be okay if St. Louis just ignored the idea of condos altogether. Try to remember that new and existing apartment complexes are designed by the little guy; built by little guy; leased out and managed by the little guy; and kept up and maintained by the little guy. You need to stop viewing every entity as this amorphous, elitist, blob that isn’t actually staffed and run by actual people. Stop regurgitating the crap you hear the vocal NIMBY minority spout out because they don’t want more traffic on their way to work. Progress takes sacrifice – its simply a matter of accurately measuring how much sacrifice is too much.

  • Presbyterian

    Great overview of a booming area. I wonder what is the total dollar value of all this construction. It has to be a large portion of the region’s construction investment in recent years.

    • Alex Ihnen

      My quick count is $1.78B for the projects listed above. There are others not listed – the BJC building at Euclid/FP Ave, Mercedes dealership, a bunch of renovations (including 4240 Duncan at $73M), BJC @TheCommons, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

  • Chicagoan

    Some good, some bad (the designs), about what you’d expect from a construction boom. Am I reading this right, that you’re getting a new train station? Exciting!

    • Alex Ihnen

      Right. It’s a new station on an existing line (~$11M). Currently the light rail stations are ~1.5mi? apart at this point and the new station will serve the east end of the growing medical campus/research district known as Cortex.

      • Chicagoan

        If they could cut that 1.50-mile distance down, that’d be tremendous. A distance of .50 or .75 would be really great. I’d imagine this station is being built because there was a demand for it?

        You don’t say. People in the city like using public transit if the city government and transit authority give it to them! They’ll even ride it to work!

        Exciting news, really.

        • John R

          Chicagoan, Square will be moving in 200 workers over the next few years to the Cortex district. Their office will be about 100′ from the new Metrolink station. And a large office/lab/residential development hopes to break ground soon next door and has stated it plans to be larger that originally intended b/c of the new station,

      • jhoff1257

        I’ve always thought we should add another station at Jefferson. It’s a bit close to Union Station but not near as close as Civic Center is to Union Station. A stop at Jefferson would put Wells Fargo, Lafayette Square, The Gate, and other areas within walking distance of the MetroLink. Upgrade the pedestrian and cycling infrastructure on Jefferson, similar to Grand, and I think it could work. Doubt the demand is there though.

        • rgbose

          Boy, the walk from a Jefferson station sounds miserable.

          • jhoff1257

            Oh it would be. Hence the needs for upgrades. Distance wise though I don’t think those areas would be that far. I’d sure as hell ride Metro to Jefferson and walk to Lafayette Square.

  • T-Leb

    Great for the heavily heavily subsidized Central Corridor