Richmond Heights Considers Smart Development for Dale, Faces Opposition

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Boland from park

After something of a tortuous but not uncommon path so far, a proposed development in Richmond Heights that would replace a church and long vacant school should win approval at the city council’s February 1 meeting. Unsurprisingly, there is opposition. The local news site 40SouthNews has covered the play-by-play.

Planned now a 187-unit building with small retail at Dale Avenue and Boland Place. An original plan called for 207 units. The proposed development is exactly what was called for by a 2008 Richmond Heights land use study of Dale Avenue, which sites the 206-unit Kirkwood Station development in downtown Kirkwood as a model example.

The proposed development presents a nearly ideal bulwark for Dale Avenue and the surrounding homes against the sight and sounds of Interstate 64/highway 40. It also presents the right urban form to transition a neighborhood from single-family homes to larger community facilities and retail to the west.

Not only that, but the proposed development makes the adjacent park more safe, with more eyes on the park and more frequent users. And as is rarely the case, the development doesn’t displace one resident or remove one residence. It also introduces a neighborhood cafe for use by park goers and residents.

Sometimes a developer presents a take-it-or-leave-it proposal. Here, the project has been altered and revised several times based on community input. The building has been pulled back from Boland, the number of units reduced, and the top level set back to reduce massing.

Dale rendering_old

▲ ORIGINAL: building rises five stories at Dale/Boland

▼ REVISED: setback reduces corner height and building scale

Dale rendering_new

Boland rendering_old

▲ ORIGINAL: building presents a uniform height and mass along Boland

▼ REVISED: more variation and top floor setback reduces height and building scale

Boland rendering_new

Now, the building is being set back further from the northern property line on Boland, adding more green space to the development. This is silly itself, as the apartments would sit on a block that is more than half parkland, but it’s another nod to opponents, and it would provide easy and attractive access to the park from the north.

It may be becoming a marketing cliche, but a project like this is targeting “renters by choice”. The high-amenity, professionally managed apartment complex is a thing, as we say. Projects such as Cortona at Forest Park confirm demand and show such developments are succeeding in St. Louis. Projects like this a “a thing” because fewer young professionals want to own a lawnmower, and retirees don’t want to own a home, and the responsibilities and costs that go with it.

Boland looking south{the building has been pulled back from the northern property line}

The opponent’s dream? Single-family homes, of course. The premise supporting this desire is that nothing’s changed in 50 years in Richmond Heights, that living preferences haven’t changed, that the economics of single-family home development haven’t changed. That the future is detached single-family living.

Opposition to a townhome development for a vacant school site in Clayton echoes some of these themes. Opponents in both places seem pleased enough with the status quo of vacancy and zero tax revenue from these properties. In Clayton, opponents want the school system to forgo several million dollars in revenue from the sale of the property, and the city to forgo half a million annually in new tax revenue. One can only assume that these same people would happily vote to raise their own property taxes to make up the difference.

While Clayton, as the county seat and business and residential center (though lacking significant retail) has a somewhat diversified revenue stream, Richmond Heights is a pyramid scheme of big box retail. At the moment it’s “winning”.

A new Menards home improvement store will soon siphon tax money from St. Louis area residents that may have otherwise gone to Maplewood via the nearby Lowes, or Brentwood via the Home Depot across the street. Oh, and Richmond Heights gave Menards $15M in the form of TIF for its trouble. The Galleria and Boulevard, which is set for a TIF subsidized phase II, bring in more.

These sales taxes, the majority of which are paid by non-Richmond Heights residents, keep Richmond Heights property taxes low and the level of services high. It’s a nice gig if you can manage it. And it may work for another decade or more if the city can continue to take from its neighbors. But it’s not smart. Richmond Heights has been losing residents for decades as its bet on big box retail took hold. Neighborhoods (not the nice ones of course) were demolished for national chain stores.

The project at 1301-1325 Boland Place would replace the existing Richmond Heights Church of God in Christ, and the adjacent long vacant school building which has been on the market for years. The school itself is small, just two stories, and not eligible for historic tax credits like some historic St. Louis City school buildings which have become apartments.

Since the school closed, the city purchased the adjacent fields and have repurposed them for public use. The park includes a multi-use baseball, soccer, football field, playground, and basketball and tennis courts with lighting for nighttime use.

Boland Place_site

Boland aerial

Opponents have argued that the proposed development is too big, would bring too much traffic, and runs afoul of several zoning guidelines. The proposal would introduce more than 1 residential unit per 500sf of land, include four units less than 600sf, the set back roofline would exceed the recommended height by a couple feet, and there would be 1.8 parking spaces per unit instead of 2.

If you’re against a development, this is the type of detail you latch onto. The residential density doesn’t take into account the large adjacent park, the total of four sub-600sf units are guest units for resident’s visitors, the exceeded height occurs where there’s significant land slope, and parking? Well, the parking issue is ridiculous. Other nearby developments, and surrounding municipalities have lower requirements.

The final opponent boogeyman is of course traffic. While the vacant school and church do not generate much traffic, their former uses certainly did. Re-zoning as multi-family is a down-zoning in this respect. Not to mention a traffic study showed the development adding about one car per minute to surrounding streets. But studies and numbers don’t matter if you’re against something.

At next week’s meeting, opponents hope to force the Richmond Heights city council to produce a super majority in order for this development to proceed. They’re expected to deliver a petition that would require such a vote. The best case scenario is that a super majority vote is forced, and passes. What a great way for the City of Richmond Heights to reaffirm its desire to turn long vacant land into new residences for new residents and loudly, again, show that it’s serious about developing Dale Avenue.

Boland from Dale_close{the development would introduce a cafe/deli space}

Boland level four old

▲ ORIGINAL: fourth floor plan

▼ REVISED: fourth floor plan shows setbacks and the change at the north end (at right)

Boland level four new

 

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  • Demo

    I suspect that Jaeger has never held a public office but just prefers to criticize those who do or have. If you really want to make a difference hold a public office and then make your comments up front and public and not in some blog with an anonymous name. Put yourself on the line.

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  • Jaeger

    Well, it passed; with the threatened “supermajority”. The mayor, voting last in an election year, is the only one to vote against it. The project as proposed is virtually what the Dale Avenue corridor study, an exhaustive planning document that was generated largely via “stake holder” meetings, called for. There were more people against it than supporting it, but by a small margin, and I have never seen so many people actually supporting a development proposal in my life.
    I think the council members on the fence were certainly swayed by the intelligent and cogent arguments of those for it, and the “It’s too big, it’s dumb, and it will fail” arguments of those against it. It didn’t help their cause that the attorney/candidate leading those opposed also opposed the original town home project 12 years ago, pretty much putting a bow on the fact that certain people will oppose anything all the time. He even admitted he was wrong then, but apparently learned nothing…
    Last night Richmond Heights (including all those against the project who didn’t get their way) won. Do I think this will change St.L Nimbyism, or create a coherent regional strategy? No, it is the work of a lifetime to make one of America’s greatest cities (19th MSA), and biggest basket cases, actually competitive, and on anyone’s radar for anything besides baseball. That KCMO, Indianapolis, and a ton of other 3rd tier cities without 1/10th of our culture, livability, and amenities clean our clocks is absurd, and it’s largely because of inefficient, micromanaging governance that has no actual or philosophical unity. This is a very small victory for our whole city, but it is a victory nonetheless.
    Now, lets at least keep DMA-NGA in our city. Loosing the rams was a rabbit punch. Loosing the DMA would be a serious body blow we cannot afford, and putting the wasteland of former housing project land to use will plug a huge hole in our city’s face.

    • jhoff1257

      100% agree with you, except the KCMO part. As a 9 year KCMO resident (and St. Louis native) I just don’t see how they’re “cleaning our clock.” All the population growth here is in the far north and south suburbs, and all the cool little things like streetcars and a Downtown high-rise are things we’ve already done. I’ll take the 46 mile MetroLink system over a 2 mile streetcar any day of the week. Yeah, P&L is more developed then Ballpark Village but that came at an extremely high cost to KCMO, a cost that will be paid yearly for another decade or so. A cost that forced me out of a city job. I would love to see the type of development happening in St. Louis City neighborhoods (esp. on the South Side) start happening here. Outside of KC’s Southwest Corridor (Downtown to Brookside, and that’s generous) there ain’t much else going on here.

      Oh and we have our own little stupid competition between Missouri and Kansas that drains our resources and makes it hard to compete with other cities around the country and world. We don’t have near the fragmentation that St. Louis does, but while St. Louis is slowly starting to realize the damage that fragmentation causes and make some changes…it’s business as usual in KC. The Border War is very much alive here.

      • Jaeger

        http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/yael-t-abouhalkah/article28605484.html
        People moving here and wanting to live here is a pretty good indicator of our trajectory. That, and although not enough in and of itself, the corporate headquarters we attract is a key indicator. In my opinion we punch far, far below our weight. I’ve seen very little in Indy, or KCMO, or Memphis, or Nashville, or Louisville to make me understand why we lag so far behind other Midwest cities that are similar in size across the board, and aren’t attracting more of the best companies America has to offer. It seems to me that it isn’t all the things that should really matter. It’s all the things that are hard to quantify: the morass of regulation and fragmentation, the lack of acting regionally, every project that some little muni government stops, and a press that has sold it’s soul to try and remain relevant.

        • John R

          Our corporate community is larger than all of those cities — we have more F500 companies headquartered here than the others, e.g. — but where we really fall short is in the investment in downtown. That’s something we need to fix. Being satisfied with modest residential and tourism growth isn’t going to cut it and keeps the region back.

          • Jaeger

            Yes, but we’re loosing them, and they’re adding them. I’m talking the trend, and it isn’t good. Not all of that is the fault of our cities and governments, but they refuse to compete like those other cities do and they refuse to act as a region. People aren’t moving to KC to hang out in the Power and Light district, they’re moving there for jobs. My argument is that we have to act together to compete with, what I see as, lesser cities. We can disagree on these small points and still agree on how we deal with it. Redevelopment and development happens because of the economic conditions. We need growth. Growth is what will save more buildings, and create more.

          • Adam

            I’m don’t quite understand where everybody is getting the idea that KC is destroying us in job growth.

            I realize that % growth is not equivalent to growth in raw numbers, but we seem to be outpacing KC in terms of startups:

            https://mattermark.com/where-to-get-funded-in-2016-that…/

            More importantly, according to the 2015 Missouri Economic Report (see link below) new
            business formation in STL City alone (6.0 per thousand) was more than twice that of KC (2.3 per thousand) in 2014. Even STL County
            had a higher business formation rate—at 3.1 per thousand—than KC.

            https://www.missourieconomy.org/…/2015_mo_economic…

            STL’s gross metro product ($145.4 B) is still significantly larger than KC’s ($109.5 B), the median household income in KC is only ~$1800/yr greater than in STL, and college attainment there is only 1.2% higher than it is here:

            http://www.forbes.com/places/mo/st-louis/

            http://www.forbes.com/places/mo/kansas-city/

            On top of all that, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that STL leads in every job category except for “Information”, and in that category KC leads by a very slim margin:

            http://www.bls.gov/regions/mountain-plains/data/employmentandunemploymentandwages_stlouis_table.htm

            http://www.bls.gov/regions/mountain-plains/data/employmentandunemploymentandwages_kansascity_table.htm

            My understanding of all this data is admittedly superficial so perhaps somebody can put it into better perspective. But if it can be taken at face value then KC’s PR machine is really really good and ours is really really bad. (That and they don’t have the stigma that we have for whatever reason.)

  • rgbose

    George Sells of Fox2 says it passed 8-1

    • Alex Ihnen

      Technically, the re-zoning passed 8-1, the the project was approved 9-0.

  • moorlander

    Will NextStL be attending the RH City Council meeting tonight?

  • Normal Person

    RH resident here. Not all of us are cranky (old) people – this is a great project and absolutely nothing that could be proposed would win the support of certain people in the community. Dale has a lot of potential and it’s a great sign (mostly thanks to MRH Schools IMO) that there’s a desire to develop more, denser housing in RH.

    Also, where was the outrage when The Heights was built down the street? It’s rather ugly and generates way more traffic than the apartments ever will. Furthermore, all the talk of “community character” ignores the fact that the site is overlooked by a major interstate highway that causes noise and pollution 24/7.

    And yeah, regional tax policy sucks (both TIFs and the fact that every development in the city gets a tax abatement) but this is really about NIMBYism, which STL excels at.

  • Dblarsen314

    Our failure to define regional, even city-wide planning on any level is why this project scares neighbors and half-way accomplishes any of our urbanism dreams. A couple blocks over here or there and much better…but not in the ideal spot, and the neighbors don’t support it so it gets watered down even further.

    • matimal

      There’d be less nimbyism with Portland-style regional planning?

      • Dblarsen314

        Not at all, and like most things, the best method is probably somewhere in between here and the approach in Portland. It’s just comical that we subsidize big-box retail close to a metro station (with very poorly planned access) instead of denser, mixed-use development like this. I don’t think Portland-style planning is appropriate or would succeed in our region, but it would be wise for us to do a better job steering more urban private development adjacent to our major public investments…such as ML.

        • matimal

          Portland-style planning would work economically, but it can’t happen for political reasons. The real issue is who is “we “and “us”?

        • rgbose

          According to its budget docs RH’s goal is to become more reliant on sales taxes, not leverage transit with more productive land uses to generate property taxes.

          • Dblarsen314

            And that’s their choice and existing game plan, fine. But for future transit investment in the region, we must locate expansion in municipalities and neighborhoods that either already are set-up to take advantage or have plans to develop in a way that leverages our investment.

          • rgbose

            Amen! That’s why I :/ when I hear people say run it down the middle of the highway out west, or to westport or in the middle of I70, or lament over St. Charles not wanting it. It should be built where it’ll be embraced and leveraged.

  • Eric E
  • Eric E

    “Richmond Heights property taxes low and the level of services high. It’s a nice gig if you can manage it. And it may work for another decade or more if the city can continue to take from its neighbors.”

    I think the last sectence is a malicious misrepresentation and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the sales tax system in St. Louis County works. There are two groups of cities as it relates to the county sales tax system: A and B. Richmond Heights is an A city, which means we are a point-of-sale city. We have large retail establishments that are frequented by the surrounding areas. B cities are referred to as pool cities, which means that municipality is mostly residential and has no tax base for retail.

    All A cities redistribute their sales taxes to the B cities to compensate for the sales tax we receive from outside residents. (Some might say this redistribution isn’t fair, but outside residents keep these places in business by patronizing them so the idea is to return some of the sales tax to them, it may not be perfect but that’s another discussion) Yes, we do keep what is left over after the redistribution formula is applied. And, yes, we have great city services. We need them.

    Two officers are permenantly stationed at the Gallaria. Our fire department must be equipped to answer calls to single family residences and one of the largest retail centers in the region. Our roads are traveled at higher frequencies, especially the holidays, and require annual repair. We invite the business, and yes, we chose that path and are staying the course.

    The power of the pen is power indeed. I like a lot of Alex’s articles, but this one lacks a complete understanding how sales taxes are distributed in St. Louis County and proceeds to characterize the residents of Richmond Heights and Clayton (which is an A city as well) as small minded thieves. That’s my problem with the article. We shouldn’t be referred to as thieves for exercising our rights in having a say in the zoning of our community and spending our sales taxes to protect and maintain our city. We are in no way shape or form thieves and we should resent the comment.

    Richmond Heights and Clayton have modern apartment living, (several projects going up all around us) not to mention the historic apartment buildings that provide an inherent understanding of how these type residences are an important fabric to our historic neighborhoods. There is no us verse them in regards to apartment buildings here; people know the make up of the city encouraged this type of living far before this project was proposed.

    As residents, if we want to take time to examine projects and influence our city council to shape our historic neighborhoods, then so be it. It’s our right and we don’t have to be in a rush because the money is on the table. My opinion, the land is in the middle of the historic city and was used for some community needs. It’s a lot harder to take land for community use then it is to give it away. The city has been here 100 years and the plan is to be here another 100, so let’s take our time.

    All the Best!

    http://mowonk.com/2013/07/22/is-it-time-to-take-a-dip-into-the-st-louis-county-pool-tax-issue/

    • rgbose

      Richmond Heights has two of the optional sales taxes as well, correct? The latest budget shows only 9% of revenues from property taxes and 29% from sales taxes. While not as bad as Ellisville (https://nextstl.com/2014/04/town/) and others, it’s RH’s goal “RH is dependent on retail sales taxes” “The city will maintain a broad-based, well-diversified portfolio of revenues, with a continued diminishing reliance on property taxes. Whenever appropriate, the revenues burden shall be focused on sales tax, utility fees, and user fees.” BTW, it’d be great if the budget docs on the RH website were an actual pdf of text instead of a paper scan.

      We’re familiar with the sales tax pool. Here’s a post regarding it from when Chesterfield was (and continues to) complaining about being a B city.

      https://nextstl.com/2014/12/chesterfield-pee-tax-pool/

      • Eric E

        St. Louis County sales tax issues reach back to the 1960s. Maryland Heights and Chesterfield incorporated in the 1980s and entered the pool cities because of the stipulations of the statute. Maryland Heights currently levies no property tax at all on its residents.

        Richmond Heights passed the options, one of which is distributed to the pool as well.

        My point is characterizing Richmond Heights as stealing from its neighbors is demonstratively irresponsible. The city leverages its sales taxes as it sees fit to meet its needs.

        Richmond Heights collects sales tax on its retail developments, it plays by the rules by redistributing those sales taxes with the pool cities, and our city administration leverages the rest on behalf of the residents as it sees fit with the city having the legal right to do so.

        Claiming Richmond Heights is “taking” from our neighbors for the sake of “smart development” is devisive and unconscionable. Richmond Heights has many examples contemporary clustered living, some being developed in the coming months. When residents use the political process to voice concerns on a development, I don’t see that as being a reason characterize the city as being a thieving neighbor.

        • rgbose
        • Adam

          “…demonstratively irresponsible.”

          How would you go about demonstrating that, exactly?

          Anyway give me a break. This semantics arguments is ridiculous. Richmond Heights is doing what it needs to do to make money without concern for how that effects the rest of the region. It’s all legal, thus it’s not technically “stealing”. Call it “parochial taking” or “stealing in spirit” ’cause that’s what it is.

          • Eric E

            We all need a break to fathom the combination of words “parochial taking” and “stealing in spirit”. Trailblazing stuff.

          • Adam

            yep, almost as good as your “demonstrably irresponsible”.

          • Eric E

            I’m surprised you haven’t heard the expression “demonstrably irresponsible” before. It’s commonly used by academics and advocate journalist alike. Sorry I have never heard of the expressions you shared yesterday.

          • Adam

            Not the expression itself, Eric, but applying the expression to “characterizing Richmond Heights as stealing from its neighbors”. I’m still waiting to hear how one (perhaps an academic or an advocate journalist?) might demonstrate the irresponsibility therein.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Everyone seems to have had their say here. The arguing of definitions and increasingly personal back and forth add nothing to the conversation for anyone.

        • Steve Kluth

          There is a difference between legal and ethical.

    • Alex Ihnen

      We’ve written about the sales tax issue extensively and understand it well. As long as Richmond Heights bulldozes neighborhoods and offers big box national chain stores millions upon millions of dollars of our tax revenue to build on one side of the street rather than the other, my view of the issue is unlikely to change.

      I’m not surprised at the reaction to being called out as part of the regional planning and TIF for retail problem, but we have to start somewhere and the policies pursued by Richmond Heights are a problem.

      Also, I totally forgot to limit the number of characters in the comment section. 🙂

      • Eric R

        Depicting residents as being small minded and silly for being in opposition to a development plan v. Accusing a city of stealing from its neighbors for legally leveraging tax dollars….
        Apples, Oranges

        Tax Increment Financing is a state statute so any change to it would need to go through Jefferson City.

        But, I’ll digress (trying to keep in mind those characters;)

        Have a good weekend, gentlemen.

        • rgbose

          Alex said take, you’re using steal and thievery.

          Yes, the problem is this is all legal! The law and infrastructure subsidies (The county maintains Clayton, Brentwood, Hanley, and Big Bend, the state I64 and I170) has created bad incentives. We’ve called for TIF reform numerous times.

          https://nextstl.com/2013/08/suggestions-for-the-joint-interim-committee-on-st-louis-metropolitan-statistical-area-governance-and-taxation/

          https://nextstl.com/2016/01/time-for-ideas-to-address-fragmentation/

          • Eric E

            Please see first action verb in definition and synonyms.

            steal
            stēl/
            verb
            1.
            take (another person’s property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.

            synonyms: purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, run off with, abscond with, carry off, shoplift

            Not sure how else to interpret Alex’s use of the word “take” in the context of the article….

          • jhoff1257

            Except no one is talking about Richmond Heights taking personal property.

          • Eric E

            Then how would you characterize the use on the word “take” in the context of the article?

          • jhoff1257

            Richmond Heights used publicly funded TIFs to build large big box retail centers that siphon (or TAKE) away revenue from other publicly subsidized big box centers in neighboring municipalities. Now, siphoning off revenue from Maplewood, Brentwood, etc wasn’t the stated intent for those decisions by Richmond Heights but those decisions have the same effect nonetheless. And if you’ve bothered to read any of the other comments or even the article you’d know that we can all agree this isn’t a Richmond Heights only problem. Cities all over the County and even the City of St. Louis itself do this all the time. These issues have been well documented here. You may want to read up on them.

            Seems like someone is a little too easily offended.

          • Eric E

            Seems like someone is a little easily too offended to me.

            I found your comments that I should read the article, comments and other material as being quite odd. What you’ve done here is told yourself that I’m aimlessly making comments and manifested that thought to the point where you put it in writing. Maybe that makes you feel better or you think some small battle has been won, but most objective readers would probably reason that I’ve read the article and other comments based on the fact I’ve quoted both to continue this dialogue.

            At least by asking a few questions and making a few points, the writer and other employees of nextstl.com have admitted that Richmond Heights leverages its tax dollars legally and that RH is not the only city in the region to apply for and be granted TIFs. What’s more is that all this was discussed in the comments section directly underneath an article that depicts RH as scorched earth where the most evil agenda resides.

            Back to the main point of the article above. RH has plenty of clustered living projects recently approved and under way and residents do not like the development currently being proposed. I know a number of people in RH who advocate for the type of smart development that nextstl.com bolsters. It’s discouraging that when residents speak out in opposition of something happening in their own community that they are demeaned and their city attacked for not being in agreement with proponents.

            An objective reader could possibly deduce from the article above that RH and its residents represent everything that’s wrong with our region in terms of development. And that’s sad.

          • Eric E

            I mean that last part sincerely, gentlemen. We have some solid progressive-smart development going up in and around our city. The negative and decisive tone of the article is nothing short of disheartening. I’m sorry to see nextstl.com moving in that direction.

          • Adam

            Eric, could you please quote the exact parts of the article that you find “demeaning” to RH residents? I can only find two paragraphs that could possibly be construed as “demeaning” by even the most sensitive resident:

            “The opponent’s dream? Single-family homes, of course. The premise supporting this desire is that nothing’s changed in 50 years in Richmond Heights, that living preferences haven’t changed, that the economics of single-family home development haven’t changed. That the future is detached single-family living.”

            “Opposition to a townhome development for a vacant school site in Clayton echoes some of these themes. Opponents in both places seem pleased enough with the status quo of vacancy and zero tax revenue from these properties. In Clayton, opponents want the school system to forgo several million dollars in revenue from the sale of the property, and the city to forgo half a million annually in new tax revenue. One can only assume that these same people would happily vote to raise their own property taxes to make up the difference.”

            Yes, Alex makes some presumptions about what is driving the opposition. I would hardly call this “demeaning”, and I think you would be better represented by responding to the specific criticisms than by complaining about hurt feelings.

          • Eric E

            Alex already pulled my quote above where I states there’s a difference between stealing and leveraging and responded “eh, tomato, tomahto”. Which is an expression that means, “We’re saying the same thing”

  • Tim E

    I agree with the neighbors on this one. You can bulldoze the bowling alley and put up dense mixed residential, bulldoze Home Depot a few blocks away and put up dense mixed residential, bulldoze Diergerg and build a new one with dense residential and a new pocket park.. Sorry, just don’t see need to have this size apartment block be built because you can. Especially on this street with no commercial whatsoever
    .
    I find the proposed Clayton dense townhouse a better development idea on a street surrounded by singe residential homes and a former school. Keep the character of the existing block and opportunities for residents of future TOD development to move into single residential housing and still have transit access and so on

    • Joe S

      Is this for real? RH should bulldoze (Brentwood’s) Home Depot, or
      Tropicana bowl, or Dierbergs which are all currently in use and instead
      let the unused buildings sit. That aside, RH has voiced that they don’t
      want to use the land for single residential housing because they
      recognize it as too valuable.

      • Tim E

        Yep, for real. For starters at some point big box stores go empty and yes I recognize that Home Depot as well as Dierbergs are in Brentwood so RH wouldn’t gain a cent. But RH is getting the big daddy of them all with a huge new Menards on a street that already has a Home Depot and Lowe’s in three towns with population/demographic declines. Take Dierbergs and how many places you can buy groceries…..
        .
        Which gets back to your comment that RH recognize it as too valuable. I have to chuckle on that one. You must the developer or channeling for the developer. What is valuable to RH is the huge sales taxes that Menards development will generate for the city even after sharing. The extra tax revenue generated on this property vs. single residential home won’t even come close to what Menards and storefronts will generate. I honestly believe the fair comment is put “Developer” in place of “RH” because they recognize it as too valuable. Which is fair enough because built environment should bring more value and any developer first and foremost should seek a higher return. RH should have a lot more parameters just not a bottom line.
        .
        I just believe at the end of the day that RH and the neighborhood would be better off with a townhouse, rowhouse or some type of single residential for this particular spot just as what is proposed for the old Maryland school grounds in Clayton if Alex would be willing to update his post with that development rendering shown at the corner of Boland & Dale.

    • jhoff1257

      The cost of eminent domain on one of any of those three active businesses would be tremendous. One of them isn’t even in Richmond Heights. The cost of development would skyrocket if they were going to take an active business.

      Not to mention I think a neighborhood cafe/coffee shop is a wonderful idea. Nothing wrong with bringing some walkable amenities to suburban development. Even WingHaven has done stuff like this to some extent.

      • tim e

        Jhoff1257, Actually only the one I noted is in RH. Dierbergs is also in Brentwood. My point is I think their is better locations that might suited for size apartment block proposed. Who knows, maybe after Menards open you will see either Lowe’s and or Home Depot will shutter the doors, maybe not.

    • matimal

      You can’t have TOD development and not have it at the same time. it isn’t for you to decide the “need.” The market decides that.

      • tim e

        Agree, market and capital will decide. Just trying to express my opinion that this would be better situated if it was actually closer to metrolink station then where the developer proposes in a single unit residential area. Just as Alex created a public blog, firmly expresses his opinion but openly seeks comments.

        • matimal

          Markets will meet in Richmond Heights if they are allowed to. If they aren’t they’ll meet in Chesferfield, Dallas, or Malaysia.

          • tim e

            Curious why you noted Chesterfield? the market or least someone decided they wanted huge big box store developments take over a flood plain once a levee went up.

          • matimal

            Because it’s an example of how governmental actions affect development patterns. Chesterfield’s levee’s are government.

  • moorlander
  • ParallelParker

    Change and progress are so hard for us St. Louisans.

  • Josiah

    Those neighbors who oppose it crack me up. It looks nice, it’s upscale, it’ll increase property taxes and you’ll have a neighborhood cafe on the first floor. Traffic? Seriously? You have Hanley, Big Bend, Clayton all literally right there. Traffic is a non-issue. Enjoy the mold infested school and abandoned church. Maybe you’ll get some mcmansions instead which will look even more out of place.

    • Dan Mertens

      Is everyone aware there are 3,000 plus luxury apartments, in various stage of development within a 5 mile radius? Every realtor Ive spoken with is concerned about the lack of planning in the region. Every municipality is wanting their share of the pie. Which leads to the regionalism problem in St.Louis/County.

      • rgbose

        Yes, this site has been chronicling the developments. It’s exciting to have growth.

        Agreed we def need planning at a level with a larger view. Are RH citizens pushing to restart the conversation about merging with Clayton again?

        • Dan Mertens

          Agreed growth is exciting, with the proper regional planning. I believe the effected RH citizens are concerned about the lack hereof. In the larger picture, my opinion aligned with this concern – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ01ZD29v38

      • matimal

        There has never been any regional planning in metro St. Louis. This isn’t new. If there ever is, it will be in response to growth, not in advance of it. Saying no to growth here and now is tantamount to saying no to growth at all in metro St. Louis.

        • Dan Mertens

          Stating the obvious does not make it an acceptable pattern to move forward with. 3000 – 4000 high end apartments in various stages, is a response to growth. Looking back after the fact and saying “oh we built too many, sorry.” would be awfully short sighted. No one is saying “no here and now”, they want it planned and implemented in a more neighborhood appropriate manor, instead of kissing the feet of any developer interested, letting him install a monolith. The comment about being tantamount, to no growth in principle is really reaching matimal!

          • matimal

            Your comments encapsulate St. Louis beautifully.

      • moorlander

        I’d just like to add a little perspective to your comment. “3,000 units within a 5 mile radius”
        The area of a circle with a radius of 5miles is 78.54 miles square. This area includes much of the booming central corridor and is larger than the City of St. Louis proper. 3k units doesn’t sound that impressive any longer does it? I’d love to have 3k units in varius stages of development in downtown St. Louis alone.

        • Dan Mertens

          Mea culpa, within a 5 mile stretch of hwy 40 from Brentwood blvd. Im also expressing the concerns of real-estate professionals in the area. Im all for it, if the market can handle it, and its sustainable.

    • tim e

      So why wouldn’t a townhouse development as proposed on Maryland Ave in Clayton that is also on old school grounds work here? Who says the neighbors want a café? They certainly didn’t line up to say that in everything I read. Heck, if this so desired as the developer states then why not condo’s and introduce an ownership stake?
      .
      Yes, agree it looks nice, its upscale but just looking at a google map of the area and it seems it would fit much better if it was to the East of the RH rec center along Dale Ave. Yes, I do understand that is a different development but just have a tough time understanding why communities that were built on single residential homes have to forgo those neighborhoods. worse yet, build the big apartment building in remaining single residential areas and call it progress because you have big box store development surrounding your transit stations.

      • jhoff1257

        Who is forgoing a neighborhood? This is a lot with a few vacant buildings next to an interstate highway. We’re not talking about taking down the existing single family homes. We’re not tearing down the entire neighborhood and turning it into some Boulevard style development. RH’s own planning documents call for this exact type of development at this location. This plan was vetted with public input. Where were these people then?

        And what’s wrong with a cafe? As someone who grew up in St. Louis’ sprawl I would have given an arm for a nice little coffee or sandwich joint within a short walk or bike ride from my single family home. This isn’t unprecedented…even in the St. Louis area.

        • Tim E

          I just question how viable the café, or need will be when you will have a number of establishments available within the short walk to Menards Development in addition to the hotel/retail proposal three short blocks away at the corner of Dale & Hale.

          KB over in urbanstl posting is stating that Menards development alone will include

          Noodles & Co
          Pie Five Pizza
          Penn Station Subs
          Dunkin Donuts
          Andy’s Frozen Custard
          Tom+Chee Grilled Cheese
          Wingstop
          Nail Salon
          Dentist

          • moorlander

            No one will walk to those establishments. You’d be risking your life. The walkable street, per the RH plan, will be Dale. This is a good first step.

          • Tim E

            I do believe you have a walkable sidewalk to RH Rec center and they could require a walkable condition to the controlled intersection at Dale & Hanley with the next development forthcoming. Which goes back to any successful built environment within an urban environment and you will see a lot of auto, bicycle and walking traffic intermixed. So your comment tells me to support a corner café because RH doesn’t want to support a friendly environment for a whole four blocks? So when resident doesn’t want to go to the café and wants a dunkin donut instead they will get in the car which is fair enoung. My bet is the opposite, residents will support Menards establishments because the options provided.

        • Tim E

          I just question how viable the café, or need will be when you will have a number of establishments available within the short walk to Menards Development in addition to the hotel/retail proposal three short blocks away at the corner of Dale & Hale.

          KB over in urbanstl posting is stating that Menards development alone will include

          Noodles & Co
          Pie Five Pizza
          Penn Station Subs
          Dunkin Donuts
          Andy’s Frozen Custard
          Tom+Chee Grilled Cheese
          Wingstop
          Nail Salon
          Dentist

  • Adam

    Can’t wait for the neighbors of this development to chime in on this one. 🙂