Centene Acquires More Land, Set to Go Big in Clayton

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Centene holdings

While Centene’s purchase of land at the corner of Hanley Road and Forsyth Boulevard, has been known since late 2014, that project, or projects, may be bigger than initially understood. The purchase of the seven parcels immediately across Hanley Road from Centene headquarters at 7700 Forsyth Boulevard in downtown Clayton, was completed in October 2014 for $14.2M.

Earlier this year as pre-construction activity commenced at that site, core drilling was also taking place to the east at the long vacant parcels along Carondelet Plaza near the Forsyth MetroLink station. Those parcels, 11 in all (image above), now show ownership as “Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation”. The only properties not shown with an ownership address of the 8th floor of 7700 Forsyth are 7606 Forsyth (Forhan LLC) and Wellbridge fitness center at 7620 Forsyth (Forsyth Plaza Members LLC).

Nine of the eleven eastern parcels are shown as being purchased together for $21M in June of 2012. The additional parcels include 10 South Lyle Avenue (0.93 acres), purchased November 12 for $2.2M, and 7600 Forsyth Boulevard (2.15 acres) purchased September 25 for $9M. (Individual parcel details below.)

The total purchase price listed for all parcels now owned by Centene is in excess of $46M. What isn’t known is what’s coming to the expansive site. The southeast corner of Hanley and Forsyth is being planned as a second phase of 7700 Forsyth. Expected is an office tower, parking garage, and perhaps a hotel and retail:

Centene outline

On Friday, Centene celebrated the opening of its $25M claims center in Ferguson, the result of a commitment to invest in that community following the unrest in the wake of the police shooting and death of Michael Brown. According to St. Louis Public Radio, Centene Chairman, President and CEO Michael Neidorff also announced on Friday the company plans to add office space in Clayton, where up to 2,000 jobs could be added.

One idea nextSTL has learned is being discussed for the expansive land holdings along Forsyth is a plan for a performing arts center as part of a mixed-use development. On one hand, the idea seems a bit outlandish, but the more one knows about Centene Chairman, President and CEO Michael Neidorff, the more plausible it becomes.

More than a decade ago in Farmington, MO, Neidorff and Centene aided the construction of what would be named the Centene Center and Neidorff Hall. The Neidorffs and Centene are significant arts patrons across the St. Louis region. The $4.4M performing arts center and banquet center in Farmington is a 32K sf facility featuring a 500-seat auditorium with space for an additional 225 seats.

Centene Center Farmington{the Centene Center and Neidorff Hall – Farmington, MO}

In December 2013 it was announced that Michael and Noémi Neidorff and the Centene Charitable Foundation had made a significant leadership pledge to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Mr. Neidorff serves as the co-chair of that institution’s expansion effort.

By last fall, the Kennedy Center expansion had raised more than $135M against a $125M goal. The goal was then raised to $175M. Three new pavilions totaling 72K sf will be built adjacent to the existing center along the Potomac.

After walking away from the Ballpark Village project, and $78M in incentives from St. Louis City, Centene announced it would consider other locations, including moving its headquarters out of state. Then Clayton approved $22M in tax incentives. The company expanded its footprint within the county seat, building a $186M development that includes an 18-story office tower, 1,700-space parking garage and retail, including Cantina Laredo, Pastaria, Niche, and Kakao Chocolate at 7700 Forsyth. Space in the tower rents for $33/sq ft, the highest in the region. The tower was 98% leased in less than a year. The move jump started plans for development at the east end of Clayton’s central business district.

Centene is growing quickly and has more than 13,000 national employees. This includes approximately 2,000 in the St. Louis area. In 2000 Centene had 270 employees company-wide, with 45 in Clayton occupying 6,000 square feet of leased office space in the former Aragon Place Building at 771 Carondelet Ave. In 2003 the company bought the building for $12.6 million, and expanded into 60,000 sf of office space.

On July 2 of this past year it was announced that Centene would acquire Health Net for $6.8B. While the impact on the St. Louis headquarters is not yet known, the acquisition results in a much larger company, and one poised for growth. Centene currently services just more than 4M people across 22 states, primarily in subsidized health insurance programs serving low-income and disabled individuals. Health Net currently serves nearly 6M individuals via privately sponsored plans, Medicaid and Medicare.

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
7454 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
7440 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
101 Carondelet Plz
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
105 Carondelet Plz
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
7510 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
7518 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
7520 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
7634 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forysth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Clayton Property Investment LLC Co Centene Corporation
7528 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
06/04/2012 $21,020,661 (multiple parcel sale)

Centene Center II LLC
10 S Lyle Ave
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd 8TH FL
Saint Louis, MO 63105
11/12/2015 $2,200,000

Hanley Forsyth LLC
7600 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd 8TH FL
Saint Louis, MO 63105
09/25/2015 $9,000,000

Hanley Forsyth LLC Co Centene Corporation
7630 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
10/15/2014 $14,200,000 (multiple parcel sale)

Hanley Forsyth LLC Co Centene Corporation
7632 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
10/15/2014 $14,200,000 (multiple parcel sale)

Hanley Forsyth LLC Co Centene Corporation
7636 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
10/15/2014 $14,200,000 (multiple parcel sale)

Hanley Forsyth LLC Co Centene Corporation
7642 Forsyth Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
10/15/2014 $14,200,000 (multiple parcel sale)

Hanley Forsyth LLC Co Centene Corporation
12 S Hanley Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
10/15/2014 $14,200,000 (multiple parcel sale)

Hanley Forsyth LLC Co Centene Corporation
14 S Hanley Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
10/15/2014 $14,200,000 (multiple parcel sale)

Hanley Forsyth LLC Co Centene Corporation
20 S Hanley Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63105
7700 Forsyth Blvd #800
Saint Louis, MO 63105
10/15/2014 $14,200,000 (multiple parcel sale)

Prior Trianon condo and mixed use development proposed late 2000s:

Trianon 2

Massing concept from Clayton master plan:

Clayton plan

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  • wowza

    It’s also a great site for a park.

    • I do not agree at all. A prime parcel immediately adjacent to rail transit should be developed accordingly– high density, mixed use, urban scale. A park is truly a waste of space in this location.

      • Alex Ihnen

        Maybe a small playground (speaking as a selfish parent)? 🙂

    • Tim E

      Maybe well placed, designed pocket park tucked away from the traffic. But have to agree with STLgasm. This is a prime spot for a great mixed used space

  • Dan Salmo

    Exciting news! A performing arts center would be awesome in Clayton.

    Also, the Neidorff’s should be credited for helping get classical music back on the air in St.Louis through RAF-STL (107.3). I think the station uses some of Centene’s space for broadcasting.

    • Tim E

      I guess my issue, is how many Performing Arts Centers and Districts can you have in the region? Unfortunately, I would much rather see any increased efforts in the arts towards building an already strong Grand Center stronger, or help a struggling UMSL doesn’t cut back on its arts program which also include a performance arts theater and or help established groups further. Why not put it efforts in taking over the corporate sponsorship of Peabody theater downtown so that doesn’t close up? My gut feeling is now that want their name on a brand spanking new place at the sake of the rest of the region because they can.
      ….
      It probably won’t take long before comments about how this is needed because Clayton is safe and the city is not.

      • Guest

        In my opinion it seems pretty obvious that some people want Clayton to be the CBD of the area. They want all the good that it would bring. Sad thing is, many of the people who support this idea are ignoring those things they would consider as negative that are part of a CBD of a metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people. More and bigger highways, more traffic, more noise, more pollution. It seems they’ve started a snowball without realizing all the effects.
        Wait until some of the fine homes and neighborhoods around downtown Clayton (are the people who own these homes giving serious consideration to this?) are “blighted” because more space is needed to expand. And that will happen if this continues. There simply isn’t enough room to accommodate such a CBD and keep it confined to what is currently downtown Clayton.

        Downtown Clayton used to be THE pinnacle of commerce for St. Louis’ most prosperous and upscale residents (we actually had two such areas…the CWE was the other). There was an air about it… you knew you were somewhere special. It’s lost much of that, and is becoming just another typical (at best) CBD. I think that’s a shame.

        • Alex Ihnen

          I see what you’re saying, but ultimately I think a) there’s tons of room for development in Clayton without expanding boundary of the CBD (look at all the surface parking lots), b) there really isn’t room to expand highways (though I-170 will see new interchanges at FP Parkway/Brentwood), and c) those people in $500K+ homes will be able to successfully beat back any effort to expand the CBD into single-family residential neighborhoods (I think).

          • Tim E

            Have to agree with Alex assessment. Best example is recent nimbyism won out handily over a townhome development at the old Maryland school lot. Clayton CBD has some very well defined lines IMO and still plenty of room within those lines.

            ..

            My gripe is that I don’t believe another performance arts center is needed nor is one needed for Clayton. To me the original tri condo plan near Forsyth station was and still is a great plan for that particular plot of land. From their it is very good access whether it by road or metrolink to the multiple institutions, theaters, sporting events available to the region.

  • Framer

    The Cardinals are clueless. Centene could have single-handedly finished Ballpark Village by now.

  • citylover

    Imagining what this would like in ballpark village. At least they stayed in the region. What are the height restrictions for skyscrapers in Clayton?

    And..heard this a lot but I’m not absolutely sure. Buildings downtown can’t be taller than the arch–correct?

    • rgbose

      It’s often said. Even if true, it’s not like a variance can’t be granted.

    • RJ

      The Jefferson National Memorial has an ordinance restricting buildings to around 300 feet tall between the river, Broadway, Chouteau and Cass. Anything west of Broadway has no height restrictions

      • RBB

        OK, time to nerd out.

        Here (note – large PDF download) is a map of the building zones. The Gateway Tower is in the Jefferson Memorial District zone (in blue on the map that encompasses the JNEM/Archgrounds and portions of the city immediately surrounding it.

        Here are the height regulations from the JMD zone from the St. Louis Public Library’s site:

        “The height regulations are the same as those in the I central business district except that in no instance shall any portion of a building or structure including all appurtenances and super structures thereon, exceed a mean sea level elevation of seven hundred fifty-one (751) feet. It shall be unlawful to increase the height of an existing building or other structures located within this district unless it complies with the regulation of the district.

        (Ord. 59979 § 17 (part), 1986.)”

        ^ Now it mentions the Central Business District height regulations. Those are here:

        From the CBD codes:

        “26.52.040 Height regulations.

        Buildings may be erected to such height that the cubic contents of said building above the established grade shall not exceed the volume of a prism having a base equal to the projected horizontal area of the building and a height of two hundred (200) feet. In the case of buildings occupying a lot having frontage on intersecting streets and which buildings are so designed as to provide a setback or open space at one (1) corner or corners where such street intersections occur, or when such setback begins below the two hundred (200) foot height above the established grade, the volume determined by the above rule may be exceeded by an amount equal to the volume so taken out of the reference prism of two hundred (200) foot height; provided, however, that the total volume of the actual building shall not exceed by more than twenty-five percent (25%) the volume of said reference prism of two hundred (200) foot height.

        (Ord. 59979 § 14 (part), 1986.)”

        Simple, no? In short, you take the property boundaries and draw an imaginary cube 200 feet tall. Take the volume of that cube, and that can be the volume of your building. So a perfectly square building built out to the edges of the property can only be 200 feet tall, but you can by code make the building taller by tapering the tower, hollowing out the center, or doing what the designers of the Gateway Tower did and have a shorter pedestal on one half of the property (a small-volume base) and a taller higher-volume tower on the other half. Here’s a simple example of two cubes of the same volume but different heights:

        https://whites-geometry-wiki.wikispaces.com/file/view/boxaddmadd.gif/30679284/boxaddmadd.gif

        Nowhere is there the arch specifically mentioned by name or by height in building codes. However, in the JMD zone only it does mention a specific hard height limit of “a mean sea level elevation of seven hundred fifty-one (751) feet”. That’s actually fairly limiting.

        The arch grounds are 478′ above sea level (reference, page 2), giving the 630′-tall arch a height above sea level of 1,108′. That means by code buildings in the immediate vicinity of the Archgrounds must be ‘357 shorter than the pinnacle of the Arch itself measuring from sea level.

        So if you’re building on ground **at the same elevation above sea level as the Arch** (an important qualification), that would limit a tower in the JMD zone to 273′ in height *and* a total volume of no more than the property’s square footage times 200 feet. The Gateway Tower, for reference, is 260’ tall.

        So them’s the rules; easy peasy. But as rgbose said, variances to them are easily granted.

        -RBB

  • Presbyterian

    That site at Forsyth and Carondolet is a prime candidate for high density, mixed use, transit-oriented devlopment. Next to a Meteolink station, it has sat empty for too long. I hope Centene has aggressive plans for the site!

    • Tim E

      Pres, you could put in 8th & Clark Ave for location and swap out Centene with DeWitt to describe probably the two best spots hands down for development in the region. Unfortunately the driving force, leadership behind one business is probably light years ahead of the other when it comes to the community. I just don’t see Centene land banking for the sake of a sweet heart deal sometime in the future if it comes across.