Up To 450 Residential Units, Other Uses, Proposed for Site on The Hill

* A revised plan for this development was released 09/07/2016: Revised Plan for $40M, 10-Acre Development on The Hill Moves Forward (292 apartments, 58 townhomes, and 15 single-family homes)

Daggett_The Hill

Last night, representatives from Sansone Group presented plans for a mixed use development to replace more than 10 acres of warehouse and industrial complex in The Hill neighborhood of St. Louis. The developer has the former Owens-Illinois Glass Co. industrial complex under contract, and envisions up to 450 residential units.

The presentation also included plans to rehab a portion of the white brick building on Daggett, which partially burned last July. New single family homes would front Hereford to the west of the property and behind would be large multi-story apartment building. Example images shown at the meeting included the luxury 278-unit Cortona at Forest Park

The Hill aerial

The HillLast year the property, including a parcel north of Daggett, was listed for approximately $6M by Berry Grant commercial real estate firm principle Bob Flynn. We wrote at the time that a $4M offer was under consideration. It’s not known if that offer was from Sansone Group.

The mixed-use development plan appears to attempt to retain the scale of the neighborhood by placing single-family homes and retaining at least a portion of the warehouse on the property’s edges. The large multi-family building at the property’s center would be surrounded by a parking garage and appears to include a parking garage as well.

Cortona at Forest Park{Cortona at Forest Park was offered as an example of the multi-family infill}

The network of warehouse and office space constituting 5006-5030 and 5019-5021 Daggett Avenue is located in the shadow of the soon to be replaced Kingshighway viaduct, across both streets fronting the longtime St. Louis favorite Rigazzi’s Italian restaurant. Buildings date from 1910, and include expansion in 1923, 1942, and 1946, according to city records.

Berry Grant has owned the complex since the late 1950s, when Flynn’s father founded the company. The property was reportedly under contract by MLP Investments in 2007. At the time, Flynn had the property listed for nearly $16 million.

It’s expected that any development of the site will be contentious, likely requiring the approval of Alderman Joe Vollmer and St. Ambrose pastor Mnsgr. Bommarito. It isn’t known if any economic incentives would be sought, though a representative of the developer stated that they wouldn’t seek incentives unless necessary.

The redevelopment of former industrial sites, especially of this size, often utilize various tax credits. This past week we published the St. Louis City Economic Incentives Report, the first comprehensive look at incentives such as property tax abatement and tax increment financing (TIF) in the City of St. Louis.

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  • Josiah

    Project had some modifications to building height and unit count but was approved by the neighborhood association/broad. Not sure on details yet

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  • STLEnginerd

    It’d be cool to see something very old world Italian with narrow winding streets. I would think they could do that in the middle of the site while keeping the street wall along Daggett and the one along the rail line intact.

    • gmichaud

      An architectural competition tends to bring out creative, and perhaps more risky solutions like you suggest. It is an intriguing approach. It is the type of thinking the site deserves.
      The city should be making a big deal about finding the right solution, Old style narrow winding streets would be exciting for the public to discuss. instead everything is left to a developer who thinks he is building in St. Charles County.

  • Billikens&Bricks

    So what is actually being preserved with this plan? Any of the buildings that form the street wall along Daggett?

  • rgbose

    They aren’t paying their property taxes.

  • rgbose

    How about run Boardman and Wilson into the site and to the neighborhood

    • gmichaud

      Not sure what you are saying, extend the streets? It is hard to see what is really going on in the drawing, but you can see they put entrances off of Hereford. there was just a big discussion here about how children and cars don’t mix after the death of that little girl in Ballwin.
      It’s the same situation here, The entrances should be off of Bischoff and off Daggett at Boardman or further down. (not sure if new overpass will include access next to Kingshighway)
      Daggett and Bischoff are one way towards Kingshighway and Wilson goes the other direction, Right now the plan dumps all of the traffic, 450 cars at least onto Hereford and if they want to go west they would likely go up Wilson.
      First of all Hereford should be pedestrian orientated. If anything they should bend the building line to mirror a public space across from the St. Ambrose playground and shrink the street in that area to emphasize that the street belongs to pedestrians. I have seen kids chasing balls across Hereford any number of times, and that is just from random visits to stores in the area.
      Hereford would be overwhelmed with traffic, plus Wilson would be a major route for those heading west, even if they had no immediate business in the neighborhood. There is no way 450 cars should be dumped into the Hill on a regular basis.
      For better is to force residents of the new development up Boardman to Shaw or hwy 44 for west movements and on Bischoff to Kingshighway and Southwest Av for west travelers int he other southern, in other words there are plenty of alternates.
      One short block and Marconi Ave is one of the major centers of commerce on the Hill. The way the current plan is drawn it creates conflict with children, the school, the church and pedestrian traffic in general in addition to overwhelming the neighborhood with automobile traffic . Basically if someone wanted to go to DiGregorios it would take the driver an extra 30 seconds to go up Boardman to Shaw instead of Wilson, that is if they didn’t walk.
      Once again the auto is thought of first and everything is made easy for the car while the pedestrians and children are treated as second class citizens. There is no way traffic not specifically for the Hill should be directed through the heart of the business district and conflict with church and school activities.
      The way the plan sits now it will degrade the Hill into a second rate neighborhood, and that’s just based on the proposed traffic patterns without considering the siting of the buildings.
      It is bad enough Daggett and Bischoff will likely get a lot of traffic headed one way towards the new development, but at least they would share traffic with Shaw and Boardman if Hereford is eliminated from additional traffic. In fact in that kind of scenario I would think Bischoff and Shaw/Boardman would carry the most traffic, one from the south and the other from the north. Daggett would probably be spared excessive traffic.
      In summary Hereford and Wilson should be changed from the center of traffic in the current plan to little or no additional traffic by moving the entrances and exits off of Hereford.
      The idea of lofts is good also. This project cries out for an architectural competition. This is an important neighborhood to St. Louis. Each alderman has funds available, although the city should finance a competition. I think the people that helped do city garden might help on a competition also. It needn’t be any more than a regional affair, but certainly different perspectives are worth exploring to arrive at the best solution.

      • rgbose

        I meant fill in the street grid.

        • gmichaud

          A Boardman extension to Bischoff is a good idea, although the street would have to curve at the tracks. Bischoff from Boardman to Kingshighway could be two way, further limiting traffic pressure on the Hill.
          As much as I like grids, the problem with Wilson still remains as stated above. The streets on the Hill are narrow and can be congested even at non peak times. As much as possible traffic that is headed out of the neighborhood should not be using Wilson as a pass through to the west, which will happen under the current development plan.
          The only other scenario would be if there was a commercial presence in the new development. Then it could make sense to keep all parts of the neighborhood connected and extend Wilson also. Either way, road configurations should discourage traffic from passing through the neighborhood any more than necessary.
          Right now, except for Shaw and Macklind, I would think traffic on the rest of the streets are for the most part people going to specific destinations on the Hill.

          • rgbose

            I show that in the map.

            Indeed no good ways to head west until you get down to Southwest.

            I’d definitely push for some neighborhood-scaled commercial in the development. That would support replacing some of those car trips with walking and cycling trips.

          • gmichaud

            If in fact the area was treated as an extension of the existing neighborhood to carry over the texture and intent including various alleys and commercial it could be a good solution. I still have some reservations about Wilson, especially with the front entrance of St. Ambrose School on Wilson between Hereford and Marconi. It is on a section of street that right now sees very little traffic from outside the neighborhood.
            Your suggested solution at least does not flip the area of Hereford and Wilson from pedestrian to autocentric as the proposal of Sansone Developers
            Just in this little space 3 different solutions have been talked about, the original Sansone, your extension of the grid and adaptive reuse of the existing building. This is exactly why an architectural competition would be so useful.
            In a more serious vein is the failure of the City to take leadership here and help sort out what would be the best solution. this same failure exists on the Northside and Paul McKee over a period of years.
            Tony Messenger just had a column today about a public hearing on this subject on the Hill. I read it and the comments. The people on the Hill want something done, but are not sure how to get there. I read too that Alderman Vollmer is blamed for stopping past development, but truthfully I can understand his skepticism. Shouldn’t the city be applying some expertise in this situation? Certainly the city needs to work with the developer to find a reasonable solution, but instead of handing out incentives like TIFs and property tax breaks like candy they should demand that the developer acts in the interest of the community and the city.
            There is a huge breakdown in the process. Community members on the Hill have a perfect right to ask questions and demand that any project is harmonious with where they live.
            From what I can tell the Sansone proposal is suburban lite. He seems to clumsily include some overtures to the urban environment, but it is basically a suburban solution.
            St. Louis keeps falling behind with a recent report stating the city is still losing population. Part of it is caused by the horrible job the city does in handling design issues, specifically urban design.
            Whether it is an Architectural Competition or some other means the city should have a major role in helping projects meet the needs of the community and the city. Something is missing, big time. The current process clearly does not work.

          • rgbose

            By extending the streets and alleys I’m envisioning a fine-grained development of the plot, not one big thing. It’d be great to subdivide it like the rest of the neighborhood, maybe allow for a notch higher density.

            Even if lots of littler things are built by one firm at least they can be sold in pieces at prices more can reach so there are numerous ownership and wealth-building opportunities for numerous people. That’s what I was getting at in my idea for the Crestwood Mall site. https://nextstl.com/2016/02/the-crestwood-mall-neighborhood/

            In either case the big development route trades expediency for long-term resiliency.

          • gmichaud

            After reading about the public hearing in the Post Dispatch I would imagine the public living on the Hill would be more interested in what you have to say than Sansone.
            The city should be offering alternative approaches. They should have a few drawings and sketches to explain them and not rely on verbal descriptions at a public hearing.
            Leadership ideas are coming from this blog and not city officials, Two additional approaches, adaptive reuse and extending the grid have already been talked about and no doubt there are more.
            City officials have a duty to help Hill and City residents find the best solution, no matter what approach is taken.
            To have the developer offer the only solution and if the blowback isn’t too bad give them tax breaks is a horrible way for St. Louis to do business and progress.
            I’m sure Nextstl could come up with a list of requirements, or suggestions of what the Hill residents might prefer to see in a new development. The article and comments by Tony Messenger give a hint.
            Certainly a pedestrian orientated development, especially around St. Ambrose Grade School and Church, not overwhelming the community with cars along with the idea of extending the fine-grained development you describe might be a few that could make a list . I’m guessing there would be support for some commercial in the area to support Rigazzis and give the new district a character of its own.
            Programmatic requirements written for an architectural competition would have similar statements and discussions for guidance of the artists/architects/urban designers trying to find solutions. Can’t the city at least do the same for developers?

            This is the type of discussion is should be going on in the neighborhood. It is the duty of city officials who oversee city planning to make sure that happens. But they don’t on any level and that is the problem.
            Hopefully Tony Messenger will follow up with his reporting to explain how these failures in urban leadership are creating problems for St. Louis now and in the future.

          • rgbose

            Does the Hill have a neighborhood plan? That might help the neighborhood figure out what it would like to see there, even if it’s a few possibilities, and better communicate that to developers.

            Check out Parkview Gardens:
            http://www.parkviewgardensvision.org/about-project/about-project

            Skinker DeBaliviere
            https://skinkerdebaliviere.wordpress.com/neighborhood-planning-initiatives/

            SD could be in a similar situation if Metro decides to leave the big bus barn in the NE corner of the neighborhood.

          • gmichaud

            It is the same problem by city officials, repeated.
            Here are some successful cities and how the city government takes the lead in representing the interests of it citizens.
            San Francisco
            http://sf-planning.org/eight-elements-great-neighborhood
            San Francisco puts this out to city residents and goes into neighborhoods for public hearings.
            London
            http://mycommunity.org.uk
            The original Unitary Development Plan which gave developers outlines of strategic goals for the city and individual neighborhoods which has been updated to a Core Strategy that includes mycommunity.
            Helsinki
            http://www.hel.fi/www/helsinki/en/housing/planning/current/current
            This is in English(as is much of their site). This shows an extensive list of traffic and housing planning currently going on, if you click on any of the city locations the text is in Finnish, but you can see the maps of the sections of city they are working on.
            In all cases above the city government is engaged. They are engaged in a proactive manner with the citizens to shape the environment for the betterment of it citizens.
            The idea of letting the Hill or McKees Northside just float around ignored by the city government would never, ever happen in these successful cities.
            The problem is the St Louis City government, there is no leadership, no concern for the citizens.
            There are 3 different solutions cited above.
            It is clear from the Hill, and McKees Northside going on 5 years that St. Louis City Government has nothing, that they are not doing their job.
            So what do the people of St. Louis get? Paul McKee announcing a couple of crappy autocentric projects that of course will start right away so no one can object.
            That is the St. Louis answer to the above links.

          • gmichaud

            Another major consideration is the future of the vacant land surrounding Ragazzi’s. .What is going to happen with that area? Is there a projected coordination between the two projects? Is a small parking garage needed? a public market?, more apartments? more commercial? should a new transit line be included somehow? The question of what is going to happen with this land is pertinent and depending on its probable use could easily make a grid solution at the Sansone site a necessity to handle traffic flows.

            The grid has more opportunities to disperse the auto, including the alleys. At a minimum Boardman likely needs to run to Bischoff.

            The diversity of the grid helps in that regard. The Sansone Plan is suburban in that pedestrians are secondary to the car for consideration. The multiple points of entry and exit in the grid plan work much better than the concentrated points of entry in autocentric developments like Sansone proposes.

            Encouraging pedestrian use is a good plan, but what does that entail? Certainly an architectural feature like a fountain at the intersection of Hereford and Wilson would slow traffic. If one or more of the corners in the development had little parks or plazas with seating areas in some fashion for pedestrians it would in turn encourage and by design designate the area for pedestrian activity thus making it safer for the surrounding St. Ambrose School and Church. The grid offers opportunities to emphasize pedestrians in a way suburban style developments cannot. Is pedestrian activity a goal for the neighborhood? Surely no one would disagree that the area around St. Ambrose should maintain a strong pedestrian presence.

            These are the type of questions that is the responsibility of the city government to coordinate and help answer. An individual developer almost never looks at broader issues. Even what is happening with the new overpass should have been included in long range planning of the Hill. I have no idea if it was or not.

            I mentioned the links to cities above and I thought a better link for Helsinki City Planning would be

            http://www.hel.fi/www/ksv/en/publications/

            this page shows the breathe of involvement and how Helsinki Planning helps manage development (Helsinki is a metro area about the same size as St Louis, although unlike St. Louis the city is growing in population about 10,000 per year). The Planning Review 2016 internal link on the page includes some 79 projects in motion for the year

            One thing is certain, the cities mentioned in the links above (London, San Francisco) would have never allowed the Hill to flounder and fester like this without a solid direction for developers. The failure on part of the city to encourage good urban design is a serious blow to economic development as well as the general desirability of the city.

            There are successful projects, no doubt because of enlightened developers more than anything the city does to encourage success, other than give away public money. (correct me if I am wrong). Still it is impossible to paper over the sloppy and nonexistent planning that goes on elsewhere in St. Louis. It is a critical issue and is a big part of why St. Louis continues to decline, incentives or not.
            Certainly extending the grid is worth looking at more closely, and so is the idea of adaptive reuse. Even without an architectural competition it would be a good investment for the city to hire architectural/urban design firms to present conceptual approaches like these for discussion within the community.

            I had a letter to the editor about the Hill appear in the Post-Dispatch yesterday. I actually managed to summarize everything in 250 words, suggested solution and all.

            http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/mailbag/poor-development-planning-goes-beyond-the-problems-in-the-hill/article_628202db-fb5a-5fa9-81fe-3207e96338b2.html

      • Alex Ihnen

        In general, I agree with your ideas. Consideration should be taken for access and traffic patterns, that said, I wonder how much traffic the factory generated when it was in full swing? I wonder how many cars come into The Hill on a busy Friday or Saturday? The 450 number sounds big, but they aren’t simply dumped on the streets at one time. Perhaps 450 units is too many, but is the right number 400? 300? In many ways The Hill is a healthy business community, but this shouldn’t be taken for granted. Parking is somewhat limited on The Hill and adding hundreds of residents who would walk to Hill businesses would be huge.

        • gmichaud

          Looking at the factory site on google it looks like parking for around 100 cars on Hereford, and I can only assume that those primarily moved first thing in the morning and once in the afternoon and not on weekends, although I don’t know for sure.
          In contrast the current plan probably means at least 1000 car trips on Hereford a day, including weekends and more likely in the 1200 to 1500 range figuring two car families etc.
          The number of 450 units is probably ok if careful consideration is given to traffic patterns.
          The problem is the decision should not be left to the head priest and alderman, that is one of the major flaws of how things work in St. Louis. This is a huge project that will influence the Hill either positively or negatively for decades. The city should really have a process of vetting these proposals.

  • DCWind

    Why not frame the perimeter of the site with residential by putting the single family to the north and west in an effort to maintain context of The Hill. Then place the larger, multifamily to the south nearer to the larger, existing warehouses as you get closer to Vandeventer and Kingshighway. By doing this, you can put a parking garage at the railroad tracks, providing a bit of a visual buffer, as well as mitigating (attempting to) noise from train traffic. Allow for some surface and street parking, and the center of the site can be used and manipulated as outdoor space for the residents. With the right design aesthetic, using humanly scaled proportions, this could be a fantastic urban addition to the Hill, specifically, and St. Louis, generally.

    I know nothing is set in stone, but those are my hopes if this project moves forward.

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  • mc

    It’s Msgr. not “Mnsgr.” Bommarito. Also, he’ll be moving in the next year or so. He’s being re-assigned to another parish most likely.

    • kmh

      Where have you heard he is being moved? Ending the statement in “most likely” makes it sound like you don’t actually know if that is correct.

    • SRV1990

      Any proof, or just talking out your backside???

  • Tony

    the existing structures would make amazing lofts.

    • kjohnson04

      This. Why not use what’s there?

      • Tim E

        I’m at the opinion that you don’t need to have lofts everywhere and in every neighborhood nor I’m really sold on what plus is there to this neighborhood saving an old massive industrial complex. Keep the lofts downtown and to some of the smaller older warehouses, etc.
        .
        What is disappointing seems the site plan proposed. Don’t necessarily need more height but talk about a cookie cutter parking plan and design. It doesn’t do the Hill justice either.

        • Guest

          But one needs to follow trends in desirable housing, otherwise, in the long run it’ll end up being a waste of money.
          A desirable city needs to meet the demands that current popular lifestyles seek. I believe that with the type of built environment (sure, there are exceptions) development should follow through and what’s done with it should respect that. IMO lofts for this type of structure would be ideal. The brickwork, arches and style would be extremely prohibitive in today’s terms in construction. I don’t understand why you think it should be restricted to downtown and a few small places? I know I’m not alone in that.
          Industrial, so is that bad? To me, that opens up very interesting and unique possibilities. Look at City Museum. Interesting and unique is what draws ’em in…not the blandness of conformity.

          • Alex Ihnen

            In general, I think there’s a great opportunity to bring historic lofts to somewhere other than downtown. As you note, loft living in historic buildings is popular – a few of these in south city, The Hill, heck, Maplewood, U-City, etc. would seem to be a good idea.

          • TIm E

            Alex, agree but you have a lot of that happening outside of downtown already whether it be CWE, Mid-town, to smaller scale projects in Soulard, Lafayette, etc. I think Adam articulated well a plan or vision for this property instead of the all in loft or the bulldoze for what is proposed
            ..
            As far as inner ring suburbs, talk about a lack of vision and leadership is my blunt response. The fact that Clayco is actually building in the City on Delmar if I’m correct speaks to how much opportunity that U City is missing out on in my opinion

          • Riggle

            Ah yes, dont forget mid county, just as relevant as st louis/s

          • TIm E

            Guest, I can only speculate but trends in desirable housing is also highly localized and yes, lofts are nice and unique but because their is a building here that might be suited for lofts are people really looking to move to the Hill for lofts on such a large scope or scale? Also, not sure what is inside and by the looks you would have a lot of the lofts built within the building without any natural lighting.
            I could be right or could be wrong but I’m not trying to restrict, I just don’t think this is necessarily a desired area for a lot of lofts that you could put in this building. I can’t speak for the neighborhood but the developer has certainly expressed their opinion by what is being proposed. Which in itself is poor in my opinion also.. So how about this compromise. Row houses or small multi units buildings using the front exterior of existing building with interior courtyard and parking.

            City museum as an example is also a structure that you could easily argue that it conforms to its neighborhood of turn of century warehouses and shoe factories of same similar size and built. You argue against conformity with a structure that conforms to its neighborhood. I can understand that argument with a number of examples taken from say Soulard, Lafayette Square, so on.

          • Guest

            Lol…lofts, schmofts. What is a loft? It’s a blank space, the renter or buyer does the complete interior his/her self. It used to be (still are?) that there were companies that built ”shell erected” homes. The exterior finished while the interiors were unfinished with only structural walls. The buyer finished the insides…just as what we think of as true lofts today. Most looked like typical suburban ranch style homes. Yet in function by definition, they really were lofts. Really, it doesn’t matter to me if they’re bonafide lofts or apartments. It’s that the built environment that include those features that can’t be produced today should be saved. The loft idea, I would imagine, would be far greater an investment for the buying resident and follows sweetly with what we associate to loft living today.

            The city museum isn’t so much about the structure itself, but rather more about what’s been done with what would have gone in the dumpster. I challenge any creative person to be no more inspired by the City Museum than any of it’s neighbors.

            What I meant by conformity was the idea of limiting creativity. Even though in Soulard, Lafayette Square, etc. we have most the structures with a similar and even identical look. Some of us forget the architectural details are no longer feasible in these structures. So, the whole neighborhood becomes the gem with the varied whimsical color schemes (very evident in Lafayette Square), each unique and distinctive. How boring it would be if all those corbels and cornices were all painted white, as they were in the past.

            Of course, we may not agree, Tim, and that’s okay. I think we’re both concerned that whatever is done is successful and an asset to the neighborhood and city, and that in itself is a good thing.

          • Adam

            “But one needs to follow trends in desirable housing, otherwise, in the long run it’ll end up being a waste of money.”

            Agree to an extent but what’s desirable now may not be desirable in 10 to 20 years. At the moment there is a sizeable, young, somewhat transient millennial population that doesn’t want to be tied to a mortgage and yard work. So, yeah, St. Louis needs to cater to this group to an extent but we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in that basket. We need a mix of housing styles in most neighborhoods. Single family + condos + apartments. IMO the best development for this site would be a rehab of the buildings fronting Daggett and Bischoff into condos, single family housing along Hereford, and several taller apartment buildings—along with a street grid—on the interior. Oh, and ALL structured parking.

    • Chicagoan

      Agreed, I really love the brickwork and arched window grid.

  • Riggle

    Has anybody walked from MoBot to the Hill recently? They have elimnated the side walk on Shaw and built a parking lot across where the sidewalk used to go (just east of occonnells), what a fucking joke.