Cupples X, $42M 120,000sf Development Proposed Next to Busch Stadium

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Reddit35Print this pageEmail this to someone

cupples-x

The title of the resolution before the city’s Planning Commission isn’t exciting: Chapter 99 Blighting Study and Redevelopment Plan for 400-421 S. 9th St./815R-909 Poplar St., but the project will likely lift a lot of eyebrows. Downtown St. Louis is becoming somewhat infamous for its lack of new office construction. Cupples X, a $42 million, four-story, 120,000-square foot, mixed-use building on 2.92 acres adjacent to Busch Stadium would be the first new office building in decades.

The long vacant lots between the renovated Cupples 9 warehouse and the stadium are being considered for blight designation. The site would be purchased for $2.868M according to documents filed with the city. Built would be a mid-rise office building with interior and exterior event space, retail, and 94 parking spaces.

The following comments by Garrick Hamilton, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Koman Group, were added June 1, revealing that the project may be more than first appears in the Planning Commission resolution.

Recognizing that a 25-year tax abatement request is “a significant ask”, Hamilton revealed the building is planned to be the first significant net zero energy building in the Midwest. “We’re trying to do something St. Louis can be proud of, something remarkable.”

The building cost would reportedly be near $500/sf, or approximately $45M for 100K sf of rentable space. Hamilton says it’s an important project for the region, “We have to start marketing downtown to people outside St. Louis, in Boston, in Silicon Valley and present a place that fits urban environment people are looking for.”

cupples-x_koman-group

A net zero energy building is a building that creates as much energy as is consumed. A concept for a net zero energy building was created by HOK for Laclede Avenue within Cortex several years ago, but that plan never progressed past renderings. The U.S. Department of Energy has produced the following common definition for net zero energy building as: “an energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy.”

Garrick also shared with nextSTL that the building as conceived maximizes the project site. In addition to providing outdoor event space, and highlighting existing historic Cupples buildings, going taller than four stories for a net zero energy building would exponentially increase construction costs.

The project is also likely seek state and other incentives in an attempt to reduce the request to the City of St. Louis. Whether the prospect of a Class A, net zero energy office building at a high-profile location in downtown St. Louis is enough to win support from the Board of Aldermen, and lure tenants, is yet to be determined.

image

According to the resolution to be considered, the project is intended to attract technology firms with its proximity to transit and downtown attractions. The lots would be purchased for $2.868M. The resolution states the project could produce 348 new full-time office jobs with an estimated average salary of $90K, and six new full-time retail jobs with an estimated average salary of $20K. The project is seeking the possibility of up to a 25 year tax abatement, with 10 years at 100% and 15 subsequent years at 50%.

The recently public St. Louis City Economic Incentives Report has invited additional scrutiny to tax abatement, tax increment financing (TIF), and other subsidies across the city. If the report zeroed in on one focal point it was that incentives should target specific development goals. Those goals, it said, are largely absent in the city, leaving the impact of incentives largely unmeasured. A now attentive Board of Aldermen has offered skepticism of such incentives and it remains unclear whether this proposal will find support.

While publicly available information on the design is incomplete, the project appears to have a more urban footprint than the site plan sketch displays. Urban design regulations state that new construction should existing building masses and the pattern of setback from the street be continued.

Images show the building matching the curve of the adjacent MetroLink tracks, though with a setback on the north end of the site. This setback provides outdoor event space adjacent to the stadium, and preserves the view to and from the restored Cupples 9 building.

image

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Reddit35Print this pageEmail this to someone
  • Tim E

    Interesting to note that Koman dropped the optimist building project after proposing Cupples X. can certainly see Koman dropping optimist plan with forthcoming CORTEX/Wexfoptrd competition & more space coming online with it owns subsidies in place as well as Koman ending up with a cost point probably being the same for rehab as new class A in Cortex district….
    ..
    What would be interesting to know for Koman’s downtown proposal is it based on what they see as a lack of new Class A for growing downtown tech presence, or getting ahead of BPV or others who won’t commit, and maybe even a tenant they are not talking about. Maybe, just maybe, they see NGIA final decision creating a new demand going forward whether it was in north city or IL as this site within stepping distance of metrolink station and offers some great multi modal connectivity. Maybe all the above.

  • Pingback: Cupples X, $42M Development Proposed Next to Busch Stadium - ConstructForSTL()

  • jkf1220

    No question that the scale of the building is intended to protect views/value of Koman’s Cupples 9 development to the west. But I think the scale is not inappropriate there and the towers are more appropriate in BPV and the lot to the east of the stadium. No office building is going to be built on spec in downtown St. Louis. Financing will require lease commitments to move forward. This may be the largest building that the market will support and is a step in the right direction. If Koman can attract 100,000sf of new business to the core of downtown, that would be a very good thing indeed,

  • Adam

    this doesn’t really seem like the right time or place for the Midwest’s first zero net energy building, and i don’t know why it would need to be in order to attract outside tech companies. sounds like a gimmick, frankly, to secure more tax abatement. i feel like downtown would be better served by a taller, LEED certified building.

    • David

      LEED building? I thought you said no gimmicks?

      • Alex Ihnen

        Lately have felt that just about any discussion about development goes the same way, and I caricaturize… the developer should build taller, and without subsidy and with lower rents!

        • Adam

          Alex, the question I’m raising is this: is it necessary to build something “zero net energy” and ask for a huge abatement when they could build something that is still energy efficient (and probably denser) for much less money?

          • Alex Ihnen

            I think the question returns to what are the city’s development goals? What’s the ROI of having a zero net energy building at this site? Does is help the city market itself? Does it bring new jobs? Offer office tenants something new? If so, what’s that worth? There’s no “right” answer, but those are the questions an economic development policy would address.

          • Adam

            Totally agree. I guess I just don’t see the advantages of zero net energy outweighing the costs at this location and this (early) stage of downtown’s redevelopment.

      • Adam

        Well, it’s a gimmick that doesn’t cost nearly as much as “zero net energy”. My point is just that I think there is a better balance between efficiency and form/function for this project than a squat building that—by the developer’s admission—can’t go taller because of the cost of “zero net energy”.

        • David

          I at one time worked for a large multinational corporation, and they were at the end of remodeling the office in a 1980’s highly inefficient building. You can stand by a window and take in the fresh air for example. they got gold for the remodel, and granted it’s a different leed, the points had NOTHING to do with energy efficiency. After that experience I swore leed off as a gimmick. my take with leed is that it’s a good starting point for buildings and it’s full of stuff we should be doing anyway, but paying money to a group for essentially doing paper work is not worth it in my opinion.

          • Adam

            Fair enough. I was only using LEED (or, rather, my very limited understanding of LEED) as an example of something intermediate between energy-inefficient and zero net energy.

  • Tim E

    Lets not forget their is also a possible development in the works on the east side of Busch Stadium from a Nashville developer I believer. I would rather have that location be a tower with views looking into home plate of Busch stadium as well as matching up with buildings fronting the Arch Grounds.
    .
    Believe a proposal on this site utilizing more of the foot print and having a building height consistent with existing Cupples warehouses is not all that bad. Especially a development that embraces some of its own design instead of trying to match brick colors, Steel and Glass across from Busch Stadium not all that bad.

    • John R

      From the P-D today, it looks like the new Nashville owner for that lot is not rushing to develop it.

      • RJ

        Besides that particular location east of Broadway would be limited to a 300 foot tower because of the Jefferson National Memorial Park restrictions not sure if you could see home plate but that would be a nice addition better than what is proposed by Koman

  • Jonathan Shank

    Trying to figure out this drawing. Is the building only the dark colored place that saw new building. Or is is all the grey/white hatch area? Thanks

    • DB

      The darker spot( with poorly placed “new building”) is the garage within the office building, the gray web

      • Alex Ihnen

        I believe that the gray crosshatch is the entire site and not the building footprint as there is a setback on Spruce.

      • Tim E

        I get the impression that the site drawing was a poor place holder for the original tax abatement application and had little to do with the new renderings that seem to embrace or utilize more of the site. In other words, went from a slender tower to a mid size with what appears to be lower level parking

  • STLEnginerd

    The track side rendering is really nice. The north side rendering isn’t bad but the set back is too much. I don’t mind some setback to accommodate outdoor seating, and the sidewalks but the landscaping pushes it back too far. I have a feeling a west face rendering would be disappointing, which is why I’m guessing it wasn’t shown. (I’m sure nextSTL would have published one if it had been offered) The glimmer you can see from the track side render (between the balconies) suggests two rows of surface parking on that side.

    Design wise i like most of the elements but i wish they would forgo the obligatory red brick face on the north side. Its never going to meld in harmony with the Cupples complex so i would think a dynamic contrasting material would be a lot better than a half-hearted attempt.

    All in all a huge leap forward from the current use and propably enough to justify letting some things slide, but not even close
    to enough for 25 years of abatement IMHO. The precedIts off in a weird corner to so though
    i imagine it to be a nice add i don’t imagine it generating a cascade
    of new development either.

    • I suspect they want a large setback on the north side for game days. You need a thick barrier, or you’ll get sidewalk crowds wandering onto the plaza. Landscaping is better than a fence.

  • RJ

    What was originally planned for that location was a 50-story residential tower by McCormick Baron Salazar, now this? Not impressed. This is a highly visible prominent piece of property, this is underdeveloped go back to the drawing board Koman Group. If you honestly think you deserve a 25 year tax abatement you had
    better develop a lot more than this

    • Adam

      Don’t worry. There’s plenty more room downtown for 50 story towers. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) not every vacant lot downtown is going to become a 50 story tower. Agreed that 25 years is way too much abatement.

      • Chris Stritzel

        Do you think Downtown will ever go high-rise again? Like 30-50 floors? Or even anywhere else in the City limits C.W.E.? And if so, when do you think it will happen, 10, 20 years?

    • John R

      how long ago was that MBS plan? The only large downtown residential tower I’ve heard possible plans for since post-recession was the Drury lot in the Landing at 30 stories, but that was a few years ago.

      • RJ

        It goes back when they first started circulating plans for Chouteau Lake and in those drawings were two residential towers

        • John R

          Thanks. Tough call on when to pull the trigger sometimes — wait longer for better conditions or go ahead with something less ambitious?

          • STLEnginerd

            50 stories is overly ambitious at this stage, I would LIKE to see 10+, but I would think 6-7 stories would be easily doable. The top floors of this proposal will barely even be able to see the arch, if at all.

            A few stories of residential above the proposed office would surely be well within the reach of financing at such a premium location.

            I think 10 years of abatement would be painful, but tolerable if only to stick a finger in Cordish’s eye.

          • Alex Ihnen

            On one hand, it does take a developer of some vision to create great projects, on the other, I wouldn’t say that Koman just doesn’t understand that “6-7 stories would be easily doable.” If it were, they would do it. They really would. If a few stories of residential were “well within reach of financing” they do it. I’m not being flippant, I’m suggesting that these options have been explored, in depth. Also, the gulf between 10yrs of tax abatement being painful and the developer saying it needs 25 (15 partial) is huge. They want to make money, I’m sure, but no one’s making a killing doing new office construction in downtown St. Louis. While it doesn’t make sense to simply take every developer at their word, the idea that some great development is easy or obvious and they’re just missing it, seems misplaced.

          • RJ

            There in lies the problem for the city. Do they accept this proposal because there is no other plan on the table and give away a huge TIF for an underachieving development? I can certainly understand the other comments regarding how come this isn’t more of a mixed-use development with a residential component. I understand there is no market demand for new office space in the downtown market but it appears Koman doesn’t want their view interrupted by investing in a taller building that would include housing. This property has been sitting there for a long time why not let it sit some more until a better development is presented that merits a TIF.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I’m not certain, but there were many, many placeholders in that plan and the images that went with it. I’d call it much less a plan, than a vision.
      _

  • rgbose

    Are they still seeking a 25 year tax abatement?

    • John R

      yeah, it sounded like there was quite a bit of resistance at the BoA committee hearing for that long of abatement.

  • Presbyterian

    This project could do a lot to activate what until now has been a surface parking lot. Downtown is ready for new construction. I hope the city lends its full support.

  • Edo Rosenblith
    • T-Leb

      LOL

    • Adam

      Yeah I wondered that too. Odd choice for a rendering. And possibly an infringement of some sort?

      • Edo Rosenblith

        Yeah I very much doubt that the developer owns that sculpture. Not to mention that the sculpture would be ruined if you was put outside. I wonder what intern thought that was a good idea.

        • Adam

          oh, I just meant including an image of the sculpture in the rendering might be some sort of infringement. no doubt a cloth sculpture wouldn’t fare well out in the elements. and I’m certain neither Nick nor Koman has any intention of actually putting it there.