Planning Underway for Residential Tower at Kingshighway and West Pine

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Antheus on Kingshighway_logo

Yesterday was something of a milestone for the city’s Central West End. Whole Foods opened a 30,000sf grocery in The Orion building at West Pine Boulevard and Euclid Avenue. With this development, and others, the neighborhood continues to lead the way for the best car-optional living in the metro area.

Still, the Central West End is just getting started. nextSTL has learned of planning underway to build a high-rise residential building at West Pine and Kingshighway. The 0.72-acre surface parking lot, owned by the Silliman Group and Antheus Capital was acquired along with the purchase of the 16-story Parc Frontenac across West Pine and is currently used for resident parking.

West Pine at Kingshighway

Sources tell nextSTL that ambitions for the residential tower reach 40 stories, but may be scaled back due to construction cost estimates. Sources further shared that the owner has engaged Studio Gang architects out of Chicago for design work.

Studio Gang is known for high design, with recent residential projects featuring an undulating exteriors that maximize air and light exposure and offer a landmark facades. In Chicago, the firm’s recent projects include City Hyde Park and Aqua Tower.

Reached for comment, Peter Cassel, Director of Community Development with the Silliman Group and Mac Properties told nextSTL that they do not comment on buildings under contract, nor potential developments, but did note that the firm has experience developing surface parking lots.

According to a company profile, Antheus Capital and its two subsidiaries, Silliman and Mac, have acquired and redeveloped more than 130 buildings and 6,000 total living units of multi-family and mixed use properties in Chicago, Kansas City, and St. Louis. The company redevelops to hold and manages its own properties.

In St. Louis, the group owns the Parc Frontenac at 40 N. Kingshighway, the nearby 15-story Montclair on the Park at 18 S. Kingshighway, The Dorchester at 665 S. Skinker at the other end of Forest Park, and Vandy House at Lindell Boulevard and Vandeventer Avenue.

Cassel told nextSTL that under new ownership, the St. Louis properties have seen significant investment. “There’s a lot of new product coming to St. Louis,” Cassel noted. “A couple years ago, it was possible to have an OK apartment in a great location, but now you have to have a great apartment and a great location.”

Montclair on the Park has seen more than $4.5M in permits issued for remaking living units, interior shared spaces and amenities. Cassel stated the Montclair had significant vacancy when acquired, which has allowed renovations to proceed floor by floor without emptying occupied units. Parc Frontenac has seen about $850K in permit activity for first floor renovations.

Montclair on the Park{Montclair on the Park (1951)}

Parc Frontenac{Parc Frontenac (1956)}

Addressing the significant investment being made in the two buildings facing Forest Park across Kingshighway, Cassel stated, “They’re fantastic locations, the opportunity to live in the Central West End and right on Forest Park suggests it should be a great apartment.”

Silliman Group and Antheus Capital have been active on the other side of Missouri in Kansas City, especially along Armour Boulevard. According to a 2014 Kansas City Business Journal item, the group invested $150M in multi-family residential development along that corridor from 2007-2014. The total investment in Kansas City as of 2014 had reached two dozen buildings and more than 1,500 apartments.

If construction proceeds with a Studio Gang design, it will mark another notable investment in big-name architecture in St. Louis. At Kingshighway and Lindell, immediately north of the West Pine site, Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF) will work with Forum Studio to envision a significant infill project (no new news there). At Washington University in St. Louis, KieranTimberlake was chosen to design a new building for the Sam Fox School. Plans viewed by nextSTL show what will be a thoroughly contemporary building.

Studio Gang’s Aqua Tower and City Hyde Park:

Aqua Tower Chicago_Studio GangCity Hyde Park_Studio GangCity Hyde Park_Studio Gang 2

Studio Gang has won numerous awards, including being named the 2016 Firm of the Year at the Architizer A+ Awards. Founding principal Jeanne Gang was recognized as Architect of the Year by Architectural Review at its 2016 Women in Architecture awards. Jeanne Gang has also engaged in the conversation about the impact of design in “Post-Ferguson America”. You can click here to view her concept for “Polis Station,” which explores how “elements of a police station are broken apart and integrated into their community”.

After the completion of a couple projects in St. Louis City’s booming central corridor that can only be characterized as architectural malpractice, recent projects have offered better design. New construction at 4101 Laclede and the Koman Group project at West Pine at Euclid are more contemporary. Both were designed by Trivers Associates of St. Louis. Nearby institutional construction at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy has presented an investment in design as well.

With several proposals rumored for high-rise construction in the Central West End, we recently chronicled the tall residential buildings of the neighborhood. Half a dozen buildings of more than 10 stories were built in the 1950s and 60s. Yet since 1983, a span of 33 years, just two were added as the Park East Tower (2005) and 4545 Lindell (2007) were completed.

Central West End residential high-rise timeline

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  • David Hoffman

    Any more news about this?

  • citylover

    Any news on west pine and kingshighway lot?

  • Chris Stritzel

    And will renderings be released by the end of summer? Wouldn’t you think that would happen? And could there be a possible ground breaking in Spring 2017? That’s is if this is proposed to the city in some way.

    • Alex Ihnen

      No idea, but let’s hope so.

  • Chris Stritzel

    If this building is built at 40 floors, that would be about 450-475 feet tall. If this is built (I am sure it will be if it is iconic enough and funding is secured) A building war between the city and county for the best high-rise will begin and that means more tall buildings for the city. Plus having a 40 floor building along Kingshighway looking into the park and around the city will give residents a unique perspective view of the City.

  • RJ

    Does anyone have a mailing address for Peter Cassel?

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  • Thomas

    Studio Gang is one of the hotttest architecture studios in the country if not beyond right now. The fact that a firm that is growing as rapidly as they are have decided to start working in stl is big. The mental center of gravity of big architecture projects in stl for me has just shifted south a half block from the KPF project at kingshighway and lindell. This city could finally be getting closer to that awesome scenario of architecture as a substantial competitive delineation in the market.

  • Adam

    I’m not a huge fan of Aqua, actually, but I would LOVE to see something like the last image above with the angular bays and balconies.

    • JCougar

      I like Aqua. It’s a really unique and striking look without looking like it’s overdone or striving too hard for attention.

  • rgbose

    Will there be a webcan facing south for Chase residents?

    • Alex Ihnen

      It will be a 24hr looped recording showing their former view of a parking lot.

  • SnakePlissken

    Lots of development porn, yum, coming out today… I better close the door to my office.

    Sorry, it’s Friday and central corridor news gets me going.

  • Presbyterian

    Very excited. I hope they can make it work with Studio Gang.

  • Chicagoan

    I’m a bit of a fanboy when it comes to Studio Gang, so I thought I’d add on a few notes:

    -Studio Gang is the designer of Vista Tower, an approved 93-story, 1,186-foot tower that should have construction commence soon (http://www.vistatowerchicago.com/).

    -Gang was also chosen to design the United States Embassy in Brasilia, where she was picked over some serious heavy hitters (Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Rafael Vinoly Architects).

    -She’s also designed some student dorms for the University of Chicago and has a tower proposed for San Francisco near Rincon Park.

    -Finally, Chicago loves her, though some people have called Aqua Tower “architectural pornography”, lol.

  • Eric Thoelke

    Jeanne Gang in the CWE. Be still my beating heart.

  • Guest

    This is indeed exciting news. That a design team such as Studio Gang has been chosen by the owner of that parcel is very encouraging. One thing puzzles me, though…”ambitions for the residential tower reach 40 stories, but may be scaled back due to construction cost estimates”…? That doesn’t even make sense to me for a parcel that faces one of the worlds most wonderful urban parks, in St. Louis’ most urban and desirable neighborhood. To my thinking such a statement only makes sense because of insufficient financial backing, or a fear that the project may not be very successful in that it would lack enough potential residents to make it profitable.

    That being said, I remember reading about Aqua when it was proposed. I loved it, still do. However, City Hyde Park is new to me, and it’s design is wonderfully pleasing although not quite as cutting edge as Aqua, IMO. A very fine firm, and St. Louis is fortunate that they’ve been chosen. I’m hopeful for something that truly fits this upscale urban neighborhood with the many amenities at it’s very doorstep. .

    • Alex Ihnen

      The issue is expected rents in St. Louis. Even a great building at a great location has a maximum rent. If that doesn’t pay for 40 stories and a remarkable design, then it doesn’t work.

      • RJ

        That is always the case and too many developers shy away from major developments such as 50 or 60-story buildings in St. Louis because they don’t believe they can get $2,500 to $3,500 monthly rents. I think there is a solution in having several variable unit sizes and rent parameters and what about making some of the units condominiums as more people may prefer to own in that area of the city. The question and gamble for developers is trying to determine how many of these units and high rise buildings can the market support. Eventually it will take someone to take that gamble and if successful (they may be surprised) then you will see more high-rise development.

        • Don

          Not only would the developer have to take ‘the gamble’ but so would their lenders.

          Cost per square foot increases the taller the building, and as Alex correctly notes, there is a maximum rent. The developer’s cost in building even a 20 story building is higher than the cost incurred by the owners of the Orion, meaning they charge even more for rent than the Orion (and the new Opus development at Euclid/Lindell) or they take less return on their investment.

          I live in the CWE. I’m very excited for these coming new projects and share the ‘guest’ commenter’s excitement for the design team. Like pretty much everyone who visits this site, I crave an innovative design in our fair city. If there is a condo option, I may very well be a buyer.

      • Wayne Burkett

        The Orion seems to think they can command high rents just down the street

        • John R

          I heard that is 85% leased up already. But I think a 40 story would have to command even higher $/sq. ft. I think it can be done but wish these went up before Clayton got started up again.

          • Guest

            Clayton has “The Plaza” which is 30 stories. Is there really that much of a difference “cost wise” between 30 and 40 stories? As I mentioned, there is no doubt that Forest Park is one of the finest urban parks in the world. Clayton is no match for CWE with that fact alone, as well as CWE being a truly urban and eclectic neighborhood. Plus, aesthetically, “The Plaza” is at the opposite end of developments such as I’ve seen by Studio Gang and other cutting edge design groups IMO. Is the developer suffering from “construction costs”? Yet more large scale condos/apartments are planned there. I don’t get it. Taking into account just the facts, that Clayton would have more need for larger/taller condos/apartment buildings than in the city makes no sense to me, and actually seems contrived.
            If I were to choose any option of urban living living in the area, including high rise, CWE would be my choice, hands down (not dissing anyone who’d choose elsewhere).
            I’m sure “it can be done”, too, John R…(I think some are forgetting Cortex,BJC and WashU developments will need and are sure to attract many professionals who’ll want to live close by). Yet it seems we’re being told it can’t or shouldn’t. Is the person/group who’s calling for a scaling down and cost estimates willing to reveal their identity and factual information to back up their claim?

            There should be little or no rivalry between the city and Clayton. But certainly there seems to be. That’s unfortunate for ALL of us.

          • Alex Ihnen

            There are a lot of assumptions here that aren’t quite correct, or rather miss the point. Absolutely no one’s “calling for scaling down” or anything of the sort. Condos sell for a higher price in Clayton compared the Central West End? Why? There are reasons, including schools, crime, proximity to jobs, etc., but there’s no all-encompassing reason why. The fact is, that’s what the market tells us. If a developer/investor believes that condos can be sold, or apartments rented at a rate that produces a profit in a 100 story tower in the CWE, they would build it.

          • John R

            I’d also add downtown, and particularly Ballpark Village, as a district that has potential to support some level of luxury high-rise living in the Central Corridor. (Drury was alluding to a 30 story tower in the Landing at one point but I don’t know if they’re still looking at that.) If we get enough good jobs growth I think you could see all three areas active with such developments.

            In terms of overall health of the region, I do believe that it is better for the bulk of that activity to happen in the City; I’m not sure if that’s a rivalry or not.

  • Chaifetz10

    Get ready for NIMBYs to go crazy…

    • Alex Ihnen

      Wouldn’t be surprised, but perhaps there won’t be much pushback here. With the site next to apartments and other vacant lots, there aren’t the single-family homeowners nearby who would typically lead the opposition. Owners in the Park Plaza and St. Regis will be interested in what goes up.

      • HawkSTL

        Maybe some opposition from the St. Regis, but not as likely given that this lot is southwest and given that some remember that there was an old hotel there. The lot north at Lindell and Kingshighway would have more opposition because of the proximity to the St. Regis, even though it is the superior corner. But that is still under lock and key with Koplar.

      • RJ

        The CWE Historic District established design and building height codes for that area limiting buildings to 24-stories west of Newstead. The code has no height restriction for buildings facing Forest Park on the east side of Kingshighway between Lindell and Forest Park Avenue, so the Nimby’s can scream and holler but there is nothing to limit the heights of buildings in this area. As for architectural design that is purely a subjective opinion.

    • chadlybrown

      Let’s hope not.

  • HawkSTL

    The block on Kingshighway between Lindell and West Pine has been ripe for development for 20 yrs. It may be the best development opportunity in the entire City. Because they are parking lots, the development costs should be less. But, for one reason or another, nothing gets done. Let’s hope that this now changes. It is time.

  • Don

    Exciting news. I’m looking forward to the final designs and ground breaking.