Detailed Images Released of Proposed Centene Clayton Campus Project

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Centene has submitted detailed plans for its corporate campus project to the City of Clayton. Below are select images detailing the project status to-date. The images provide significantly more detail than renderings shared when the project was unveiled at June 6 meeting.

The vision outlined plans for nearly 1.5M sf of office space, as much as 40K sf of retail, 120 luxury apartments, a corporate auditorium, and lodging. We originally wrote in April about Centene’s property acquisition and the growing size of its project. The total purchase price listed for all parcels comprising the Centene Clayton Campus project is in excess of $46M $50M with the purchase of a city parking lot.

So what caught our eye? Only a few small refinements appear in the renderings. There’s a lot, a whole lot, of parking. There’s a tunnel from Sub-District 3 (auditorium, corporate lodging, etc.) to Sub-District 4 (the Forsyth garage, with four below-grade parking levels). There are a lot of plazas – so very much Clayton. These buildings are big, all dwarfing the existing Centene Plaza building. Also made available is the full project parking study (PDF).

Centene Clayton Campus_numbered

Centene Clayton Campus: Sub-District 1

Centene_Sub 1_rendering Centene_Sub 1_1 Centene_Sub 1_2 Centene_Sub 1_3 Centene_Sub 1_4 Centene_Sub 1_5 Centene_Sub 1_6 Centene_Sub 1_8 Centene_Sub 1_9 Centene_Sub 1_7 Centene_Sub 1_10 Centene_Sub 1_11


Centene Clayton Campus: Sub-District 2

Sub 2_rendering Sub 2_13 Sub 2_11 Sub 2_10 Sub 2_8 Sub 2_7 Sub 2_6 Sub 2_5 Sub 2_4 Sub 2_3 Sub 2_2 Sub 2_1


Centene Clayton Campus: Sub-District 3

Centene 7Centene_Sub 3_8 Centene_Sub 3_7 Centene_Sub 3_6 Centene_Sub 3_5 Centene_Sub 3_4 Centene_Sub 3_3 Centene_Sub 3_2 Centene_Sub 3_1


Centene Clayton Campus: Sub-District 4

Centene_Sub 4_rendering Centene_Sub 4_5 Centene_Sub 4_4 Centene_Sub 4_3 Centene_Sub 4_2 Centene_Sub 4_1


Centene Clayton Campus: Traffic, Skyline, Site Plan

Centene_Overall_2 Centene_Overall_parking access Centene_Overall_plazas Centene_Profile_4 Centene_Profile_3 Centene_Profile_2 Centene_Profile_1 Centene_Traffic_3 Centene_Traffic_1 Centene_Parking overall Centene_Traffic_2

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  • Dan

    Why in the world wouldn’t they save likely near $1 billion and use all that empty class A space that’s empty in the AT&T tower? They could get naming rights, and I think AT&T’s lease is up soon anyway.

    • Conwaynick

      Why don’t you let me decide what house you should live in? In fact, I think it is the perfect location where you can pay 1% more in taxes. You may have worked hard to buy your own house, but it just makes more sense for me to decide where you live.

      • Alex Ihnen

        So you don’t have answer to Dan’s questions? Any plausible ideas? Anything constructive to add?

    • gmichaud

      Probably the way the deal is structured the 147 million of public money is likely profit and whether Centene is developer or not they probably get some kind of fee, lets say 60 million. So i is easily 200 million or more that could come from the project into Centene’s pockets. It is a large financial incentive, even for a wealthy corporation.
      Plus I’m guessing the expense side of it, depreciation etc etc, is easier to manipulate in their favor for tax purposes than a lease would be.
      Then there is the prestige of building your own project.
      Reasons along those lines are probably why they want to build rather than lease. I just don’t think a leasing arrangement would be as favorable financially. Especially since they apparently have access to the capital to build the project.

  • Jonathan Shank

    Just curious, because I don’t know the answer. How many people currently ride metrolink to work (not counting tourists/events)? More specifically is there data to show who rides to Clayton for work? I know people that take buses but I don’t know anyone who rides the train (unless it is to an event downtown). I ask this because I wonder how many people that work in Clayton even live somewhere they could easily take the metrolink to work?

    That asked, I get peoples points about it being nice if the plaza was facing it to better utilized it. I also get why it faces the way it does to face more towards the circle. In most cities a couple block walk to a train is pretty normal. So if they put a pass thru somewhere it shouldn’t be a really big deal. It is not that far to walk from the train to the office. People will know the station is there and if people use an extra 100 yards as an excuse they weren’t going to ride anyways. It does look like they are going to redo the signals at that intersection so that should help get people across to it. Most people probably still will walk further to get on the train than from this station to Centene.

    I do wish they would wrap the garage with retail/apartments and not just do it on one side. I think that is a valid concern.

    It will be interesting to see how the plan changes before they start to dig. Hopefully they take some of the input from people seriously.

    • jhoff1257

      According to APA statistics, over 50,000 people ride MetroLink everyday. According to Metro’s own research the vast majority are using it to get to work and school. People won’t use it unless we embrace it. Centene doesn’t seem to be interested in doing that. A MetroLink expansion (like N/S) into densely populated areas of the city and North and South County would only bolster those numbers.

  • tpekren

    Wish full thinking on my part but wouldn’t development on this scale encourage someone to look at extending loop trolley west and then south into Clayton CBD. A big leap for Clayton and University City mindset but something to look at

    • gmichaud

      I think you are correct, a trolley that ran through downtown Clayton, circled around to get near the other train station and ran down to Skinker past Wash U. to connect with the Loop trolley would likely be a winning concept.
      I would guess that many cities, if not most when faced with an urban situation at the metro station and Forsyth would respond with a pedestrian friendly environment, with a plaza, and or commercial and apartments. Apartments adjacent to light rail are especially valuable in an city that supports transit.
      This area of Clayton, is like St. Louis filled with unappealing or hostile pedestrian environments that create inconsistent pedestrian experiences. Even the Carlton Ritz is basically an autocentric environment.
      A tram/trolley would be great if it accompanied concerns on how to humanize these areas.

  • moorlander

    Help me understand why they are proposing building so many parking spaces when the above table clearly shows a significant parking surplus thoroughly the phases.

    • Alex Ihnen

      The surplus is the number of spaces above the minimum required by the City of Clayton for this type/size of development on these parcels.

  • stlchiefs

    I wish they’d wrap the Forsyth parking structure with retail on the Forsyth side as well. At least 1st floor retail could spice it up a little. This is the first time I’ve realized that Forsyth will just become a long parking garage as I always thought the retail would be oriented towards Forsyth until now. Is the Crescent and Ritz a nice area, yeah, but I don’t understand completely turning your back to Forsyth here. I feel like if Retail is added on Forsyth as part of this development, you’d see additional retail return/increase across the street in the Wash U owned spaces of the old Famous Barr. Maybe even additional development! On the flip side, if you allow a block long parking garage to face Forsyth I think you doom Forsyth for a long time to come. Centene does nice parking garages, but it’s still a parking garage.

    I don’t see how Carondelet Plaza can sustain this additional amount of traffic. Even with the small amount of daily parking in the current garage East of the Ritz you’ll experience backups in the mornings. Does it look nice and intimate in the pictures? Yes. Is it workable without major congestion? I don’t see how.

    Has there been any talk of restructuring Forest Park Parkway to add a Westbound entrance ramp off of Forsyth? I think that would go a long way towards easing potential congestion within the new areas (along Carondolet Plaza).

    I agree that this does a terrible job of utilizing what’s a great resource for the area: Metrolink.

    One of the pictures shows a new light/intersection on Forsyth just to the East of the FPP overpass, along what’s now the service drive to the Ritz. Would this replace the current lighted intersection to the east of there, directly under the FPP overpass next to Bland Ave? It doesn’t mention the existing traffic signals that are right next to their red/yellow box, but they’re there!

    Any confirmation that the setback agreement with the city appeases the residents of the Crescent? I’d have to assume they were brought in on this agreement before Clayton agreed to the sale and stipulations.

    Lots to digest here!

    • rkzrb

      what I see in the fifth drawing of Sub-district 2, is 30.000 feet of retail in the Forsyth parking structure…including along Forsyth.

  • Adam BT

    What a wasted opportunity to create a vibrant downtown. Thousands of parking spaces and a mere 120 apartments in a sea of blue glass broken up by lifeless plazas. There is no acknowledgement of public transportation in the design and the architecture is bland at best. This could be so much better. This area will continue to be dead after 7:00.

    • Alex Ihnen


      • T-Leb

        I can’t remember last time someone said “Let’s meet somewhere in Clayton after work”

    • Eric

      There are many underdeveloped lots nearby. When the demand comes, they can be built as high density residential.

  • Claytonian

    Forsyth Blvd east of Hanley is a traffic nightmare now, especially at rush hour. Hanley Rd is a major traffic jam at rush hour too from Forsyth to 64. Any word on how this expansion in auto users will be managed?

  • jhoff1257

    Absolute waste of an opportunity to activate the Forsyth Station. Who comes up with this crap? They are about to place thousands of people within walking distance of a transit station and there is no plan to even attempt to use it? Also, exactly what streetcar or trolley car are people using to get to Clayton? They’ve got subway or elevated with 177 people which I suppose would account for MetroLink but where do the 25 railroad passengers come from? Reorient Phase 3 towards Forsyth Station and provide your employees with free Metro passes. If you can ask Clayton for $147 million in free money the least you could do is steer some employees towards the $600 million+ investment we made in the Blue Line. I guess my only hope for the Forsyth Station now is those parking lots on the NW corner of Forsyth and Forest Park Pkwy. We need residential!

    • Randy

      They could’ve projected at least a few % increase in transit ridership and cut some parking spaces. But with a crappy site plan that they have proposed, which cuts off the Forsyth station from the rest of the development and fronts the station with a parking garage, it would not be surprising if few employees take the train.

    • Eric

      I’d guess that Metrolink riders are 177+25+4, employees just called it different things when they were surveyed.

      I’m surprised so many more come by bus than Metrolink.

    • Eric

      There is a MetroLink exit on the south side of Forsyth, immediately next to the proposed parking garage. I just hope they put a door on Forsyth so that people coming from Metrolink will be able to enter the complex as soon as they get past the garage. A 250-foot walk like this would not discourage anyone from taking MetroLink. Having to make a thousand-foot detour to the main entrance is so dispiriting that it might though.

    • gmichaud

      It again points to the need to absolutely demand the application of municipal design requirements when large investments in rail are made. It should be a requirement before the rail is run.
      Not only that successful cities use transit as a profitable venture. The area adjacent to this stop should be pedestrian friendly, that’s where one of the damn plazas should be located.
      Successful cities create prosperous zones with transit.
      I really don’t get it, I guess they don’t get around to other cities. Is this degradation of transit purposeful?, is it ignorance, what is it? Or is the failure to design a project that will generate profits from a transit interface because of the poors?
      People don’t want to trudge past faceless parking lots and garages to get somewhere. That is why transit is pretty well left to the poors, or those who absolutely have to use it, a form of discriminatory policy if you will. I am a little surprised the federal government allows this kind of abuse of federal money.
      In successful cities a broad cross section of people use transit. Simply because it is efficient, useful and even attractive to use.
      In project after project in St. Louis there is clear evidence of a city and regional leadership completely disengaged about any concerns for the general health and welfare of the citizens. This one dimensional urban area that excludes pedestrians and transit does not bode well for building a sustainable region.
      Truthfully it is a disgrace how discriminatory policies are the way the urban environment is built.

  • citylover

    These buildings look a lot taller than original plan. 35 stories on phase 3 which is taller than plaza hotel. new tallest in Clayton 🙂

  • Alex P

    The phase two plazas don’t look as wasteful in plan as they do in the original rendering, which is good. And I definitely agree with the choice of lining Carondelet Plaza with apartments rather than Forsyth. Granted they should have made the Phase Two garage one lane instead of two-way and lined both sides with apartments.
    Other than that, with all these towers, garages, and “green space”, Le Corbusier would be proud. Although there’s not nearly enough destruction of historic neighborhoods for his taste.

    • Alex Ihnen

      “Clayton: City of Many Plazas”

      • tztag

        Yep it’s a weird mix of suburban campus design and urban CBD. Staggered towers and little sure-to-be-unused plazas as if there wasn’t a street grid already in place. Much like the green space south of the current tower, just odd in what should be a densely packed street grid. Really not happy that forsyth will be relegated to a dead wall of parking that evidently will run a surplus of spaces for a heck of a long time when that lot is perfect to wrap housing around the garage on both sides. I’ll finish my negativity by saying that I really hope they rework that far east stepped tower… Now on to positivity- love that they are putting down serious roots in Clayton- hopefully will be a big win for local businesses and very glad to see something happen with those empty lots. Will be great to have the Carondolet circle area finally completed!