Centene Design Refined, Wellbridge Athletic Club Added to Project

Centene_new 2

As planning for the massive Centene project in downtown Clayton continues, it’s beginning to appear that little will change from what was presented in early June. By far the most significant change revealed in documents filed with the City of Clayton is the inclusion of the Wellbridge Athletic Club. Its site along Forsyth Avenue had been the last parcel along that stretch not included in the redevelopment plan.

The Wellbridge property is now shown as part of “Subdistrict 1”, which previously had included only parcels fronting Hanley Road. nextSTL confirmed that Centene has signed an LOI (letter of intent) to acquire the property for an undisclosed price. The fitness club is now planned to occupy up to 40,000 sf in a new Centene building.

More than $50M has been spent on property acquisition for what would be 1.5M sf of office space, as much as 40K sf of retail, 120 luxury apartments, a corporate auditorium, and lodging. It is estimated the total development would exceed $750M. Up to $147M in state and local development incentives are being sought.

While concerns have been voiced about imposing towers, economic incentives, and traffic impacts, the project is becoming more detailed. New images reveal refinements in design across the four phases. The project is certain to have a significant impact on Clayton. What is less certain is if it can have an impact greater than its components, if design can create a better downtown Clayton beyond simply added square feet of offices and corporate amenities. We hope to take a deeper dive on the design in a future post.

The first phase would be a 28-story tower at Hanley Road and Forsyth Boulevard. A skybridge designed as an artistic element would cross Hanley and connect with the existing Centene building. The tower is set back from Forysth and Carondelet Plaza and would include 700 parking spaces.

Centene_new 1Centene_new 1a

Tract two would span an expanse of Forsyth and be comprised of ground floor retail, 120 apartments facing Carondelet Plaza adjacent to the Crescent condominiums, and as many as 2,000 parking spaces in a seven-story structure. The main entrance to the garage would be opposite existing Lee Avenue. The tower on Hanley, and the Forsyth garage could break ground as early as this fall and be completed in 2019.

Centene Subdistrict 2

The image at top is of the third phase tower and auditorium. The tallest of the proposed buildings at 34 stories, it could be completed by 2020. The image below is from Carondelet looking east across Hanley at the first tower planned (phase one), a 28-story tower with a skybridge connected to Centene I.

A third tract lies east of Carondelet Plaza and the Ritz Carlton. The site was once planned as the Trianon Condominiums. The Centene plan calls for a prominent corporate auditorium that could host additional events, and 400K sf of office space topped by five stories and 120 units of corporate lodging. This phase was described as “imminent” and planned for a 2020 completion.

Centene_new 2a

Plans for the fourth tract at 7711 Carondelet had not been previously reported. There, a 500K sf office building with complimentary architectural design to the existing Centene tower would be built, and include ground level retail and approximately 2,000 parking spaces.

Centene Subdistrict 4


From Detailed Images Released of Proposed Centene Clayton Campus Project on nextSTL:


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

…continue reading Detailed Images Released of Proposed Centene Clayton Campus Project.


[read two years of nextSTL Centene coverage here]

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  • Tim E

    It appears that the one big disappointment in the plan is the latest renderings continue to ignore Forsyth metrolink station. No doubt Bob Clark/Centene sees dollars signs in the apartment block and the two proposed residential towers so why encourage or suggest a hint of something else out there..

    A lot of lip service from the guy who moved to Chicago to be in the big city but pushes design that tries its best to ignore the city in St. Louis. This could be a big missed opportunity to give employees an inviting option at a second means via metrolink in out of the business district that would be a plus for Clayton (less cars in and out) as well as Inner ring cities/central corridor/and the city itself. Too bad the county and state when doling out incentives won’t demand something better for the region of the whole.

    • Brian Lewis

      I am not entirely certain that Clayton wanted to have Metrolink stations at all, so I’m not surprised that a big corporate citizen of Clayton would ignore the Metrolink too.

      • brickhugger

        At first they did not; after the red line was built, it became apparent that they would need transit (as more was built in downtown clayton), to the point that when the funding was being finalized, and it appeared that there might not be enough, my recollection is that Clayton offered to put some money in to help cover the gap. I don’t believe it turned out to be necessary, but the point is how far their opinion of metrolink changed.

  • Alex Ihnen

    Looking at documents filed with Clayton, it appears that the Wellbridge Athletic Club is now part of the redevelopment plan. Info added to story.

    • Stlchiefs

      From the PD article it sounds like Wellbridge and first floor retail will be in the parking structure and front Forsyth. Can you confirm?

      • Alex Ihnen

        Saw that, but waiting to hear more. Confusing that Wellbridge is shown as part of Subdistrict 1, but may instead be built as part of Subdistrict 2. My guess is planning went ahead w/o Wellbridge and changes are being made now to incorporate the changes. It’s likely not settled.

  • John

    Final construction work seldom lives up to the artistic renderings, but the renderings still excite people every time. Great to see the economic development, but I hope Clayton is thoughtful about the traffic impact. Are the politicos working and aligning with MODOT and other officials on strategic planning for this project, or is there a huge disconnect? The I-170 Innerbelt needs help in a serious way. The exit ramps are ancient at Ladue Road and Forest Park Parkway, not to mention other clogged arteries in the Clayton vicinity.

    • Stlchiefs

      Major consideration should be given to putting a Westbound entrance ramp on FPP at Forsyth. The space is there with the service drive. It’s crazy if they think the roundabout access by the Ritz is sufficient post development for this area.

  • Gabe

    I’m drooling over those renderings though…Crazy how well they help sell this project.

  • Justin

    This came in my mail today. Looks like the NIMBYs are hard at work.

    • Adam

      Notice how many times they say “our”. Clearly they believe that they own Clayton. I hope they end up very very disappointed. I especially love “UP TO 100,000 loads of dirt excavated and trucked through our community”! They forgot “Up to SEVEN large, scary numbers printed on our flyer”! LOL…

    • Alex Ihnen

      Do we REALLY want to build things on vacant lots in downtown Clayton?

    • Chicagoan

      Wonderful use of caps lock and fear mongerin’.

    • Guest

      Ah…yes…!! Let’s keep building up downtown Clayton up with more and bigger corporate skyscrapers! Let’s show Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas….etc. etc. etc. how it’s done right! I can’t wait until highway 40 needs to be widened to ten lanes in each direction…and 170, too…and complete it south to accommodate the traffic that’s sure to result with the vital development that’s sure to follow. And maybe even reroute all the interstates to converge there since it will be the corporate center.
      And, who cares about what those stupid NIMBYs who live in their million dollar mansions want? Let ’em move and make way for real progress….or we’ll blight and make them worthless and tear them down, too, to make more room for more corporate development and bigger expressways. That ought to fix ’em. Anyone who doesn’t understand the importance and common sense of moving the corporate center of a city to one it’s suburbs is poorly misinformed and should step out of the way or shut their stupid mouths.
      Maybe we could even move the arch to Clayton. Wow…how cool would that be? Face it, it’s not very impressive where it stands now, anyway.

      • Adam

        Yeah, totally makes no sense to build tall buildings (and add a few thousand jobs) in one of the regions two job centers. And God forbid we emulate growing, vibrant cities like the ones you mentioned. Somehow I think you and the rest of Clayton’s residents will survive Centene’s expansion (moreover, you’re life will hardly be changed), despite your frenetic wailing and arm flailing.

      • JB

        The most amusing part of that comment is comparing St. Louis to Seattle, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas like it’s a bad thing. Those are growing cities for a reason. The main reason? People apparently like living there.

      • JoAnne

        Are people really opposed to progress and economic growth? I just don’t understand why a resident of Clayton would be opposed to having a broader tax base. The same people complaining about progress would be all up in arms if every business left the Clayton business district. You can never win with these people so you just need to let them vent and then ignore their fringe opinions.

    • FrenchTwins

      This is great. I’m reading this flyer, and everything about it reads like positive things to me. St. Louisians make an art out of being nostalgic for the booming early 1900s that built all of the grand buildings we relish, however, since then it’s like we’ve come to accept and even defend this idea that we can never be that successful of a city nor should we even think of trying. Those boom years were full of people being displaced or annoyed by other uses, lots of construction noise, dirt (YES DIRT), and most of all, change. Cities are not and should not be constants. This project is good. Yeah its not exactly what I would build if I had a billion dollars to throw around, but at least someone is deciding to throw that kind of money in this region at all and do something bold.

    • Frank

      *Bringing jobs to the St. Louis area
      *Expanding the tax base
      *Creating the need for new businesses
      *Increasing the demand for single-family homes in our area

      Contact our Mayor and Aldermen – Tell them “NO” to a bad idea!

    • Justin

      More NIMBY whining in the mail today about this project. Plenty of fear mongering to go around and gratuitous use of bold, underline, and capslock.

      Also by “HUGE buildings and parking structures across from single family homes” it seems they are referring to the homes on the other side of Forest Park Parkway. Seems like a big stretch to me.

  • Jim Arsenault

    From a meeting a couple weeks ago with Clayton residents, they said they are currently re-working the phase 2 garage to remove two levels from the top and extend retail all along the ground floor.

    • Stlchiefs

      Retail along Forsyth? That would be a big improvement IMO.

    • franks

      Thank god. You want to promote foot traffic. Not eliminate it.