City Seeks Developer for Wedge Lot at Manchester-Chouteau in The Grove

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4101 Manchester Avenue_The Grove

The City’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) has posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a prominent city-owned lot in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood (The Grove). The full RFP is below, but the city is seeking a 3-12 story building with zero lot line setbacks.

The “Urban Design and Redevelopment Requirements” are promising and the community should be able to require good design given the popularity of The Grove. Any proposal should be “a mixed-use, main street character that enhances and densifies the walkable commercial corridor” and it’s clearly stated that proposals “should treat all three adjacent public rights-of-way, including Manchester, Sarah, and Chouteau with equal importance and equivalent sensitivity”. Regardless of the design, if held to the above standards, the form will be urban.

What else are they looking for? A least 15,000sf of retail space, access to a total of at least 77 parking spaces (to replace the existing 37 and 40 for anticipated retail), either on-site, or nearby, and any parking and loading access from Chouteau only. Though no formal architectural review process exists in the neighborhood, the RFP states that an “emphasis will be placed on proposals that seek to foster…eclectic architecture design”. The RFP is open until September 2. The city’s minimum sale price for the lot is set at $120,000.

4101 Manchester_The Grove

At the end of 2014, Green Street envisioned the lot as part of the Chouteau’s Grove development. That plan totaled 271 apartment units and 20,000sf of retail space on three lots. The largest, bounded by Sarah, Chouteau, and Papin Street, is still planned to move forward. The wedge lot, and the northwest corner of Chouteau and Sarah, a now closed gas station, were dropped from the plan last year.

From the 2014 Chouteau’s Grove plan: the current 37-space parking lot (shown in orange) would have been replaced with a three-story mixed use building. Retail space was planned to occupy 11,305sf on the first level, with six two-bedroom and 22 one-bedroom apartments above. No on-site parking was planned as parking would have been accommodated across Chouteau in a 150-space garage.

Chouteau's Grove by Green Street - St. Louis, MO

Saint Louis City LCRA_RFP – 4101 Manchester by nextSTL.com on Scribd

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  • baopuANDu

    Is it odd to publicly ask for proposals but then only allow two weeks for the designs to come in? A cynical person might think they already had their “winning” design chosen.

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  • Chicagoan

    The shape of this plot of land is reminiscent of the plots fronting Grand Circus Park in Detroit.

    I’d love to see something go up here with the shape of the David Whitney Building.

  • STLrainbow

    Anyone have a historical photo of what used to be there?

  • For ideas, developers would be wise to look at any (well, many) of Chicago’s diagonal street intersections, Lincoln Avenue in particular.

    Just within a few blocks down Lincoln, there are some really interesting designs/uses at those 5- or 6-corner intersections, from single story pizzerias (Lincoln/Montrose), a corner Starbucks beneath midrise apartments (Lincoln/Irving), and what i lovingly call Flatiron Jr. (Lincoln/School). There’s also an interesting-iif-so-so pass at traffic-calming & tactical urbanism going on at Lincoln/Wellington where false bump-outs were installed/painted to improve the pedestrian experience. Worth a walk around (or Google Streetview tour)!

    • markgroth

      Thanks for the tip, I like those traffic calming examples at Lincoln and Wellington.

      • You’re welcome! Since moving up here and working with various neighborhoods and City departments, I’ve been incredibly impressed with how eager City government itself is to support — or at the very least allow — these and other experimental projects. This, the parklet-for-parking program, Uptown’s Shared Street ( http://bit.ly/28U8whT ) concept, the 606, bike share…all cool, progressive ideas to support and enhance the pedestrian experience and alt-transport options. Every time I see them in action, I immediately want to bolt back down to STL and try them out there!

        Not sure of the sequencing, but I know the previous commissioner of Chicago’s Dept of Transit was pushing hard for a lot of these projects. Mayor Emmanuel has also made it a goal of his to significantly increase pedestrian/bike opportunities and experiences through a Complete Streets model. And not as an afterthought either — it’s a primary consideration in all dealings, developments and governance.

    • Chicagoan

      Regarding Lincoln and Wellington, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has announced that they plan to eliminate all slip lanes in the city. However, they don’t want to tear up good concrete to do this, so they’ll be eliminated when the streets are re-paved or re-worked down the line. So, in the meantime, these creative projects have been happening.

      There have also been many uses of tactical urbanism, like people blocking slip lanes with planters.

      It’s cool to know people are responding in such a way.

  • rgbose

    Here’s hoping someone is planning to improve the streetscape and ped infrastructure on Sarah up to the new Metrolink station.

  • STLExplorer

    I think that the parking requirements will make this very difficult. It would basically require a level of parking underground and a level at the 2nd (and maybe 3rd) floors. Could be justifiable with a 12 story building, but that means a need for even more resident or worker parking. Let the developer determine what amount of parking is necessary. Frankly, since most of the adjacent businesses are bars they should only need parking for designated drivers…

    • Alex Ihnen

      The RFP does state that the parking requirement can be met either on site or off site. But yes, it would be good to see the parking requirement lessened.

  • Tim E

    Is the city getting ahead of itself and maybe should wait until Green Streets Grove project ground is broken? I think timing & perception matters, don’t want to put it out there too early if you get luke warm response or poor proposals

    Or is the demand at the moment enough that the city sees a good opportunity to get another developer into the mix? Seems most of the big parcels are already committed such as Green Streets project, or what Wash U real estate arm has tied up and Drury family owns on the west end of Grove.

  • Adam

    how many Walgreens do we need? maybe we could be a little more creative… i could live with a Walgreens on the first floor of a 6-12 story mixed use building, but another shitty-looking stand-alone Walgreens with a sea of parking that’ll just abandon this site to move across the street in a few years? nope. time to start learning from over 50 years of horrible anti-urban development, people.

    • Sam

      I agree. My initial comment was to be taken as sarcasm.

      • Adam

        thank goodness. 🙂

  • Michael B

    I agree that the parking garage is needed. My only hope is that they make it aesthetically pleasing and safe. That part of that block of Chouteau has a lot of residential houses, and a parking garage off the strip of Manchester will be a huge eyesore unless done well.

    I also wonder about the cost of development at that site, as it would involve demolishing the gas station and removing the underground gas tanks, which I’ve heard is expensive.

    • PD

      A parking lot like the gargoyle in CWE would be great on that corner. Even if it was 4 stories and cost $4 a car.

  • Douglas

    kjohnson, oh yea – trying to park in the grove is a nightmare. Very few lots, limited street parking. Forces customers to park on residential side streets – irritating residents and contributing the rash of cars being broken into.

    • I wouldn’t say parking anywhere in St. Louis is a nightmare. Parking in Boston is a nightmare, you’re lucky to get within a mile of your destination, and it costs $40 to park for the day. Parking in St. Louis is occasionally inconvenient- you sometimes walk a couple blocks, and it’s usually free.

  • kjohnson04

    I agree with Sam. It would be a great spot for a Walgreens. Do we need the parking though? Parking minimums eat up usable land.

    • In general, we’re going to need a lot of parking until we get public transit that’s more than a stop-gap for the very poor. It goes invest in public transit, THEN reduce parking.

      In this particular case, I’m not sure. I know the treasurer’s office did a parking survey last year, somebody should check and see if the Grove was over or under what was considered necessary. I know much of south city had too much parking and could stand to have it reduced, but I don’t know specifically about the Grove. I know lack of parking has never been a problem for me over there, but I’m only there occasionally and at night.

      • rgbose

        How do you justify transit spending when the ease and low cost of driving and parking are addressed first and always?

      • James

        Well, good thing they’re investing in transit near this location, the future Boyle/Cortex station will only be 1/2 mile away.

      • Riggle

        You don’t have to be poor to ride the bus, they allow everyone

    • Sam

      Sorry, I was being facetious. I’m sure Walgreens/CVS would be interested though.

  • Sam

    Looks like the perfect spot for a Walgreens…

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