Mixed Use Infill Proposed for Prominent Vacant Lot In The Grove

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4475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_1_feature

A proposal to build a small mixed use building on the northeast corner of Chouteau and Taylor Avenues in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood will go before the Park Central Development Corporation next week. The prominent corner in the city’s hottest development area has been vacant for more than a decade.

It was late last decade when the lot was to be part of a large mixed use development that disappeared with the Great Recession. The site was later proposed to be part of Aventura Phase III, which ended with Phase II. Then in 2013, a Hilton Home2 hotel was built along Taylor to the north, leaving the corner lot as a “pocket park”. Pushback from the neighborhood resulted in the developer, Above All Development, LLC, agreeing to eventually develop the corner lot.

They are now back with a proposal for an three-story building of approximately 7,000sf. The first floor would have a 1,300 sf office space, residential lobby and covered parking with a curb cut on Taylor. The second and third floors would each be comprised of three one-bed, one-bath apartments. The project description states apartments will have granite countertops, vinyl plank flooring, and stainless steel appliances. The project cost is estimated at $1,300,000 and could break ground as early as November of this year, with occupancy in May 2017.

4475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_34475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_8

The developer is seeking support for a 10-year tax abatement. The 2015 property tax bill for the 5,800 sf lot was $655.32 according to city records. Tax abatement, especially in the city’s central corridor where the majority of development has occurred in recent years, has come under greater scrutiny, with residents and city political leaders calling for more scrutiny and fewer incentives.

Tax abatement across the city has been given as a matter of routine for projects big and small for years, with alderman endorsing incentives benefitting their ward, and aldermanic courtesy and the lack of a city development plan, allowing the practice to go unchecked. The argument was that in a city starved for investment, such an incentive would help stabilize neighborhoods and eventually pay off as properties rolled off 10-year or longer abatements. A recent comprehensive study of economic development incentives, first revealed by this site, has pushed the issue to the fore.

Images and project information were made available on the Park Central Development Corporation website.

4475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_2 4475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_4 4475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_5 4475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_6 4475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_7

Chouteau_Taylor first render{2013 rendering of mixed use corner building at Chouteau and Taylor}

Chouteau_Taylor first site plan{2013 site plan of mixed use corner building at Chouteau and Taylor}

{site plan for Hilton Home2 hotel with pocket park}

{Aventura site plan showing unbuilt Phase III}

{pre-Great Recession proposal for the northeast corner of Chouteau and Taylor}

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  • John

    This proposal is missing TREES. The trees in the far background of the rendering appear to be “for show” and not part of the landscaping, which is insufficient as shown. What about tree grates in the sidewalk? There are none, while the previous rendering shows street-level trees.

    Brick work needs to be increased. I agree that it needs to be all brick.

    I am totally against the long-term tax abatement “handout.” No, not necessary to justify the project. It can happen without it.

    I want to see the development, but it needs to be quality. Bring back a better design.

  • MRNHS

    While this is certainly decent infill, I can’t see how this would justify a 10 year tax abatement. I am not as against tax abatements as some, but I do think the city should demand more from this developer to get this. Here are some examples for this site that would justify the abatement (in my eyes):
    – 5 story building or more AND all brick to better blend into the neighborhood.
    – Like Alex said, apartments without parking (a bike storage space would likely be required)…there’s always street parking which really isn’t that hard to find around there.

  • Alex Ihnen

    For what it’s worth, I wish a building like this would go to 4-5 stories and offer some apartments without parking. Plenty of people don’t have a car, and especially this close to the medical center, it would be popular option.

    Also, the building should really span further east. Taking ~10 parking spaces from the hotel could allow for a larger building and a street wall along Chouteau instead of a surface parking lot.

    • rgbose

      Looks like they have exactly one parking spot per hotel room.

  • rgbose

    There’s already a curb cut for the hotel. Why not share? They’re owned by the same company.

    • Alex Ihnen

      FWIW, it would be a long trip around, relatively, to use the hotel’s. This is the third curb cut exception likely to be made in the neighborhood (the others = Tower Grove at Arco, and Newstead at Chouteau. Another, on the custom Hunt home has been denied.

      • rgbose

        We love driving long circuitous routes to get home! #healthegrid

  • rgbose

    I’d rather have a window in the bathroom than granite counter tops.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Windowless bathrooms are a pet peeve of mine.

      • rgbose

        Somehow our ancestors were wealthy enough to afford them.

      • jerk

        Wooden window frames in shower stalls are a pet peeve of mine.

  • Michael B

    Those apartments should be popular due to their proximity to the medical school campus. I think this looks great as long as they stick with the brick and don’t deviate or cheap out with that fake brick facade that Aventura has. And thank goodness Aventura phase III didn’t happen. Phases I and II are bad enough. Hopefully they’ll be gone and replaced with something better in 10-15 years.

  • Brett

    That 2013 rendering looks so much better. Really don’t get the obsession with the cardboard box dorm-like infill we’re getting these days….

    • rgbose

      Probably didn’t have enough parking.