BMO Harris Again Presents Revised Plans for Southwest Bank

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook100Share on Reddit7Share on LinkedIn0Print this pageEmail this to someone

bmo-bank_10-16_2

BMO Harris Bank continues to make changes to its plans to invest in the Southwest Bank site at Southwest and Kingshighway at the high-profile entrance to The Hill neighborhood. It was in July that plans were first unveiled for the site. Since then, several significant revisions have been made as the result of community input.

The latest revision maintains the existing facade from the corner bank building to the one-story non-contributing building at the south end. The two-story facade would be retained for the Walgreen’s store, and a small addition built to the south. A right-in, right-out curb cut would replace the one-story section further south. The retail/restaurant building in the parking lot has been moved north to front Southwest Avenue.

sw-bankbmo-bank_10-16_1bmo-bank_10-16_3BMO Harris_SW Bank 2

It may be too early to know if the changes will be enough to win approval, but the progress is clear. Every developer and property owner pays lip service to listening to the community. In this case, the process, neighborhood resistance to demolition, Cultural Resources Office and Preservation Board protection of the historic built environment, and willingness of BMO Harris to make changes.

And the changes have been significant. The first plans made public proposed demolition of all but the two corner buildings on the site. This was an improvement from previous plans which did not retain the corner building at Botanical Avenue. That building is set to be donated to the Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation. Clearly the building has value, but it doesn’t fit with the current owner’s plans. Getting the building into the rights hands is a big win.

Early plans also showed a right-in, right-out curb cut near the bank building, and a full entrance-exit further south. The latest update shows a right-in, right-out south of the Walgreen’s.  The retained one-story facade would hide parking. It has yet to be determined if the brick will remain white, or be stripped to natural brick. Likewise, the blue awnings may stay or go, depending on neighborhood preference.

The second version of plans released showed a right-in driveway near the bank, and a right-out driveway south of the Walgreen’s. A minimal replica of the existing facade would connect the buildings while allowing for the driveways to be introduced.


Existing Southwest Bank / BMO Harris building:

BMO Harris_SW BankBMO Harris_SW Bank 5BMO Harris_SW Bank 4

Our previous reporting:

Design Evolution Continues With BMO Harris Plan for Southwest Bank – August 5, 2016

Preservation Planned for SW Bank Corner Buildings, Demo for Walgreens In Between – July 18, 2006

Images from August revision:

BMO_Southwest Bank_1BMO_Southwest Bank_2

Site plan from July:

Walgreens at BMO Harris_Southwest Bank_site plan

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook100Share on Reddit7Share on LinkedIn0Print this pageEmail this to someone
  • Pingback: Petplay()

  • Pingback: lucktasticascam()

  • Pingback: Peruvian alpaca clothing the best alpaca shop of peruvian clothing()

  • Dahmen Piotraschke

    Walgreen’s sadly is an anchor with the cash to move its location and there is a space at the south end cap…and another space for an outdoor/indoor cafe’ and eatery. There has to be a damn parking lot…but where the hell is CVS ?… the monopoly of Walgreens needs to be reeled in. But, the hidden Walgreens behind BP. is a quick and a easy move…and that Walgreens can become a new space for the PEDs and bus drivers walking around the corner and up to the Hill.

    • Adam

      The old Walgreens *could* become that but so *could have* the historic space that they’re demolishing for new construction. Nobody is going to re-use the old Walgreens building. And i think it’s pretty unlikely at this intersection that some entrepreneur is going to go “Thank goodness Walgreens abandoned that store behind the gas station at that pedestrian death trap of an intersection! What a great spot for an outdoor cafe and eatery! Hidden behind a gas station!” It’s just going to sit empty until it gets torn down. And then it’ll remain a parking lot until there’s nowhere else to build in the city (so probably a long time).

  • Imran

    This got removed from the preservation board agenda 45 minutes before the meeting was to start. Deferred (again) till next month.

    • AJ

      Any insight as to why this was pulled again? And will the November proposal remain the same, or will they move some more bricks around before resubmitting?

      • Alex Ihnen

        Hot take: It was pulled because it wasn’t going to be approved.

  • Chris
  • Chris

    This plan does nothing to make our city more walkable. It is a suburban style shopping center in the middle of a major city with a ridiculously large and wasteful parking lot and should be voted down.

  • Chris

    Can we please, please, please get a moratorium on new Walgreens? At least an ordinance saying there cannot be two within a mile of each other?

  • AJ
    • Alex Ihnen

      Thanks – adding to story.

  • Dahmen Piotraschke

    All in all it is a great start to the worst blighted corner on the heavily used Kings highway busline. No streetlight , or other bus stop minor amenities. Any development, open lighted space, better crosswalks, and walkways with more storefront businesses. Not just Walgreens. After the new Bridge is done, the buses will like a definite new stop to actually SEE riders.

    • AJ

      More storefront businesses would be great; this project eliminates potential. IMO, this project is reductive, not additive. It reduces potential rather than creating potential.

      • Dahmen Piotraschke

        The bank and the continuous “stretch mall” with the blue awnings are all empty and hopefully for sale retail space if Walgreens is set back enough. Or the current hidden Walgreens behind BP, will garner an empty space for hopefully new unique businesses and or restaurants.

        • Adam

          “…and hopefully for sale retail space…”

          every iteration of the plan thus far has called for demolition of the “stretch mall” except for the facade. i’m not sure where you’re finding hope that they’ll become retail spaces.

  • Matt B

    I get this isn’t the most densely populated area, but what is the aversion to a more urban concept Walgreens? Also I don’t get why they can’t somehow fit the parking lot behind the store. Why does it have to be this weird sideways setup?? I think they’d benefit more from slimming the store, using the existing building as the main floor, adding a second story and putting parking in back as opposed to doing this strange setup and preserving the façade of the building just to appease preservationists.

    • Chris

      This is simply relocating a suburban shopping center into the heart of an urban environment. There is a reason we moved to the city. Because we hate the freaking suburban lifestyle.

  • Bob Bettis

    Another bad wreck at rush hour last night right there at Botanical and Kingshighway. The addition of another curb cut 40′ from that intersection is just insane.

  • Pingback: BMO Harris; Revised Plans for Southwest Bank - ConstructForSTL()

  • jkf1220

    Forgive me for being way late to this discussion but, design issues aside, what about the existing Walgreens right across the street from this development . . . and the one 3 blocks away on kingshighway at Arsenal. Is this just another Quik Trip situation.

    • Alex Ihnen

      The one across Southwest would close. Arsenal is 1/2 mi south on Kingshighway.

  • AJ

    At a meeting with neighbors, Draper & Kramer rep said they were willing to restore building to original brick and remove the awnings. I think there are positive changes in this recent revision, but I still think the neighborhood (and the city) deserves better than parking lots and Walgreens. This proposal isn’t bringing anything to the neighborhood that doesn’t already exist; why are we willing to demo our built environment to simply maintain status quo?

    • Riggle

      Desperation

    • John

      The Walgreens move is probably key to the redevelopment’s financial feasibility, but I agree that more could be done to enhance the concept. Another retail or office space would be great. Parking space seems to be a constraint…a common problem.

  • Luftmentsch

    A Potemkin village. Even the computer-generated pedestrians want to get out of there.

  • ben

    Um, the Walgreens needs to be 2x as wide on the Khwy facade, and 1/2 as deep on the interior of the block? And the curb cut is stupid. #*&# curb cuts, put in some angled street parking instead. It really isn’t that hard. Why doesn’t the bank front the street? Did a 3rd grade design this?

  • Ben Harvey

    I personally don’t like the white painted brick as much. Walgreens also seems to be missing an opportunity to put a little miniature sitting area/pocket park behind the facade instead of the 7 parking spaces.

    Imagine a couple chess boards and picnic tables right there behind the windowless facade where neighborhood kids can go up to Walgreens and buy snack to eat right outside on summer evenings.

  • Presbyterian

    I’m glad to see a significant improvement in the plan.

    • Sam

      It is better yes, but I think it’s still a crappy plan. They are playing the long game. Start off with cheapest most uninspired design that they can think of and slowly make small tweaks and improvements to trick people into thinking that their plans have gotten much better than they actually have.

      • ben

        This plan is exactly the same as the first. They just changed the surface appearance. Such laziness.

        • Alex Ihnen

          FTR: and removed a curb cut and moved the new restaurant up to Southwest Ave.

          • Not quite “up” to Southwest — the building appears to be set back significantly.

          • Alex Ihnen

            The island retail/restaurant had previously had surface parking and driveway between the building and Southwest, it’s now pushed to the sidewalk. Check out the slider to compare site plans.

    • How is the new plan a significant improvement?

  • John

    Glad they are improving the proposal, but it still needs a little more work.

    I will start with positive comments. It is an improvement to get rid of the odd driveway between the bank and Walgreens. Also, the facade continuity looks more in character with the neighborhood, and the proposed Walgreens has a more consistent look with the other structures vs. the previous proposal. Big win for the community group to get the historic building.

    What I strongly recommend changing…natural red brick looks more “warm and inviting” vs. the painted white brick that looks “cold and institutional.” (Yes, it works in some settings, but not here.) Additionally, I don’t like the existing and proposed blue awnings. I understand the blue color may be tied to the bank, but I think it looks cheap. Black or hunter green, or even deep burgundy awnings would look more upscale. No royal blue, please. I could go with or without the awnings, but the blue color as shown is not good.

    I would also like to see more landscaping near the parking lot and Walgreens. How about some brick built-in planters with evergreen shrubs? Also, bushes along Southwest to screen the parking lot would add much needed vegetation and aesthetic enhancement to the asphalt qnd concrete “jungle.” Since this is not too far from the botanical garden, how about some hearty plantings (hydrangeas, prairie grass, etc.) Be sure to include irrigation for the vegetation as well.

    I hope this feedback can be shared with the decision makers.

    • John

      Two more thoughts: 1) Put tinted glass in the “fake windows” if they remain a part of the concept. No billboards or advertising for the bank or Walgreens. Let them look like windows, if the fake wall has to be there. 2) If the sidewalk around the perimeter will be redone, include a stripe of red brick pavers along the streets to add visual interest, similar to the sidewalks in Clayton. Perhaps the wrought iron tree grates could be personalized for The Hill. Details like this are important.

      • Mike P

        Id rather see small, office-type store fronts on Kingshighway. It seems that the bank and Walgreens could do without that strip of parking along the avenue.

      • ben

        How about no fake wall. Change the proportions of the Walgreens such that it fills all the storefront facing Kingshighway. It’s not that hard to do this.

  • Riggle

    Filth. Remind me to stay east of Grand

  • Adam

    better, but now we have a blank wall between the bank and Walgreens that can’t be activated because there’s no building behind it. what would the windows become? billboards for Walgreens? no thanks. they could reduce the depth of the portion between the bank and Walgreens, subdivide it for multiple retail tontines, and only lose ~7 parking spaces which, I’m certain, could be captured elsewhere on the site.

    • Adam

      *tenants not tontines, whatever that is.

    • AJ

      BMO and Draper&Kramer (developer) have repeatedly said that there are no interested parties to the property, that Walgreens is the only option that can work at this location. I’d love to see them retain retail and economic potential by retaining the building b/t bank and Walgreens. Who can convince them (bank and developer) that it’s in their interest as well as in neighborhoods interest?

      • rgbose

        Sansone would like to build 100s of apartments around the corner. Maybe they’d be interested.

        • Bob Bettis

          Draper&Kramer is part of the Hill project..i’m sure they wont let Sansone get involved.

      • Adam

        Yeah I don’t buy the “no interested parties” line. BMO just wants to get their bank and drive through renovated and Walgreens is the low-hanging fruit to expedite the project. I seriously doubt they’ve put any effort into finding interested parties other than Walgreens.

    • Hard to see in this Google Streetview, but there’s an Aldi in Chicago (Broadway & Sunnyside) with a faux-windowed street wall — more of a series of lightboxes, really. Anyway, these “windows” have large promotional posters for neighborhood amenities, resources and attractions via the Uptown Chamber. Something like that here would be a good get.

      Link: http://bit.ly/2diInuQ

      EDIT: The Aldi project also has a green roof. Neighborhood groups should definitely push for that at the new Walgreens as well.

      With that said, yeah, the whole STL project is still hard to get behind…

      • Adam

        meh. i’m just thinking about the the newish CVS on Lindell. the CWE fought for a street-fronting store and CVS promised windows and those “windows” have been covered basically since the store opened, thus contributing absolutely nothing to the street. might as well be a brick wall.

    • Imran

      As we have seen with the Rothschild building on Olive, once you remove the supporting walls, historic brick facades tend to damage easily. And maybe that’s their game: ‘we tried to save the facade but it crumbled during construction. How about that curb cut?’

      This strip of retail bays could be a small business incubator. There are so many possibilities: pet store – bike shop – cleaners – UPS store – second hand books – coffee shop . The community has got to insist on more value for residents than just a chain pharmacy.

    • ben

      It’s not better. It’s exactly the same as the first plan. They’ve made very subtle visual changes, nothing more. But if you don’t care about having a nice city, that’s your thing. The only acceptable path forward is no curb cuts, no fake walls, and continuous, sidewalk fronting retail sf that runs the length of the block on Kingshighway and Southwest.

      • Adam

        did you bother to read the rest of my comment after “better”? sorry, but it IS better than the first plan. they removed a substantial curb cut and the “fake wall” at least hides the parking lot from the sidewalk. i didn’t say it was a GOOD plan or that I like it. settle down.

  • Imran

    They really want to turn that row of retail bays (amazing potential for neighbors to walk to) into a useless façade . And that darn right-in/right-out !

  • rgbose

    Wake me when the plan includes 20 apartments.