Koman Group Buys 3.3 Acres in Cortex Innovation Community

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Cortex Demolition - Clayton and Sarah

nextSTL has learned urban developer Koman Group has acquired 3.3 acres within the Cortex Innovation Community boundary. The area is the heart of the burgeoning urban development scene in the city. Though a purchase price has not been disclosed, sources tell nextSTL Koman Group outbid Cortex and perhaps other interested parties. In a significant vote of confidence in the area, Koman purchased the site on spec.

Contacted by nextSTL, Garrick Hamilton, Executive Vice President at Koman Group confirmed the company has closed on the site, “We’re excited, to say the least. The site builds on what we’ve attempted to do in the City of St. Louis to date: develop or redevelop critical, highly visible sites into unique workspaces with character.”

Garrick added that the investment represents a further move toward urban development for the company long known for its 40-acre, 1.2M sf CityPlace development in suburban Creve Coeur. While the site was purchased without a tenant or imminent development plan, Koman Group is actively targeting several companies in the St. Louis area and beyond.

koman_cortex-aerial

nextSTL was first to report Koman Group planned to sell City Place back in 2014. It was later reported five buildings, totaling nearly 900K sf were sold for approximately $140M. In late 2013, a 224K sf building at CityPlace sold for $40.2M. In recent years, Koman Group has targeted urban development with the following projects:

With its investment in Cortex, Koman Group enters the mix of what continues to be a hot market, and one that sees little indication of slowing. In December 2014, Cortex purchased a 3.5-acre parcel fronting Vandeventer adjacent to Interstate 64 for $3M next door to Lawrence Group’s massive $340M undertaking now titled City Foundry.

It’s known that the next phase of development within Cortex will be announced soon. Green Street recently purchased the nearby Armory and it’s exploring renovation as an event venue with adjacent new construction, and just to the south, SSM-Saint Louis University is nearing the start of a $550M hospital project. To add to that, the city is set to blight the entire area, 395 acres in all. The blight designation will streamline the area’s redevelopment.

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From our previous reporting: Site Development Begins in Cortex, Plans for St. Louis Metallizing Site not Disclosed

Cortex demo map Clayton_Sarah

In one of its largest efforts at land assemblage since Ikea, the Cortex Innovation Community is seeing the demolition of eleven contiguous parcels between Clayton Avenue and Highway 40 (I-64) west of Sarah Street.

The buyer has not yet been identified, but demolition began this week. Nine parcels are affected from 4100 to 4200 Clayton Avenue, as well as the two parcels at 4101 and 4123 Sarpy Avenue, both facing the interstate.

This location most recently was the site of St. Louis Metallizing, which closed quietly last fall, liquidating its equipment and supplies. St. Louis Metallizing was a pioneer in the development of industrial surface coatings, supporting aircraft manufacturing, power generation and the oil and gas industries.

The company was an authorized FAA repair station. That business has been acquired by American Roller and Plasma Coatings Group of Union Grove, Wisconsin. The utilitarian, industrial structures along Clayton and Sarpy were constructed between 1939 and 1990. All ten buildings on the site are being demolished. No plans for the site have been revealed.

Early schematic plans, now several years old, showed office buildings surrounding a parking structure at the site. Development at Cortex has varied from these plans significantly over time.

Continue reading: Site Development Begins in Cortex, Plans for St. Louis Metallizing Site not Disclosed

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  • Riggle

    Will Cortex become urban if we just keep calling it that? All I see are highway exit ramps, swipe thru lanes and surface lots. I thought bringing the County to the City was passe?

    • Adam

      Do you see fewer surface lots than you saw 5 years ago?

      • Alex Ihnen

        If I *had to guess, I’d say more, but that’s misleading. As Cortex has added office space, surface lots have been built, or replaced single-story demo’d buildings. These are nearly all temporary 4-8yr lots as development rotates through the area. The final product will be more urban, but the siting of the BJC building for instance is not urban and it appears that nearly every building is being designed to have its own rather copious (by urban standards) green space and attached parking. This is more CityPlace in the city, than an urban neighborhood.

        • Adam

          Alex and Riggle,

          I guess I was thinking more about the number of buildings in use/level of activity today vs. 5 years ago. I worked in the Cortex 1 building about 13 years ago (before Solae was built) and all those old warehouses around it were empty and rotting. There was absolutely zero activity. The area is not going to be urban in the mixed-use, everything-built-up-to-the-sidewalk sense, but it is certainly more active than it was even 5 years ago and will be more urban when it’s finished.

          Riggle, why do you think the Metrolink stop isn’t going to get built?

          • Alex Ihnen

            Right. The MetroLink station will be built. Happy to bet whatever terms one wishes on that one. The streets and signals are troublesome. They all point to the priority being getting cars in and out as fast as possible. No bike lanes, standard sidewalks, etc. will continue to be a disappointment.

          • Riggle

            I guess it will be built, and it will be an island with no connectivity to the eminently walkable neighborhood three blocks away (not cortex)

      • Riggle

        More. And they may go away. The swipe thru lanes and exit ramps are much more troublesome. They are NEW, actively making the area less walkable. And this is a recent decision. Take a walk from the site of the metrolink station that will never be built to the grove. You will see what I mean.

  • chaifetz10

    Just to clarify, the site has been cleared of all existing buildings already correct? It’s great to see multiple developers buying in on the area (Koman, Lawrence Group, Green Street) in addition to CORTEX’s planned developments; if at the very least to keep some competitive pressure on continue to build and not land bank. If the demand is as strong as what was previously discussed (that is that CORTEX has had to turn away some interested businesses for lack of space) than I would expect to see some new construction sooner than later.

    • Tim E

      That is the scary part right now is land banking. Lot of land bought up, lot of demo and still waiting on some significant infill to happen. Wexford started out gang busters and now we get the announcement is expected soon comment