Three-Story Apartment Building Proposed for Parking Lot in Lafayette Square

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A proposal for three-story apartment building at 1708-26 Park Avenue in the Lafayette Square local historic district will be recommended for approval by the city’s Cultural Resources Office. The project is being developed by Gilded Age and designed by Cohen Architecture.

Proposed to be built on the site of a surface parking lot, the building would span the half block of Park Avenue from 18th Street east. Parking would remain on the east end of the site. Specifics regarding the number of units, project cost and more were not included in the St. Louis Preservation Review Board agenda.

Gilded Age redeveloped the nearby historic City Hospital and several properties in Lafayette Square, including fourteen townhomes known as Mississippi Place, The Abbey on the Park, and the Union Club. Cohen Architecture has designed the renovation of the Schlafly Tap Room, Vin de Set, and Sqwires, among others. The firm also designed the contemporary warehouse style commercial infill at 1634 Park Avenue in Lafayette Square (image at bottom).

lafsq-infill-aerial_1708-26-park-avenue

From the St. Louis City Preservation Board agenda:

Preliminary Findings and Conclusion:
The Cultural Resources Office consideration of the criteria for new residential construction in the
Lafayette Square Historic District Standards led to these preliminary findings:

  • The proposed site for construction, 1708-26 Park Avenue, is located in the Lafayette Square Local Historic District.
  • The applicants have proposed a design that is influenced by but does not strictly follow a Historic Model Example, as required by the Lafayette Square Historic District Standards.
  • The design of the proposed building, derived from 19th century industrial examples, is appropriate for this site within the Lafayette Square district, which has a number of historic industrial buildings. The rear elevation of the building is not of brick, as required by the Standards, but should have little visibility from any street.
  • The Development Committee of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee has expressed their support for the building design.

Based on the Preliminary findings, the Cultural Resources Office recommends that the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval to the proposed design, with the stipulation that details and specifications are submitted to the Cultural Resources Office for review and final plans and exterior materials are reviewed and approved by the Cultural Resources Office.

Bouras Mop Factory building:screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-21-04-pm

Historic Model Example:
The developer has chosen to base the new building’s design on historic factory buildings. The
Cultural Resources Office staff concurs that this is appropriate, as there are a number of
industrial buildings in the immediate vicinity of the site. In the design, the architects have
considered as an HME both the industrial building that once occupied this site and the Bouras
Mop Factory building across Park to the north. A formal HME has not been submitted and the
design does not follow any identified historic building.

Parking:
The rear parking area will be entered from Dolman Street but no new curb cut will be required as there is an existing curb cut in the same location. Parking will be screened by a high wrought-iron fence with brick piers.

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-21-27-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-21-13-pm

Massing and Scale:
The massing of the new building will be similar, but not identical, to the Bouras Mop
Factory building at the northeast corner of Park and Dolman. The foundation will be raised on a cast stone sill, which is typical of historic industrial buildings and is present on the HME. Buildings along Park Avenue are two and three stories, or two stories with a mansard roof.

Design:
Fenestration on the proposed building does not follow the HME exactly, but instead presents a generic interpretation of 19th century factory buildings. The front elevation has recessed balconies which are not present on the Bouras Mop Factory. The street elevations will be brick; the south elevation, which faces an adjacent residential property, will be clad with a different material that is yet to be determined. The brick will return a substantial distance at the southwest corner to screen the view from S. 18th Street. This secondary material will have only minimal visibility from the street.

Site plan:screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-19-43-pm

North:screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-19-59-pm

South:screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-20-16-pm

West:screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-20-30-pm

East:screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-20-44-pm

1634 Park Avenue by Cohen Architecture:

cohen-architects_lafsq

___________________

Preservation Board agenda: 1708-26 Park Avenue – November 28, 2016

Images showing design revisions:

1708-park-avenue-proposal_2 1708-park-avenue-proposal

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  • Chris

    The architecture is disappointing for such a vibrant and lively neighborhood. There is no connection to the Victorian influence that makes Lafayette Square so iconic. I would have hoped for a design with more character than “historic
    factory”.

    • Alex Ihnen

      It’s not a polished rendering, but if it ends up similar to the last image by the same architect, then I like it.

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  • brickhugger

    Street level storefronts (convertible to residential if need be) and a fourth floor would be my suggestion.

  • PD

    That lot is certainly underused. This building seems a bit bland but might actually fit in nicely right there. Although i certainly wouldn’t want to live at street level.

    • Dan

      That lot is well used, especially by Square One patrons. Though density over surface lots can add vibrancy.

      • PD

        I got to the four muddy paws and never have a problem finding spots on the street. People use it but it seems underused as in there is plenty of parking around.

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  • Jakeb

    Lot size seems to present some challenges here for parking. I really don’t like the surface lot on the corner because it will be there as long as this building exists. But I’m not sure there is any other option if this parcel is to be used for residential housing.

  • Does the rendering accidentally leave out the first floor of storefront retail space?

    • Framer

      ^Yep; retail in that location should be a given.

      • Tim E

        Is there demand for commercial space? Understand that LS has a share of empty storefronts already and so wonder why every corner has to be retail?
        ..
        Playing devil advocate but as more people order from amazon, etc. the question of why every corner has to have a storefront let alone be a viable revenue for the development is legitimate.

        • Kaylick

          Commercial can also mean food/restaurant. Building office or residential space without access to resources is a mistake of the past. When the first floor is “commercial” it gives the folks above a place to go to when they need something. People are buying online yes. But, they also need groceries & food as well. Maybe a pint as well 🙂

          • Tim E

            Understand the point, but if their somewhere to go already within Lafayette Square how viable is the commercial space to the person developing if no tenants to be had or demand to be had. Do you roll that risk and cost into the apartments above?
            ..
            The reality is family household size & extended families and density have gone quite a bit. The number of retail spots will also reflect that reality.

        • Dan

          Very few vacant storefronts along Park Ave. there.

  • John

    Good news. Granted, it is a utilitarian design, but a welcome development. Is it really that much more expensive to simply have ALL BRICK, including the rear elevation? I think it’s penny-wise and pound foolish to not do all brick. Just build it right with quality material, and then there will be less long-term maintenance and deterioration. I hope the Cultural Resources Office takes a stronger stance toward all brick, prior to final approval.

    Nice to see the trees. More trees, please, including 18th Street trees and Dolman trees. And be sure to include landscaping in the parking area. Bushes, prarie grass and other plantings.

    • Jakeb

      It would be interesting to know the actual price per foot increase caused brick all around. I tend to agree the increase would not be especially significant.

    • Dominic Ricciotti

      You use “utilitarian design” dismissively–I’d call it the “warehouse aesthetic,” which is entirely appropriate for this neighborhood. The great thing about the Lafayette neighborhood is that it embraces both the historic townhouse type as well as the industrial style of buildings, which is integral to the character of the area.

  • Nick

    While it’s neat that these new apartments are going to look like the old warehouse on the next block, wouldn’t it be extra great to rehab the old warehouse into apartments? Maybe it’s only a matter of time, I hope.

    • Douglis Beck

      Sooner than you think. 😉

      • Alex Ihnen

        Yes.

        • Dominic Ricciotti

          Are you saying the Bouras Mop Factory building is going to be rehabbed soon?

          • Dan

            Yes according to info I’ve recently seen.

  • STLEnginerd

    In general this is a positive proposal, BUT I wish they would consider building the length of the block. A basement level could be configured for pull through parking with an entrance from Doleman and an exit onto 18th (or vice versa). Its a missed opportunity to fill the whole block and incidentally double the number of revenue generating apartments.

    I think i would at least encourage them to consider that as an option.

  • Michael C

    Glad that surface parking lots are beginning to disappear completely from Lafayette Square. Hopefully the more densely populated Lafayette Square becomes the more demand there is for public transportation. It would be nice to see a North South Metro line with a Lafayette Square stop.

    • Brett

      Over the residents’ dead bodies, I’m sure. Unfortunate.

      • jhoff1257

        What makes you say that? I’ve never heard of any sustained opposition to transit expansion in Lafayette Square. I know most South Siders are pretty excited about the prospect of a N/S rail route. Plus the the city is currently studying the N/S LPA (locally preferred alternative) along Jefferson which would include a stop at Park adjacent to Lafayette Square.

        This route was vetted with city residents many, many years ago. Pretty universal support for the line east of Skinker as far as I know.

      • Dan

        This living body lives in LS and would welcome an LS stop.

  • rgbose

    I count 28 parking spots which may mean 28 apts.

  • Presbyterian

    I love seeing the vacant lots in Lafayette Square getting developed with quality infill. It’s such a great neighborhood!