Apartments, Retail Planned for Industrial Building in Forest Park Southeast

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Long on the market and at one time planned to be the new home for the St. Louis Language Immersion School, the expansive Suburban Industrial Packaging property at Tower Grove and Vandeventer Avenues in Forest Park Southeast is set to be transformed into the Woodward Lofts with 160 apartments and ground floor retail space.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the developer will seek approximately $10M in state and federal historic tax credits and a 10-year real estate tax abatement from the city for the $30M project. The 250K sf building at 1519 Tower Grove Avenue (map) was built as the Woodward & Tiernan Printing Company, completed in 1926 and designed St. Louis firm Klipstein & Rathmann. Its listing on the National Register of Historic Places dates to 2015 and was sought as the building was considered for the language immersion school.

A rendering of the design by Trivers Associates show restored facade facing Tower Grove Avenue and limited surface parking, with access at at-grand indoor parking where loading docks exist today. The conversion would include close to 200 indoor parking space for residents and parking for retail patrons. The project aims to commence in spring 2017 and be completed in 12-14 months. The developer, Pier Property Group, has not yet closed on its purchase of the building.

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From the Preservation Research Office: The factory building retains elements that defined it as a modern daylight factory: lighting from large windows and roof lighting, regular column spacing and avoidance of permanent partitions. When company president L.B. Woodward deemed the new factory “an ultimate economy” in 1927, is statement referred to the qualities that make the building exemplify an industrial building type that advanced the production of his and many other companies nationwide.

The industrial building is notable as well for its curved south facade, which follows the bend of adjacent railroad tracks. The lines are heavily used and the project plans to mitigate the noise as much as possible. The developer told the Post-Dispatch they suspect some people will choose to live next to the lines for trainspotting. Interior open air courtyards are planned allow light and air into private outdoor spaces.

Just across the tracks and Vandeventer Avenue, urban developer UIC has been transforming the Botanical Heights neighborhood. The company announced in September that it would redevelop the Liggett-Myers Tobacco Building at 4140 Park Avenue (map) as its new headquarters and co-working space. The portion of that sprawling complex being transformed by UIC totals 100K sf.

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Also in The Grove, the big Green Street and Koman Group project, Chotueau’s Grove now has a permit to begin construction of the parking garage. That project is set to add 270 apartments to the neighborhood, as well as retail. The planned 615 parking spaces would serve tenants, retail visitors, and serve as a public parking garage for the eastern end of the district. At Manchester and Chouteau, across from Chouteau’s Grove, a 7-story contemporary infill project was just selected by the city of St. Louis. That project would add 12,500sf of street level retail, 45 parking spaces, 8,000sf of office space, and approximately 30 residential units across seven stories.

Farther west in The Grove, Lafser & Associates is restoring an historic building at 4398 Chouteau as its new office, with 2nd floor apartments. South of Manchester, market-rate homes by UIC are under construction at Boyle and Norfolk, and 50 affordable apartments and townhomes designed by Trivers are planned.

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Additional images posted online by Park Central Development:

1519-tower-grove-page-0121519-tower-grove-page-0171519-tower-grove-page-0131519-tower-grove-page-014  1519-tower-grove-page-015  1519-tower-grove-page-016

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  • RyleyinSTL

    Well, holy shit! Colour me impressed. I was literally looking at this building a few days ago, whilst sitting at a stoplight, thinking “wouldn’t it be nice if this huge building could be repurposed.”

  • brickhugger

    If the UP line through Kirkwood and Webster groves could be converted to commuter rail, and the north/south metrolink line run (in part) on the line that winds SW through the city*, this intersection could be a transfer station for both, which would be amazing.
    *both projects would take a LOT of money, political will, and logistical maneuvering, so I’m not sanguine they will happen. But I’m putting that out there nevertheless.

    • St. Louis

      I get that it will be tough but its something the region should work towards. Naturally, it will come after N-S and other lines. However, transit planning in STL needs to be approached differently and be more forward thinking. Realistically the South Side and North side needs two lines, this makes sense going South.

      • brickhugger

        Correct. I’ve thought about (and mapped) this for a long time; up until recently I thought of the kingshighway line continuing north past the cemeteries and onward to Florissant, with the line that hits natural bridge continuing east to Florissant/Tucker/Gravois, but I think this option is more efficient, combined with a spur to natural bridge and then south on Jefferson all the way to Chippewa. I’d also like to see a streetcar loop on Jefferson/Market/Tucker/Washington, and a second loop on Tucker/Cole/Broadway-4th (one way with traffic)/market.

  • Framer

    Other than trainspotters, who would want to live right next door to a busy mainline railroad?

    • rgbose

      The ones tired of living next to a busy highway?

      • Guest

        Lol…love your reply, rg…! Yep, some people don’t realize that mainline just might be music to many people’s ears.
        Like Moorlander, I was also raised near a mainline railroad and it never bothered me. In fact, when away I missed it, strange as it may sound to some. And many a new neighbor had said it actually is easy to get used to and quickly becomes hardly noticeable.

        • rgbose

          I’d rather be by train tracks than a highway, Somehow Aventura filled up.

          I hear planes starting before 7 am. Pick your poison.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Got used to the helicopters and ambulances of the CWE/FPSE quick enough. Took some time to get used to not hearing them after we moved.

          • jhoff1257

            I live in Midtown KC and when I’m visiting my parents in West St. Louis County I have the worst time sleeping. I need my city noises!!

    • moorlander

      I grew up near the tracks. We got used to it and eventually we hardly noticed it.

      • Ihanaf

        And maybe its the curved tracks but I have never seen a train race through there.

        • kjohnson04

          I live just on the other side of Vandeventer. Trains tend to be hauling through on the tracks adjacent to SIP. The tracks on the other side (the set that Amtrak uses to connect Downtown with Kirkwood tend to have trains passing through at a more leisurely pace (there are series of switches on the south side tracks).

  • Shelby Ketchum

    This is great news always thought those huge curved windows would make for an amazing loft. Hopefully this will drag development up from Manchester with other buildings along Vandeventer being restored and infill start fill the blank spots to restore the street scape

  • Michael B

    I’ve been hoping that this building would be turned into lofts. The subtle curve of the building as it borders the tracks, the large warehouse windows, and its beautiful brick facade all make it a very appealing loft conversion. This should be a huge boost for The Grove, and a nice anchor on the south side. With more population density, I hope to see more retail and eventually a decent sized grocery store in the future.

    • Ashley

      i believe the project to put a first floor large grocer is still happening on manchester near vandeventer. I saw the area being surveyed, as well as heavy equipment beginning to take up the existing parking lot the other day on my way to work

  • PD

    This should help tie both neighborhoods together so well. With the developments going on on vandeventor and in shaw, this building will bring them all together and help shape that intersection. Add a grocery store to the retail and this building will be a hit!

  • johnny1421

    How many apartments units in total are in development now just in the Grove and FPSE? Seems insane

    • PD

      When the aventura filled so quickly, people seem to all agree that people want to live in that area of town. I dont disagree.

      • johnny1421

        Neither do I, just amazed by the amount of development in that area. Between all this and all the finished multi-unit developments like Aventura it’ll probably exceed 1000 units or so I would imagine