As 2016 comes to an end, St. Louis has seen a huge amount of announcements regarding new construction, preservation and proposals that will shape St. Louis for years to come. Five have stood out this year, attracted a lot of attention, and are set to have a big impact for years to come.
Ballpark Village Phase 2
It was no secret that our patience for the long-stalled project was wearing thin until October 25th when the Cardinals announced late at night what their ambitions for the future would be. The $220 Million project was announced with a 10 floor Office Building, Entertainment/Market Building and a 29 Floor Residential Building. The project announcement caught just about everyone off-guard. It was expecting that a second phase was coming, but would likely be much smaller than what was announced.
For months and even years leading up to the announcement, local news coverage included interviews about ambitions for what the Second Phase could be. Each had a little new information and confirmed a phase two was coming, eventually. Each article said that an announcement would be soon, but how soon was anyone’s guess until the surprise announcement on October 25th. With this announcement, many are now looking forward to seeing this development get started again and hoping that this gets built and other phases follow closely behind.
The idea of future phases seemed to be teased when new images were posted on the project architecture firm’s website. These images included a 24-floor mixed-use building on the northwest portion of the site. The images were quickly removed, leaving us wondering if it a building for phase three. However, it appears the building was considered as park of phase two, perhaps to be built instead of the tower announced. Looking closely, one can see a fuzzy “BPV II” on the roof.
As the news on the project continued forward, tax abatement for the project were preliminarily passed and the incentives bill the Cardinals helped write was amended to include additional public support. The future looks bright for his project and the construction (if it begins as promised) should begin mid to late 2017 and be completed by 2019.
One Hundred on Kingshighway
This was one of those projects that was announced by nextSTL in early 2015. The story revealed ambitions to build a 40-floor residential tower at the corner of West Pine and Kingshighway in Central West End. This was further reassured when an article published a year later said that planning was underway for the project. And then finally in early December 2016, the developer, MAC Properties (based in Englewood New Jersey) announced a public meeting and released a teaser image touting “a Major Development ” for Monday, December 15th.
It was that evening that the conversation lit up like Candy Cane Lane on the UrbanSTL Forum. The next day Studio Gang based out of Chicago and the Post-Dispatch released renderings and an interview about the project. The $130 Million, 36-floor high-rise residential building immediately got good and bad reviews. Some laughed at the project and some applauded the design, calling it an iconic landmark. In the days that followed, discussions about how NIMBYs (Not in My Backyard) would react grew, and while some voiced concerns at the public meeting, it appears that the project has significant public support. The Central West End has handled construction traffic well, and One Hundred won’t be blocking the view of homeowners, or tower of any single-family homes. The project also fits well with the neighborhood’s form based code.
This project also kicked up a frenzy on the long-awaited Koman project next door that has yet to be announced and whether we could see an announcement on that project soon as well. Following all of this, a Post-Dispatch article wrote that the building was upped by 7 floors to 36 so that it could hold 50 more apartments to earn the support for tax abatement from the city and 17th Ward alderman Joe Roddy. The abatement request is 95% for 10 years and 50% for five years. So the possibility of this project being built is very good. The developer has ambitions to get underway mid next year and open around the same time Ballpark Village Phase 2 opens in 2019. One thing for sure is that this will help propel Saint Louis into a new era of expectations of architectural design. Hopefully more towers will follow after just two have been built-in the CWE since the 1970s.
Centene’s Clayton Corporate Campus
It is something that could have changed the way downtown St. Louis looked but instead of being built at Ballpark Village, it will rise in our second downtown of Clayton. The close to a billion dollar project will drastically expand the company’s footprint from one block to multiple and change the Clayton skyline. The project was met with backlash from residents of the Crescent condo building, who argued that their views would be blocked, the increase in traffic would be too great, and other issues. They opposed the project online and at public meetings. This has led to some elements of the project being redesigned. The project would be phased but is planned to be completed by 2024.
Clayton is seeing its own boom in construction with government buildings and apartments in addition to the Centene project. But this development does not appear to be stealing from the city, or at least the boom in development is happening in both places. While Clayton is set to add density with new residents and jobs, these projects are likely to change Clayton less than the big transformative projects in St. Louis City. Clayton is adding more of what it has while the city is transforming with new projects.
NGA Selects St. Louis
This announcement was yet another one of those that we were expecting. but many were betting on this ending up in an Illinois cornfield. The US Government announced that they were looking for a new site to build the new NGA West HQ around the St. Louis area, and the site selection was reduced to North City versus St. Clair County Illinois versus St. Louis County. The site ultimately chosen was roughly 100 acres just north of the long-vacant Pruitt-Igoe public housing site. The area was largely vacant, but the city used eminent domain proceedings to finalize the eviction of some residents and businesses.
While some expressed concerns about the location and the safety of employees, the $2B secure facility appears set to transform the area. That dream will take years, if not decades to be realized. There is no shortage of ideas, and the recent HUD Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant looks to kickstart the process. When additional development goes up remains anyone’s guess as much of the adjacent property belongs to developer Paul McKee whose Northside Regeneration has been stalled for more than a decade. While the investment is important, it will take years to see what the positive impact may be. The project is expected to begin in 2017 with environmental clean up currently underway and the building complex completed by 2021.
City Foundry Project Begins
The final project on this list is one that is significant on its own but also one that could make the Cortex-Midtown area an even better place to live and work. This $340M dollar project would restore the abandoned foundry along Forest Park Avenue and turn it into a food hall and small shopping area. A second Phase would add to this an office building and residential high-rise to the site. The first phase began construction in September 2016 and should wrap up sometime in 2018, with the second phase beginning shortly thereafter and the whole project wrapping up in 2021 or 2022.
The announcement for this project came as a surprise a year earlier but really got interesting when renderings and amenities were announced in early 2016. The economic benefits that this project could bring to the neighborhood could mean more retail and residents living in the city, which not only improves the city’s image but will also show people visiting the city that we have a new idea on how to deal with abandoned eyesores and make them new again.
But not every revolutionary project is listed here, so here is a list of honorable mentions that are significant as well and may just end up having as big an impact as the projects above:
St. Louis is enjoying an embarrassment of riches in development news this year and it wasn’t easy narrowing down a list of the most exciting developments, so here is a list of honorable mentions that are also set to have a big impact:
SSM St. Louis University Medical Center
It was no secret that after SSM Health purchased SLU Medical Center that a complete hospital overhaul would take place. It was one of those projects that was a mystery from how much the project would cost to what it would look like and bring to the neighborhood. Preservationists have long hoped the vacant Pevely Dairy building would be preserved as part of this project (it sits outside the new hospital footprint, but appears destined for demolition). So we waited patiently until information on the project got out. The first information was the site plan.
The worrying continued for preservationists after this site plan came out as there was a lack of news regarding plans for the historic Desloge Tower. We all knew that the current hospital addition would be demolished but would that tower? We would find out a few months later that the Historic Desloge Tower would remain, and a $550 Million new campus would be constructed on the vacant lots to the north. The main building will reach 10 stories, with additional connected buildings and parking garages. The project is expected to begin next year and wrap in 2020. [We Now Know What the $550M SLU/SSM Hospital Might Look Like]
Washington University in St. Louis – Danforth Campus Improvements
This major project will drastically change the front door to the Washington University Danforth Campus. The project includes street improvements and closures along with a massive underground garage and a total of 7 new structures designed by KierenTimberlake and Moore Ruble Yudell. The additions fit the context of the classical university campus, but are set to add a lot of glass to the otherwise pink fieldstone buildings. The most recent completed project on campus is the athletic complex, completed in time for this year’s 2nd Presidential Debate. Seven Major Additions to WUSTL Danforth Campus Detailed
The Jefferson Arms Restoration
It would not be a complete list without this major restoration for Downtown. One that has been stalled for years and one of the more exciting projects to come along. The Jefferson Arms on Tucker was built for the 1904 World’s Fair but would eventually see a conversion to senior living apartments. A failed redevelopment plan saw the building become vacant last decade. But the building appears to have a new life as Alterra Development of Dallas has announced it will purchase the building and completed a mixed-use redevelopment. A very fitting restoration for a very prime building.
Excerpt from nextSTL- “According to a press release from Alterra, the architect is Merriman Anderson Architects from Dallas TX. The interior designer is Lazaro Rosa-Violan from Barcelona Spain. Alterra is said to be selecting the hotel flag from Marriott’s AC, Autograph Collection, Aloft, and Element brands.” These mash-ups could bring in a very different look to the interior of the building and Make it more luxurious for those who will live and visit there. The project should start next year and wrap up in 2018 or 2019. Alterra Announces Jefferson Arms Plan for 239 Apartments, Marriott Hotel, Retail
Major League Soccer Stadium Proposal for Downtown
This project barely made it onto this list at all but I decided to add it because of its significance in the quest for Saint Louis to become a major league soccer city. The drama since the Rams left, saying no thanks to a $1 Billion new stadium seemed to never end until this proposal. There seems to be widespread support from residents and elected representatives for bringing an MLS team to St. Louis. The SC STL ownership group tapped HOK to design a new Stadium to be built over the failed Interstate 755 project (22nd Street Interchange) in Downtown just West of Union Station.
The project would cost over $200 Million for a 20,000 seat Stadium. This project isn’t a done deal as some are raising questions about requested incentives for the project, which could reach $120M. The incentives debate, coupled with opponents citing studies that show stadiums are not catalytic developments, present a challenge to this project. It’s unclear whether it will be built without public money. A spring vote in St. Louis City is planned to ask for public support of the project. If approved, construction could start in 2017 and wrap up in 2021 or 2022. Announcement: Ownership Group, Stadium Announced for St. Louis MLS Effort
But with still a few weeks left in 2016, more announcements could be on the horizon, but these are the ones that I see as game-changing and the 5 most important projects to be announced this year as well as 4 additional Honorable Mentions which show just how hot the St. Louis market has been this year. The list could go on and on. It’s hard to imagine the pace of development news continuing as it has, and only time will tell if these projects are as transformative as we hope they will be. Will these projects push St. Louis to become a Future Great City?