Big Design Changes Submitted for Centene’s Clayton Corporate Campus

We’ve followed the Centene Clayton corporate campus development since the beginning [index of nextSTL coverage]. Now the most significant design changes since the project was unveiled have been shared.

In a presentation this week to the Clayton Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board, the development team resubmitted plans for the Special Development District. The subdistrict footprints have changed, with altered designs presented for subdistrict 1 and subdistricts 2A, 2B, and 2C.

What’s the big change? The planned auditorium has moved west across Carondelet Plaza onto what was open space. More residential appears poised to occupy a portion of the old auditorium site, while being reduced in its old location. The Wellbridge fitness center has moved to the corner of Hanley and Forsyth from its prior spot mid-block on Forsyth.

The linear footage of parking garage street-facing facade has been reduced from 1,520 feet to 720 feet, primarily from the removal of the pedestal parking structure in the tower on Hanley Road (subdistrict 1). Street and parking access alignments along Forsyth have also changed.

The auditorium has also grown from 39K sf to 85K sf. Total office space has declined slightly, as well as parking. The residential component has increased by 38K sf, hotel by 20K sf, and retail by 20-55K sf.While the number are big, the impact on the urban design and experience of the massive development may be larger. The new numbers represent a big change, but the impact on the urban design and experience of the massive development may be larger.

The best way to understand the changes presented is to take a visual tour through the subdistricts. The development team produced a PDF presentation [Centene Clayton Campus New Commercial Mixed Use Plan] detailing many changes. Images below are from that document and others filed with the City of Clayton

▲ November 2016                                ▼ September 2016

▲ November 2016                                ▼ September 2016


  • disqus_GWQC85TAVn

    Why is underground parking taboo?

    • Alex Ihnen

      It’s not, but it is significantly more expensive than an above ground parking garage. I’d guess Centene would be happy to go below grade if added incentives matched the added cost.

  • jeff707

    Overall, a great improvement, but I am afraid that the Forsyth/Hanley corner will be just as dead as it is on the existing Centene tower, which is to say that there is literally no entrance to the existing tower on that corner and the renderings on the new one appear to also have no entrance. The ONLY people you currently see on the corner are people waiting to cross the street. There is NOTHING going on on the first floor of the existing building.

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  • John

    This looks better. Office tower is much more streamlined. I hope they don’t cheap out on the high-end aesthetic with “hidden” design changes. But of course, we taxpayers are paying for it anyway, so we might as well add our 2 cents. I also hope the quality jobs are there and that they enhance prosperity for the region.

  • Presbyterian

    I think this is a significant improvement for the pedestrian experience.

  • Alexander Richard Wilson

    So, they’re making construction costs cheaper by cutting design details and ornaments? okay.

  • TimJim

    I appreciate the update, but I’m not sure what to make of it, even looking at all the renderings. How about some insight as to the significance of these changes for us non-design wonks. Is this another bait-and-switch of the sort we’ve seen before in Clayton once the developer gets tax abatement? Or is it an improvement?

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think the changes are overwhelmingly positive. Moving the auditorium to a spot that would have been dull plaza is great. The big decrease in parking garages (even if disguised) facing streets is great. Putting Wellbridge on the corner is good too, as is breaking up the facade along Forsyth. Adding a significant amount of retail, and some residential units is great too. Overall, it’s a much better project than it was a few months ago. If there’s one thing I would change, it would be to place residential fronting Forsyth. Those garages with fake residential facades are going to be hard to get to look OK.

      • Jeff Leonard

        One thing that’s worth pointing out: there’s been a tremendous amount of public commentary and input into the designs. Did it make a difference? I don’t know, but I’m a Clayton resident, and like many others spoke out strongly for the need for more residential, more retail, less parking, better orientation towards pedestrian flow and better connectivity to Metro. Everyone one of us who follow NextSTL need to advocate in our various neighborhoods and cities. The region needs a strong and thriving St. Louis city at its core, surrounded by communities that are doing their part to advance smart design and growth also.

  • STLEnginerd

    Building a garage to look like a residential building is RIDICULOUS.

    I get that the narrowness of the lot makes north facing residential difficult on the central garage but the second garage to it East should have some north facing residential and if they have to build the garage taller to make up for the lot parking.

    • STLEnginerd

      But the Auditorium move and the new tower building designs are big improvements.

  • Goat314

    I always thought this development needed a larger residential component. It only makes sense with the Metrolink so close by and considering that increased density in Clayton is only likely to happen in it’s downtown.