Design and Site Plan for 64 Townhomes at Lafayette Square Praxair Site Presented

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Lafayette Square appears close to finally developing the long-vacant Praxair site. Pulte Homes plans to build 64 Killeen Studio Architects-designed townhomes on the Praxair site bounded by Chouteau, Missouri Avenue, MacKay Place and a separate parcel fronting Hickory Street to the south.

The site is within the Lafayette Square local historic district, which stipulates requirements for a new construction project such as is being proposed. The city’s Cultural Resources Office is recommending the Preservation Board grant preliminary approval to the project with several provisions: that rear elevations of buildings within two parcels of public streets be brick; sidewalks be placed on both the north and south sides of the re-opened LaSalle Street; and of course that final plans and materials be reviewed by CRO.

On June 25, 2005 the Praxair site along Chouteau Avenue in the city’s Lafayette Square neighborhood caught fire. The site served as storage for gas tanks, which began to explode, sending debris onto the rooftops of surrounding homes and businesses. In all, as many as 8,000 gas cylinders exploded, and the fire took a full five hours to get under control. Interstate 64, just more than 1/3mi to the north, was closed. The Cardinals game was delayed.

The 4-acre site has sat vacant since. The adjacent Lafayette Walk townhome development stalled after 31 of 37 planned units were completed in 2008. That project was announced in 2004 and suffered from bad timing as units began to sell in late 2007. In recent years, development has picked up in the neighborhood with Mississippi Place on the east side of the park, infill along Park Avenue, and new single-family homes centered on Dolman Street.

More from our previous story: Pulte Homes Plans 64 Townhomes for Praxair Site in Lafayette Square

praxair_6

lafsq-historic-district-map

After the 2005 fire, the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee (LSRC) created a Praxair Neighborhood Task Force. Praxair initially sought to resume operations at the Lafayette Square site, but neighborhood and city opposition denied that effort. Praxair now operates out of Cahokia, IL and still owns the Lafayette Square site.

Read: Lafayette Square Local Historic District Code and Lafayette Square Local Historic District Ordinance.

Lafayette Walk townhomes adjacent to Praxair site.

lafayette-walk_1 lafayette-walk_2

Existing Praxair site:

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Images from The Lafayette Square Neighborhood – Urban Plan and Amendment #1:

praxair_1praxair_2praxair_3praxair_4 praxair_5

MacKay Quarter - 2007{a 2007 residential development plan for the Praxair site}

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  • Pingback: Changes Present Better Urban Design for Lafayette Square Praxair Site - nextSTL()

  • StlResident

    Cultural Resources unanimously rejected this proposal 7-0…The message sent to any other developer looking at this site, “don’t even bother, we will fight you every step of the way.” Good luck to LafSq trying to get this eyesore of a site redeveloped with that stigma on the site. I feel sorry for the businesses in area. Let’s not forget this is St. Louis City we are taking about here….take pride and demand good design yes, but respect that someone wants to invest $XXM in your zip code that struggles with the most basic metric of population growth. To the other commenters point, needs to balanced. I bet Pulte walks from this site, why fight when they can go build elsewhere.

  • brickhugger

    I’m ok with the design, if only because they look so much better than the crap McBride is peddling on the bluff on South Broadway.

    • John

      By that logic, everyone gives us crap, but this crap is a bit better, so we’ll take it.

      Demand better.

      Don’t forget that what they build will be permanent. One chance to get it right.

      Word on the street is the board rejected the design the other evening.

      • brickhugger

        I want good design as much as you, but economic feasibility does play a role, so if I can get 80-90% of what I want, I can be content. Usually we are lucky to get even half that. I speak from experience; I’ve been on several design and review boards over the years, and as a professional planner I’ve fought or supported various projects based on their character. Some battles I’ve won, some I’ve lost, enough to that I pick my battles, this design, while perhaps needing some tweaking, is not on my list of bad planning.

  • Vox863 .

    It’s great to see another publicly subsidized project so my tax dollars can be used to subsidize contractors and developers to build overpriced developments in the city. Some of my best friends hate their own race and would be more than happy to be surrounded my moochers and deadly urban street thugs. They will finally be able to co-habitate in overpriced boring row houses that are built amongst the ruins of the Most Dangerous City in America. The tattooed and body pierced will imagine themselves creating “art districts” until they’ve been raped, robbed, pistol whipped and murdered by those that also hate their race and are committed to genociding them off the planet.

  • pufferey

    Looks nice. I have friends that live in the neighborhood that would love to see something done there. I’ve considered buying in LS too but most places are 350K+. The drawings seems like one house repeated over and over again though. Some color and changes on each one would be welcome. Scratch the grass in the front yards in favor of low-maintenance plants in small courtyards bordered by ornate iron fencing. Who wants to cut grass in the city anyway?

    • Guest

      The design of this development is very nice infill (typical of St. Louis French Second Empire), but it speaks Victorian middle income row houses. It would fit well and be an asset in many city neighborhoods but really is out of place for LS. With it’s fine single family painted ladies LS deserves a more fitting development (see the whimsically beautiful row that was built in the ’80’s on Mississippi).
      I’m sorry you can’t afford LS, but projects like this don’t belong there to accommodate those who can’t afford it (or will they be pricey just because of their location?). Please understand, I’m not trying to be mean or condescending…(lol…I couldn’t afford LS either)…just trying to be logical about carrying on with what makes the neighborhood so desirable…I think that’s very important.

  • Margo

    Decent but not overwhelmed. Glad for progress but it some refinement needed. Those balconies need to be larger and have support beams on the bottom. They also need some type of outdoor privacy walls between townhouses. Sliding glass double doors instead of a single door. Overhangs or at least a roll-out awning on each one to allow for all-weather outdoor seating too. Decent.

  • MC

    Looks great! Glad this is happening for Lafayette Square!

  • the squeeze

    Let’s see some renderings of the entire space of 65 townhomes and surroundings. With just the couple of pics, you don’t get any sense of the monotonus, ward-like feel. Lafayette Walk already has that type of feel and it’s just half as many homes.

    Look around Lafayette Square. Lots of color, lots of trees and greenery, lots of variety and customizations from home to home. It’s what the allure and charm of this neighborhood is, and a big reason why it continually fetches high prices.

    Consider splitting the land up into individual lots for sale and let the owners design their own high-density, detached houses. As is, we have row after row of dark, attached townhouses, nothing charming or special about them (not even a courtyard for any!), likely minimal variety in floorplans = no appeal. Imagine trying to sell yours for 300K+ when there’s dozens others to choose from.

    Lastly, if none of the above is considered, please, at least insist on high quality soundproofing between units and for the windows (triple-pane, high-STC). 4-inches of pure concrete separating units with a layer of QuietRock on each side minimum. Don’t let them get away with minimal requirements for that. Insist on it being documented as well.

    • John

      Totally agree on the need for soundproofing the units and triple-pane windows to mitigate noise for the residents. I am tired of builders that cheap out and cut corners. Building code requirements should mandate higher construction standards.

  • David Hoffman

    Looks like there is no private yard space for townhouse in the design like in Lafayette Walk. Too bad.

    • Riggle

      No open gravel pit either, too bad

      • David Hoffman

        Not that I don’t like the design. I’d be interested in living there, but need a yard. Notice how I’m able to replay without sarcasm? It’s called being nice. 🙂

        • Riggle

          Lafayette walk is a disaster, never finished, three units for sale for less than it was first built. Maybe I wouldn’t follow their lead. Thats all

          • Adam

            I wouldn’t say it’s a disaster. Didn’t sell as well as expected, but that’s likely due to the recession.

          • Riggle

            Which was 10 years ago

    • jhoff1257

      It’d be pretty hard to squeeze private yard space here with 64 homes on such a small site. However the homes on the center blocks appear to open to some green space. Not really private per say, but still accessible. Always just a short walk from Lafayette Park!

  • Pingback: Plan for 64 Townhomes at Lafayette Square Praxair Site Presented - ConstructForSTL()

  • John

    Looks nice, but why not go all of the way with brick in the back instead of siding? Why cheap out? Also, add windows on the garage doors. The back of the town homes can have attention to detail as well. Go the extra mile with upgraded materials. It’s worth it! Do it nice!

    • Mark Leinauer

      Agree but they always seem to cut that. Obviously cost seems to be the factor. I’m OK with it. It looks great from the street….

      • they cut it because it’s relatively expensive and non-essential. brick veneer is $100-200/sqft.

        • Frank Absher

          This seems inordinately high.

    • jhoff1257

      It’s worth it until the lender says cut costs or no financing.

  • mc

    Beautiful. Exactly what we need in Lafayette Square.

  • Andy

    I like the plan. Especially the way the townhomes face the major streets. I do wish more of the houses faced Lasalle Street with an alley behind. I am not a fan of the driveways facing that street because that means no on-street parking.

    It would also really improve it if they would open Mackay back up to traffic

    The diagonal parking along Chouteau needs to go. The bike lane runs right along there and people will end up sticking out into the bike lane. That will cause cyclists to pull into traffic which puts them at increased danger because with the bike lane there cars will not be expecting it. I do like the new signal as right now you have over a half of a mile between safe crossings. Also the bumpouts are needed so people stop using the parking area and bike lane as a way to race past traffic.

    • Chris

      I would be very surprised if the City doesn’t require them to change the diagonal parking to back-in. It’s become the new standard in the City and it’s much safer for cyclists because you can see both while you’re parking and when pulling out.

      • Andy

        That would be better than this but any form of diagonal parking has its drawbacks. When people with longer cars or trucks back in, they have a tendency to back up until their tires hit the curb. This causes the back of the vehicle to hang over the sidewalk, making it worse for pedestrians, especially those that are handicapped or in wheelchairs.

        Diagonal parking allows more parking spaces, but each townhome has a garage from the rendering. Parallel parking along Manchester and the two perpendicular streets should be sufficient, in my opinion.

        • Riggle

          Manchester?

          • Andy

            The name of the road (MO-100) changes from Manchester after you cross over Vandeventer going East until it hits the river at Chouteau’s Landing

          • jhoff1257

            Correct, but in your previous comment you made it sound like we were talking about Manchester here. This would be Chouteau as we’re well east of Vandeventer here.

          • Andy

            Well look at that. I even reread that and somehow didn’t see it again. Thanks for pointing it out. Yes, I meant Chouteau.

          • Riggle

            Duh, and you called it Manchester, your County is showing

  • Framer

    Holy Crap! St. Louis is actually going to re-open a formerly closed street? Why not do Mackay Place while we’re at it?

  • Shaun

    Those renderings and site plan are terrific! I love the 1880s St. Louis brick version of French Second Empire row houses. It’s refreshing to see houses facing the street and some facing a private communal yard. It’s lovely to have recessed front entry and back deck. Now if only these were priced in the $200k – $300k range, then they would sell rapidly. We have a lot of pent up demand for that price range for new construction. Compliments to the suburban developer for designing real urban housing.

  • InterestedBuyer

    I would definitely buy for under $300k!

    • SnakePlissken

      Then you won’t be buying here… It’s difficult to build profitable SF new construction for under $350K-$400K in desirable STL neighborhoods.

    • LafayetteSquareFan

      Those will go like hotcakes, no doubt about it. They look great and are in a very lovely neighborhood. Lafayette Square is known for their house tours. If you haven’t seen one from the inside, it might be worth it to take a tour.

      A distant relative of mine who lived in Lafayette Square had the only 3-story house on her street. She and her husband built up their house from the early days from whence it was once a boarding house with some prostitutes. It was a very seedy area back in those early days of the neighborhood in St. Louis. The stories were as wild as the stories of the Ike and Tina Turner days. She had an extensive antique collection throughout her LS home. They probably paid no more than $30K for their crap house when they were young but probably sold it for way over $500K at its full restoration. They maintained their house to its historic era with a vintage bathtub and all. It was like visiting a museum. They put in a lifetime of hard work on their house and they lived there all their lives. Now, they live in a 1-level ranch-style house in the county due to bad knees.

      • Riggle

        Because there are no one story houses in the City…

  • opendorz

    Pretty nice.

  • jhoff1257

    Not bad. Would be cool if they could do some multicolored detached town homes like the row on Hickory or 18th. Bring a bit of variety, as it is it’s a bit monotonous. Mackay should be opened all the way to Chouteau.

    • Joe s

      Definitely agree on the need to add a touch of color to give it the charm of surrounding homes. I suppose that is something owners will consider. Just having window framing a different color and varied door colors would help.

  • Chris

    Now THAT looks like a development plan that actually attempts to match the character of the neighborhood. Wish more projects would do that.

  • Imran

    Love it. Could Kileen studio design everything from now on?