Monogram Building to Get 168 Apartments, $36M Construction Permit Issued

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With a $36M construction permit issued this week, the nine-story Monogram Building at 1706 Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis is finally set for its makeover. The conversion of the former CPI Corp. headquarters is planned to feature 168 market-rate apartments. Spectrum Station preschool is planned for the building’s first floor.

Initially, work was to begin this past September. Interior demolition was completed earlier this year. The project successfully closed a public street, taking possession of a block of 17th street in order to connect a secured surface parking lot to the building’s residential entrance. Monthly rents are estimated to range from $900-$1,300 and include a parking space. The project was granted tax abatement and will use historic preservation tax credits.

 

The building’s owner, Michael Knight, purchased the property from David Jump. Jump bought the Monogram Building in 2012 for $3M. Paric Corp. is acting as general contractor for the project. The building was completed in 1912 and was designed by architect Albert Groves. Today, it marks the western terminus of the Washington Avenue loft district.

The block of 17th Street that will be vacated:

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  • Dahmen Piotraschke

    Unaffordable for single 1 bedroom unit. I don’t see anyone new moving downtown for these lofts out on the fringes of Washington Ave. Even hard-working individuals need a simple $700/a month apartment…if I am gonna move out of quiet Southtown, I want a bargain..!! All bullshit..and all corporate welfare.

    • Josh Shockley

      Pretty sure they don’t want the type of crowd who can only afford $700 a month for downtown loft living…

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  • Will M

    Is there any chance of that parking lot being developed in the future? The promise of a 20 story tower was a little unreal when they first mentioned it, but perhaps they have an idea for some kind of development on the lot. Has anyone heard anything?

    • HootyWho?

      Nothing in the works but I don’t see any new construction on that site for another 20+ years as our economy is now. But who knows, maybe the next Facebook graduates from T Rex in the near future and the local economy is dramatically altered. I expect a tough recession between 2019-2021 that’ll put a halt on any local progress until 2025.

  • John

    I wonder why their construction schedule was delayed. It is a shame to close off 17th Street, but nice to have the building repurposed for residential.

    My question….is the developer getting rich off taxpayers with the tax abatement “welfare handout” and historic tax credits? What is the ROI for taxpayers, and who among elected officials is watching out for this? Lyda Krewson, I understand you favor tax abatement under certain circumstances, but please take note.

    • Alex

      John, the developer is not “getting rich” off the tax abatement or historic tax credits. Redevelopments like this, operate on a razors edge and the tax abatement allows for the developer to charge competitive rents that a bank and the historic tax credit investor will underwrite. As for the equity generated from the historic tax credits, the project would simply not be done without it (or the redevelopment would be shoddy at best). Given that, the ROI for taxpayers is significant. The tax abatement offers the City a chance, ten years from now, to capture significantly higher property tax revenues from this property. Meanwhile, in an undeveloped state, the property taxes generated from the building would be stagnant, and could even go down should subsequent appraisals reveal a drop in value (deterioration is not unusual for unoccupied buildings). Furthermore, there will likely be at least, I would bet, some net-increase to the City population which would further add revenue to the City through various taxes. The value of surrounding buildings will also likely increase and the City will thereby generate additional property tax revenue from higher appraisals/assessments from such buildings.

      Tax abatement, by no means should be tossed around willy nilly. But in such a case as this, it’s quite simple; it’s a “but for” argument: Would this redevelopment happen without tax abatement? I believe the answer is no. Hence, by approving the tax abatement for this Project the City ultimately invests only the zero opportunity cost of a development that would not otherwise happen during the abatement period, and will earn a return from the property tax revenues on the Project alone, upon the the expiration of it’s abatement period, that is several orders of magnitude higher than what it is today (not to mention the other benefits to the City that are incurred upon the project’s completion).

      • marca stewart

        I don’t know where you got your education in economics but in my business world any venture that does not sustain itself should not be pursued. Taxpayers should not subsidize private developments. This is just an artificial way to keep the cost for the price per square foot of the real estate low. While all other not politically connected investors that do not get or want to rely on subsidies show a price per square foot that is a is a real number. Marlene Davis is clearly showering her accolades with every sort of subsidies digging into tax payers pockets. She sure has nothing to give of her own!

        • Nick

          You call Alex economically ignorant by stating that taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize private developments because…of what exactly? Because you say it’s wrong? I for one fully support my property tax dollars being spent on development that wouldn’t otherwise happen in my community. Much like any public works project, the public benefits from seeing historic buildings redeveloped, vacant properties rebuilt, empty lots put to use, neighborhood density improving, and seeing the city grow in ways it wouldn’t otherwise. Why not spend public dollars on rehabbing these buildings? And if you don’t like TIF money being doled out because it benefits private contractors…every time a bridge goes up, a private contractor gets rich, every time the government orders an F18, a private contractor gets rich, every time a government office orders a computer, a private contractor gets rich, and on and on and on. How is it any different than a TIF supported project going up in the city?

          • For one thing, when the federal government buys an F18, the St. Louis Public Schools does not lose new property tax revenue. (Not trying to be snarky, just pointing out a clear difference between these examples.)

          • Adam

            Not disagreeing with you in spirit, but technically SLPS isn’t “losing” anything because nothing is currently being generated by that site. It will continue to generate nothing for some part of the abatement period–same as if it were not developed. Then it will generate partial revenue, then full revenue. It’s a gamble for sure. We really need to cap TIFs the way KC did and then establish a plan for phasing them out in districts that would perform without them (like the CWE).

          • Nick

            Schools still lose out when the government buy F18s. There’s always an opportunity cost to every decision. When the government buys an F18, that’s less money to spend on schools, or roads, or parks, or whatever. We’re just talking about the federal level vs local.

        • Andy

          It would be nice if subsidies were not needed, but most all projects are subsidized in one way or another. One of the reasons that downtown and the city as a whole are in the state that they are is that federal, state, and local governments have subsidized sprawl. We have built more and more and bigger and bigger roads to allow people to move further and further out. Then we have subsidized the building of more and more retail options spread around the region.

          You can take issue with the use of government subsidies but it is ignorant to simply look at the city’s use of subsidies and ignore the broader picture. I’m not saying this development is the best use of subsidies, but simply arguing against the city using any subsidies to spur development is silly.

  • Presbyterian

    I’m excited to see one of our remaining vacant historic properties brought back to life. And I’m excited for St. Louis to be able to welcome a couple hundred more residents to our region’s downtown!

  • Brett

    I guess they finally said no to new construction to the east of this? Or is that still a possibility?

  • Alex P

    The Downtown Neighborhood Association opposed he closure of the street. Very disappointing that the BoA allowed it. Now even more aggravating to see that rents will include a parking space.

    • STLEnginerd

      Agreed. If anything they should have offered to vacate 16th. 17th has north south connection all the way to Market. 16th has already been vacated at plaza square and the gateway mall so its loss is far less impactful to traffic flows.

      • Alex P

        They’re going to put a fence around the parking lot. They want the fence to connect to the building for “security” so 16th wouldn’t have worked.