DESCO Unveils $80M Mixed-Use Plan for Former Shriners Site in Frontenac

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According to the St. Louis Business Journal, The DESCO Group has a preliminary plan in place for an $80M development including a three-story, 36K sf mixed-use building at the former Shriners Hospital site on South Lindbergh Boulevard site adjacent to the Plaza Frontenac. Two 6,500 sf restaurants and a Lifetime Fitness would also be added to the 9.5-acre site.

“Preliminary Concept Design Only, DESCO Building to Have Similar Design Intent”:

From our previous report: DESCO has Frontenac Shriners Hospital Site Under Contract 

Shriner's Hospital - Frontenac

nextSTL has learned the commercial real estate division for Schnucks Markets Inc., DESCO Group, has the Shriners Hospital for Children campus in Frontenac under contract. The parcel has attracted much attention from developers since 2013. That is when the Tampa-based organization announced plans for a new $47 million hospital in the Central West End (CWE).

nextSTL sources say at least four groups have made serious offers for the Shriners property thus far. This includes a second attempt to land a Frontenac location by high-end health club chain Lifetime Fitness, and interest from BJC. Activity regarding pursuit of the property has been so high that the Shriners decided to handle the sale itself, forgoing local representation.

Shriner's Hospital - Frontenac

The Frontenac children’s hospital opened in 1963, and will see its final patients on May 16. It is situated between St. Joseph’s Academy to its south, and Plaza Frontenac to its north. A residential community along Litzsinger Rd. comprised of 14 estates borders the hospital property to its west.

According to nextSTL sources the DESCO Group has one year to do its due diligence. This involves the buyer completing a thorough investigation of the property before committing to buy. Due diligence reduces the risk the buyer will be disappointed and increases the chances the seller will have its terms met. Still way too early to tell, but high-end retail plans for the site have been mentioned.

Any commercial development at the site would almost certainly meet fierce resistance from residents. That is what killed the proposed 2012 Sansone Group mixed-use project at the Ladue Early Childhood Center near the Spoede and Clayton Roads intersection. Opposition from neighboring homeowners, including three-time U.S. Open golf champion Hale Irwin, was too much to overcome. An attempt to reach the Shriners and DESCO for comment was unsuccessful.

Similar opposition has organized against a proposal for 30 villas, 24 townhomes and an 86-bed assisted living facility at the site of the closed Ladue Early Childhood Center on Clayton Road. A citizen group titled “Citizens AGAINST High-Rise Assisted Living & High Density Housing” has opposed that development under the banner of “preserve the beauty of Frontenac”.

Citizens AGAINST High-Rise Assisted Living & High Density Housing

The new 4-acre Shriners St. Louis Hospital for Children will be located at the corner of Clayton and Newstead Avenues, on the BJC campus in the CWE. This will be the third facility for Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis. In July of 1921 property for the first hospital, located only two blocks from the new CWE hospital, was purchased for $150,000. In January, nextSTL was first to report that the Washington University School of Medicine is exploring converting the 1921 building to medical student housing.

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  • kjohnson04

    “Citizens AGAINST High-Rise Assisted Living & High Density Housing” – This is what holds us back as a region. High Density Housing brings needed tax revenue for little fiefdoms like Frontenac. Their opposition to development that will raise revenues, and the standard of living is ridiculous. But when develop regularly bypasses Frontenac because of their overly restrictive demands, they may start to see the wisdom of smarter, compact development.

  • Adam

    DESCO builds garbage.

  • STLEnginerd

    Would rather see shiners site become a new schnucks, and the current schnucks redeveloped more along these lines, but more structured parking.

    I just think it would blend better with the current dominate forms.

    Of course making both mixed use would be even better but I can be realistic sometimes.

  • Framer

    Looks like they’re mooning LIndbergh.

  • John

    I like the preliminary concept. Will be interested to see final renderings. And of course the “not in my backyard” complainers will come out in full force in opposition to ANY development near Frontenac. I hope Desco doesn’t ask for a welfare TIF handout like they did for the University Commons development across from Lindenwood University in St. Charles. Desco should should be ashamed of TIF.