Drury Development Seeks Demo for FPSE Building on Kingshighway

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There are a handful of residential buildings facing Kingshighway in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. In one view they’re woefully out of place, fronting seven lanes of a traffic and an interstate interchange. In another view, the homes anchor the edge of the residential neighborhood, holding and presenting its identity to those hurriedly passing through.

The homes on the west side of Kingshighway, in the tiny Kings Oak neighborhood, don’t seem nearly as challenged, but these FPSE four-families have been in limbo for more than a decade. Three years ago we write about Drury Development’s acquisition of these homes and others. It was a somewhat surprising expansion of its holdings. The 2008 hotel tower proposal seemed long gone, but with that move, seemed to still be alive.

Now Drury is seeking to demolish the building at the corner of Oakland Avenue and Kingshighway, just one of the row which has been assumed would make way for a hotel entrance if the plan ever comes to pass. Demolition will be considered at the city’s Preservation Board meeting later this month. We’ve watched this plan and process for nearly a decade, and it’s once again time to take a look at past proposals and current Drury holdings:

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May 12, 2014:
Drury Eyes Future Hotel, Adds 15 Parcels to Holdings in Forest Park Southeast

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast

It’s a smart bet that there will be a landmark Drury Hotel in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. Exactly when, and what it will look like is less certain. nextSTL has learned that Drury Development Corporation recently purchased 15 parcels on the edge of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood for $1.675M.

Back in August 2008, Drury presented plans for two 16-story hotels towers with a total of 690 rooms. The idea received a mixed response from a packed church of more than 100 residents. Then the recession hit full force. Plans were put on hold.

Drury is currently focused on the completion of the 210-room Drury Inn & Suites Brentwood at Interstate 64 and Brentwood Boulevard just a few miles west. If that hotel performs as expected over its first year or so, the company’s attention is likely to turn to Forest Park Southeast (The Grove).

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast{rendering of twin 15-story hotel towers from 2008}

There are currently no revised renderings or site plans available, and Drury has not decided whether to pursue a plan similar to its 2008 proposal. The 15 parcels are added to five already owned by the company at the northwest corner of the neighborhood.

A Drury representative told nextSTL that the company had reached a point that it needed to make a decision on the FPSE site. The parcels had been marketed by KH Ventures LLC for several years. A number of the buildings have been vacant for up to a decade.

Drury plans to renovate a half dozen or more properties on Oakland and Arco. Current plans include renovating 4564 Arch and 1074 S. Kingshighway. Two homes on Gibson (4571 and 4521) will also be renovated as rental properties. The Gibson homes were acquired as part of a package with the church property several years ago.

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast{buildings such as these on Arco will be renovated as rental properties}

At that time, the idea of historic homes serving as hotel rooms or extended stay hotel rentals as a buffer between the hotel and residences was floated, and Drury stated that the church itself may form the lobby of the new development. It’s unclear if these ideas will be pursued.

This corner of the neighborhood has clearly been a target for development since at least the time MoDOT’s plan to remove the expansive I-64/Kingshighway cloverleaf interchange came along. Since then, some truly horrific plans have been floated.

While dead-on-arrival with zero chance of support from the neighborhood, or alderman, the K2 Commerical Group promoted images of a CVS, QuikTrip, and several office buildings. The idea would have required the demolition of more than 120 residential units.

Forest Park Southeast neighborhood - St. Louis, MO - K2 Commerical Group development plan{the K2 plan would have faced a mountain of opposition}

The site is challenging to access, and neighborhood residents have made it clear that they would not like to see hotel traffic on residential streets. Any development would require access at Oakland Avenue, the end of which was recently permanently vacated by the city, removing access to the neighborhood from Kingshighway at that point.

While the expanding adjacent medical center is seen as underserved by hotels, this is changing. A Hilton Home2 hotel is planned for the northeast corner of Chouteau and Taylor Avenues nearby, and the Cortex development further east is planned to include a hotel.

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast{the former church at Gibson Avenue has been owned by Drury for several years}

Drury Development - Forest Park Southeast{buildings facing Kingshighway will likely be targeted for demolition}

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  • Benjamin Aronov

    I wish they could just build on all that land next to the TV station, renovate the homes and open the streets back up to Kingshighway!

    Fearful we’ll get shit for this high visibility intersection

  • PD

    Honestly they need to at the very least tear down these crack dens. When I lived on Wichita I would walk past them to get to Forrest park and see people cutting out from under the particle board all the times. Its also currently become a dumping ground for trash and beat furniture back there. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4ec613629df07bc7e0c8737579d6da4a965ae92f8d66b56a190753d83f3aea7d.jpg

  • Andrew Wind

    Those renderings are hideous, as I’m sure the next ones will be as well. They’d be right at home eight miles west of Wentzville, but I guess that’s what we can expect from Dreary Hotels. The city needs to require the developers to adhere to the neighborhood’s style and scale – or at the very least not demolish other structures that are.

    • jhoff1257

      Those renderings are also for two projects (one of which wasn’t even a Drury project) that aren’t happening.

      • Andrew Wind

        Oh, I know. It’s just easy to assume the next ones will look just as bad since that’s how these things usually go.

        • jhoff1257

          I understand the cynicism about projects like this in St. Louis considering some of the crap that has been built here but I’m going to hold out hope for now. The K2 plan was DOA from the start and I don’t think anyone seriously even considered it. The original Drury plan has a really shitty site plan, but I’m not opposed to having a nice mid rise tower at the corner of Kingshighway and I-64 provided it’s done right. Based on what I’ve read here Drury is considering using many of these properties as extended stays, and possibly even using that old church as a hotel lobby. If Drury can pull off something like that I think I’d be pretty impressed. Fingers crossed.

          • Andrew Wind

            Actually that church-as-lobby item was the one glint of hope I found in all of this. If they do something clever like that, I’ll be both shocked and delighted.

          • brickhugger

            Agreed; I was an NSO in this area in the mid to late 90’s, and those buildings were a problem back then. If Drury can do it right (which, given their renovation of the in-demo Fur Exchange, I give them the benefit of the doubt), this would be a good replacement.
            One note; those buildings on Kingshighway will almost certainly have lead dust in the soil, as cars with leaded gas rolled by for decades. I hope they are aware of this, and of the potential remediation costs thereby,

          • jhoff1257

            I always forget about that Drury in the old Fur Exchange building. And not only did they renovate a historic structure, if I’m not mistaken they literally rescued it from the dead. If my memory serves me right demolition was already in progress on the Fur Exchange building when Drury stepped in and saved it.

            I’m sure Built St. Louis has some background somewhere.

  • citylover

    Aren’t some of those owned by wash-u? There are signs on some of the boarded windows that say something about wash-u rehab.

    Be nice to see drury step in. I haven’t seen anything that large for them. Also guessing their Brentwood location is doing more thank ok. Was a perfect market for a hotel

    • Michael B

      The signs say City U(nder Construction). It is misleading and makes it appear that it is owned by some kind of university group, but those are Drury owned properties. I wonder why they don’t want to put their name on them?

      • PD

        They haven’t put their name on them as people would then no whom to call to bitch that they are in serious disrepair and need to at the very least be demolished and site as and empty lot vs the current eyesore.

  • Michael B

    Wasn’t there a plan to put in a nicer looking barricade to that end of Oakland? Anyone know if it is still in the works?

  • Michael B

    How much control does the neighborhood have on what gets put there? As one of the residents, I’ve watched those homes fall apart over the years, during a very hot market. I’m glad to see that some rehabs are planned, but the most visible homes fronting Kingshighway continue to crumble. This is the most visible part of the FPSE neighborhood for non-residents. Whatever the plan is, it must be done tastefully and well. So how much control does the neighborhood have? What can I do to prevent something has terrible as those towers being built?

    • ParallelParker

      And those towers are terrible exactly why? Is it because they would create jobs, generate tax revenue, bring people into the city and create vibrancy? Lions and tigers and bears, Oh My!

      • Adam

        The whole plan was terrible. Aside from the towers appearing to be super ugly (subjective, I know) the site plan dumps a massive amount of surface parking immediately adjacent to peoples’ homes. It’s not appropriate. With structured parking the footprint could be much smaller and more respectful of the neighbors.

      • Michael B

        Pretty much what Adam said. The towers would dwarf the neighborhood. The 4500 blocks of FPSE have some of the most beautiful homes the neighborhood has to offer, and this plan would open them up to Kingshighway and a sea of parking. Notice how the rendering doesn’t have any of the neighborhood drawn in? Access to the hotel parking would be through residential streets. It’s just a bad plan (and I also think the towers are ugly). I’m not opposed to a sensible, well-thought out plan that is formed with advice and consent from the surrounding neighborhood.

        • Alex Ihnen

          In following the proposal over a decade there’s never been a version that would allow access to/from the neighborhood that stood any chance of approval. It simply won’t happen.

      • kevin smith

        Do you want to look out your front door and see a huge tower, have tons of people coming/going in your neighborhood at all times of the day and in my case, probably increase traffic over a 1,000% on your street? I don’t and I have a building Drury is after. As far as jobs, if we are expecting a few hotels jobs to be what saves the city, we are in trouble. That was their selling point in 2008 and it was crap. And, as someone who spends way to much of his life in hotels due to work, I don’t want one in any neighborhood.

  • Would seem a bit silly to place another QT there that is just a couple of stoplights away from the one at 44 & Kingshighway, but the CVS would make sense.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Well, that plan was a non-plan that a developer drew up and posted on its site. It’s virtually impossible to imagine the neighborhood going along with either, IMO.