Five Townhomes Proposed for 10th and Locust in Downtown St. Louis

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Plans for the corner of Locust and 10th Streets in downtown St. Louis have taken another turn. While demolition of the historically significant reclad Tudor building has been sought by more than one developer, what might replace it has changed and changed again. Now, TWG Development of Indianapolis is proposing five townhouses. The scale and massing closely mimic the existing building.

The plan for townhouses that would appear at first glance more at home in a city neighborhood like Dogtown, Benton Park, or elsewhere, is interesting. The townhomes, as shown, would introduce a new housing option in the heart of the central business district. The expectation on a lot such as this would more often be to build taller. That may be limited by the desire to have windows on the adjacent building and the small dimensions of the lot.

NEXT STL was the first to report on the larger TWG project comprised of four buildings from 913-921 Locust. The properties were purchased from UrbanStreet, which had acquired the properties as part of a package deal with that included the Orpheum Theatre and the Roberts Tower. The Orpheum was recently sold to Jubilee World. The Roberts Tower has been converted into apartments.

In March we learned that work on the larger buildings would commence soon, but the fate of the corner building remained unknown. An earlier rendering by TWG of new construction mixed-use building to replace the existing Tudor structure (NEXT STL story):

913-921 Locust:

From our previous reporting:

Initial plans call for the replacement of the corner building at 923 Locust with a new retail building. The existing building is well known for its late 1940s Tudor style makeover. nextSTL has chronicled the building’s interesting history as an art gallery in this profile: When the Art World Came to St. Louis.

Planning is at an early stage, but if all the benchmarks are met, work could begin in Spring 2017. TWG recently completed an historic renovation project with some similarities in Indianapolis. The 14-story Penn Street Tower opened after a 20-year vacancy as 98 apartments last year. The 185,000 sf, 1913 building was renovated at a reported cost of $14M.

Several years ago, the Roberts brothers planned to demolish the two Locust Street buildings nearest 10th Street (919-921, and 923 Locust) and construct a two-story lobby and entrance for a Hotel Indigo. The plan represented a reasonably urban corner, though introducing a guest drop-off driveway as well. Needless to say, that plan disappeared along with the Roberts empire.

Roberts brothers Indigo Hotel rendering:

 

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  • Christopher Dimza

    Why not take one of these empty parking lots and put new construction there? Leave this corner alone. It’s one of Downtown’s last 4 corner intersection that hasn’t been touched.

  • bradwaldrop

    Build small retail – 1,500 SQ FT stores for example. Easy to do on a hard corner. Wait for more nearby residences then combine the retail spaces for A-credit tenants down the road – or not – you could keep the mom & pops. Build vertical later. Or, build on top of the aforementioned small store retail. Building ZERO retail on a central biz district hard corner is anti street vitality, anti security, anti everything downtown’s mixed-use history stands for.

  • Dave

    While I’d love something more dense, there could be worse uses for this site IMO. Those include: vacant building, parking lot, circle drive for hotel, “urban park”, “event space”, vacant commercial space.
    In this case the massing stays consistent with what is there, the space will become residential bringing tax revenue to the city, and the space will be active. Also, I think having a different housing option in the CBD would be welcome, and perhaps open the eyes of developers to different types of housing options than just historical reuse.

  • brickhugger

    I’ve not yet heard a good reason why the existing building cannot be reused. It’s always ‘it has to be demo’d’, but never why. After the Century Building, the AMbassador theatre, Pevely Dairy, Beaumont medical, Avalon theatre, Scholars House, and on and on, I cannot accept that this is unusable as is.

  • STLEnginerd

    i don’t get it. WHy are all these proposal nearly the exact same geometrically as the original and yet its presented as if the current building is unusable. What makes saving this building soo impossible. Lack of HTC…?

    I get the desire to open up more windows but the rendered replacements don’t really allow for that anyway.

    My strong suspicion is they are trying to dangling something that will get the city to allow them to demo it, and then they will conveniently fail to build anything back and after 5-10 year of embarrassing nothing the city will finally allow them to turn it into a circle drive. Maybe I am just cynical…

  • JCougar

    This is the best idea I’ve seen yet for this section of Locust. Bravo!

  • Eddie in NorCal

    Regarding the question of which is more appropriate for the site, 5 townhomes or a mixed use 2-3 story commercial building, I think we should give the developers some credit for knowing what the market wants. There is a large abundance of unused retail and office space in downtown St. Louis. What sane developer would add to the surplus? On the other hand, thousands of new residential units, apartments and condominiums, have been successfully developed in this area. Might there not be a half dozen people that would like a townhome?

    It’s not as uncommon an idea as many people seem to think. There are similar townhomes in San Francisco, within the shadow of the Transamerica tower and adjacent to the 25-story One Maritime office building.

    • Adam

      The TransAmerica tower casts a pretty long shadow, though.

      If people will buy these town homes then great, but there’s no market evidence here suggesting that town homes next to a 10 story parking garage in the middle of the CBD at one of the city’s busiest intersections will sell. My concern is actually that the developer is just throwing this out there to get clearance to demo the corner building and has no intention of actually building them.

      The other concern is that this is very low-density land use for an intersection that should have higher density.

  • Sorry, this is a pretty goofy idea for a thousand different reasons.

  • John

    Seems odd…like a cheap after-thought to use the narrow building lot. Like some of the other comments, I applaud the unconventional townhomes, but the location doesn’t make sense. Additionally, the concept art looks amateur and not polished.

  • Presbyterian

    I’d like them to pop that Tudor cladding off and let us see what’s left of the historic Noonan Kocian Gallery underneath.

    Tearing down what might be the oldest building in the CBD would be such a loss. History was made in that little building.

    • The old building should be reused (why not turn it into housing?), but it’s not the oldest building downtown. The oldest part dates to after the construction of the Old Post Office was complete. The townhouse that stood on the site visible in the 1875 Compton & Dry was wrecked to building what stands today.

  • tpekren

    Be done with it I say. Take the building out of its misery and knock it down so it can be replaced with ground floor retail space and 2-4 floors of open floor commercial/co-working/office space.

    • Framer

      But that’s not what they’re proposing.

      • tpekren

        I know, that what I think they should replace the current building with but understandably more risky to speculate on retail/office space. But have to give them credit, they added a twist to their apartment/loft development plan that might sell.
        ..

    • There’s empty retail spaces on the other three corners there. There’s absolutely no demand for retail downtown, they’d be fools to build any.

      • SnakePlissken

        There is demand for some retail – the problem with downtown street level retail is the spaces are so large and insanely deep. Like, 4,5,6k sq ft large. Much like everything else (residential, co-working) micro units are key to bringing the retail market back. We need to rethink what retail is and how it fits in St. Louis. Case in point the Ely Walker building. It’s impossible to subdivide down bc it’s several hundred feet deep. There aren’t enough retail users (in america let alone STL) that can succeed within that footprint.

        Want successful retail in St. Louis? We need spaces 1,000 sq ft and smaller or a WeWork retail style incubator (otherwise known as a mall but these millennials need to remix, rebrand everything…)

        • Patrick Goodson

          There is plenty of demand in the downtown and downtown west districts, but there is not enough retail, whether it be food stores, restaurants, etc. rents are very very high as you said. From ten years ago till now, Washington Avenue does not even look the same as so many places have closed. If it were not for the convention, Cardinals, Blues, and City Museum traffic, downtown and the surrounding areas would be a ghost town.

  • Chris

    Pending disaster. That is not a single family home site.

  • Snake Plissken

    I dig this. A new housing option is needed in Downtown (and St. Louis in general). Historic loft rehabs are great but the buildings are lacking amenities and frankly just tired. Has anyone actually made money selling a loft not purchased out of foreclosure?

    Now what I’d really love to see is multifamily brownstones and townhomes in Downtown West… Too bad our market rewards land bankers and not risk takers.

    • tpekren

      Like your second option as I have to agree with Chris. Talk about an odd site for single family row houses and only five of them to boot.
      You got near northside, west downtown as well as Lafayette Square/Soulard sites begging for infill

  • Aaron

    How stupid is this city? Has anyone on this approval committee ever left their provincial sandbox? My God, the level of hideous mediocrity just keeps getting lower and lower.

    • Guest

      Amen, amen, amen…!!!

    • Patrick Goodson

      This city will never change until the citizens decide to change the structure of the city government and its focus. For most of my life this city has suffered from really bad regional planning. Because the city and county compete (and now against IL) for the same businesses, there are losses somewhere. We don’t need the number of alderman we have and there should be term limits on them.

      • kjohnson04

        And by extension, the number of municipalities in the county needs to seriously drop. City residents are paying for that waste by proxy.

  • Imran

    Interesting twist. I kinda like the idea of more stakeholders at that intersection with a ~24/7 presence. On the other hand, a historic rehab could also accommodate housing in the same location.