Compton Hill Apartments Moving Forward

After a lengthy process of approvals, permit applications were submitted last week for an $18.6 million building permit to construct a 5-story, 124-unit apartment building on the site of the abandoned YMCA at 2232-56 South Grand Blvd. Altus Properties is the developer and owner of the apartment project. HOK is the architect.


Previous iterations of the plan had included 116 units. The current plan now adds eight more units plus a masonry northern facade, which will be visible from Grand and from Compton Heights. Fiber cement board accents on the west-facing Grand facade are now masonry as well. The developer purchased the property for $1.8 million in January 2016 after an earlier proposal by First & Main Properties and TR,i Architects fell through. Parking will be on a surface lot in back.





Renovation of the adjacent Pelican Building — began in earnest in September. The historic structure will house a Domino’s Pizza. MBR Management owns 81 Domino’s franchise locations in Missouri and Illinois.

Both properties are located in the Compton Hill Local Historic District. The city’s Preservation Board approved the design for the new apartment building last April. The YMCA building had been approved for demolition in 2006, before the recession brought development to a near standstill. In its more recent April 2017 decision, the Board required issuance of a building permit before demolition could proceed.

Correction: Altus Properties is the developer and owner of the apartment project, not MBR South Grand Property LLC as previously stated.

  • Thomas Crone

    As the co-owner of a business located just blocks from this development, I’m excited about the viability of this project and the likelihood of 150-200 new residents within walking distance.

  • Dominic Ricciotti

    A unique and exciting design.

  • Imran

    I shall try harder to like this design.

    • Dominic Ricciotti

      When first announced this design provoked much commentary, ranging from the extremes of pro and con. To my mind this is probably the most distinctive apartment design to ever appear on this site. It is deceptively simple, but what makes it so stunning is the design’s unique fenestration, consisting of pairs and quartets of windows: some paired windows are separated while others are joined and both types form quartets. The complexity of the fenestration is made even more memorable by the irregular rhythmical articulation of all the wall openings, from the patterns of windows which alternate with the sunken balconies (like the loggias of Italian palazzo or the street level arcades along Paris’s Rue de Rivoli). All too often projecting box-like balconies appear like un-integrated add-ons.
      The alternating rhythmicality is evident both vertically and horizontally. And the terraces open to the sky on part of the uppermost story are a brilliant culminating touch echoed by the hollowed corner on the opposite (left) side. What a contrast to the neo-Tudor styling of the apartment block across Grand, the urbanistic saving grace of which hugs the street.

  • John

    I am okay with the modern aesthetic of the building, but I do think earthtones would warm up the starkness and coldness of the structure. Why only have brick masonry on two sides, when all elevations could benefit from better building materials?

    This is a noisy area, so it would be prudent to include soundproofing and thick windows to block the noise from traffic, etc. Overall, it is nice to see a decent repurposing of this site in a neighborhood that deserves only the best.

  • Daniel Schmidt

    So with the increased number of apt buildings being built/rehabbed what are the chances of a slight population increase in the 2020 census?

    • Presbyterian

      It’s hard to say. The city’s population decline 2000-10 was almost all a drop in school age children. Since 2010, St. Louis Public School District enrollment has dropped by another 2,500 students. A lot of 2-familiy homes have been converted to single family, and board-ups continue on the north side. It’s unclear whether new construction will make up for those losses.

      • Daniel Schmidt

        Yeah, and all that is true. I think it at least looks like there might be some hope though. Even if not, all this construction of new housing units is a real positive trend.

  • JCougar

    Much better than the previous “frogger game” design. The changes are not huge, but they make a big difference from an aesthetic perspective.

  • Grove Res

    Cool to see HOK starting to have a broader presence in their hometown again. For a while it seemed like they only did mega projects like hospitals, airports, and universities.