This past fall, I had the opportunity to develop a conceptual 40-unit multi-family project at the intersection of Jefferson, Chippewa, and Broadway. Focusing on neighborhood gateways and nodes, I proposed a 58,000 square foot mixed-income residential development to bridge St. Louis’ intra-dense neighborhoods and their lower-activity edges.
In South St. Louis, some of the most in-tact, urban neighborhoods continue to grow. Though largely stable, they too have suffered from the effects of auto-centric planning, white flight, and disinvestment in the core.
Roads, like Jefferson Avenue and Broadway, that outline South St. Louis neighborhoods have lost their building stock to demolition and parking-lot replacement. Subsequently, huge gaps are left in these neighborhoods. Walk or bike down Jefferson Avenue, and it seems that almost every intersection–from Chouteau to Chippewa–is interrupted by car development: gas station, oil-change, car wash, auto sales, repeat. These speedways, such as Gravois and Jefferson, are hardly reflective of the neighborhoods they border. Turn the corner to Gravois Park, Lafayette Square, and we see people-centered community life: small businesses, parks, art, and an abundant diversified housing stock.
So, as St. Louis neighborhoods see some increased residential demand, we might start to look at these main corridors as a way to bridge neighborhood guts and their extremities. Approachability and ease being themes here, we can redevelop hubs that anchor the dense neighborhood life.
The North-South Metro transit expansion was a key part in determining the project scope. With a station at Chippewa & Jefferson, this maximizes access to the region’s job centers and adjacent neighborhoods. Included is a community ground floor, harboring retail nooks and a central lobby for passengers awaiting buses and trains.
As Gravois Park and Dutchtown grow, it’s important to include housing types that both reflect its current makeup, and support its future. The neighborhoods around the intersection have done great work incorporating a mix of unit types: low-income, micro-unit space, and market-rate development. This new building proposal aims to mimic the equitable approach for all income levels by including low-income and market rate units.
Pictured below, a graphic depicting who has access to what housing and what they make in a year given socio-economic data and rule-of-thumb for housing affordability for Gravois Park. Following housing cost trends in Tower Grove and Benton Park, some units in Gravois Park could become unattainable for neighborhood residents. Housing affordability must be a priority in the area to avoid displacement.
The 58,000 square foot project consists of 40 units (20 studios, 5 one-beds, 7 two-beds, & 8 three-beds).
Though this is an idealistic student project, I hope we see more hard work and development in St. Louis’ neighborhoods. The conversation regarding N-S transit expansion is ongoing.
Here is another concept for the area that appeared in the Northside/Southside TOD Corridor Study