Lux Living has revised their proposal for the 1000 block of South Kingshighway in the Forest Park Southeast (FPSE) neighborhood. The architect is VE Design. FPSE NA will hold a neighborhood meeting to discuss the new revision June 21st at 6:30 pm. A PDF with more details and drawings is posted on the FPSE website.
NextSTL – Lux Living Proposal for Oakland and Kingshighway
The new revision is the same seven stories, 85 feet above ground with two levels of parking below grade. The unit count has increased to 155 from 144 apartments. The unit breakdown is 62 studios, 83 one bedrooms, and 20 two bedrooms for a total of 175 bedrooms, up from 155. There are 155 parking spaces within, the maximum allowed by the FPSE Form Based Code (FBC). There are also 30 bike parking spaces in the garage.
NextSTL – Progressive Urban Planning Taking Root in Forest Park Southeast
The building has a C shape much like that of Chelsea on Pershing in DeBaliviere Place. Whereas before the pool was at the northeast corner, it now faces Kingshighway so it wouldn’t face the neighborhood. About a third of the apartments have balconies. There would be a fitness center, spa, ground level outdoor patio, poolside amenities probably like that at Chelsea, and a skylounge on the top floor at the northeast corner probably like that at Hudson with views of downtown.
Instead of entering the garage from the alley, now the design has an entrance in line with the Oakland intersection and a right-only exit to northbound Kingshighway. This was a desire by some neighbors to keep car traffic off of the 4500 block of Oakland, even though it would variolate the FBC, thus requiring a zoning variance. Lux was trying to avoid needing any variances, reducing the number of potential road blocks to start construction.
The building is deeper with the alley being moved to the east. Immediately to the east for the southern half and to the side lot of 4562 Arco for the northern half. Something to get clarification on is whether they intend to demo 4570 Arco because the site plan overlaps it a bit. I don’t think so, otherwise they would have put the alley there. The alley moving is a bit awkward because Lux already sold off the properties it acquired from Drury east of the existing alley to Daz Properties LLC. Perhaps a part of the deal was the right to execute this alley reconfiguration if needed.
There have been changes in materials and color palette since the last revision, notably red brick to better match the neighborhood.
Seven existing buildings fronting Kingshighway would be razed to make way for the new building. The demolitions go to the Cultural Resources Office for review and to the Preservation Board. FPSE has no historic ordinance covering new construction, so neither CRO nor the PB will consider the new design, just the demolitions. Neighborhood and Aldermanic support are helpful when going before the Preservation Board (or any city board). It is expected to be on the agenda of the June 27th Preservation Board meeting.
They would like to commence construction the first quarter of 2023 and an 18-month completion duration.
Lux Living has seen an increase in push back on proposals and media attention lately. The St. Louis Post Dispatch (Lux Living is one of the biggest developers in St. Louis. But it courts controversy, Lux Living owners control Ely Walker building where shooting, parties have drawn city scrutiny, Lux Living lawyer subpoenas Hudson tenant who spoke to Post-Dispatch) and St. Louis Public Radio (Local developer Lux Living draws criticism for business practices) have covered Lux and sister company City Wide’s controversies. Lux has been doing battle with the SLDC for a tax abatement for Hudson (St. Louis agency may consider tax break for developer that sued city, competitor). Lux proposals for the Optimist Building and the Engineer’s Club building in the CWE have been denied by the Preservation Board.
A request for tax abatement on a proposal in Kansas City was denied (KCUR Lux Living failed to disclose SEC settlement, lawsuits in bid for Kansas City riverfront project, KC Star After more pushback, Port KC says no to St. Louis developer’s riverfront apartment plan). The lawsuit by the DeBaliviere Place Commercial Association, reconstituted and run by Lux principals, against Expo at Forest Park delayed the start of construction in 2020 and stalled it for about three months in 2021 is still unresolved. The scheduled trial date this month is going to be rescheduled.
And now with the Federal indictments of Alds Jeffrey Boyd, John Collins-Muhammad, and BoA President Lewis Reed, none of which involved Lux mind you, tax incentives and campaign contributions surrounding all developments in the city are getting more scrutiny. See the article below for a recitation of campaign donations.
NextSTL – Opinion: We must start vetting developers
If you are a FPSE or Kings Oak resident, be sure to attend the meeting on June 21st.