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Readers: New CWE Apartment Project Isn’t Too Much Density

July 12, 2017 Central West End, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on Readers: New CWE Apartment Project Isn’t Too Much Density

In the non-scientific Sunday Poll, an overwhelming majority of those who voted felt a new project wasn’t adding too much density. I agree. Much greater density would’ve been good too, but the number of units was limited by the amount of parking that could fit into the former 1-story warehouse. I applaud the developers for leaving a small storefront space along the street.

Along the public sidewalk you have no sense that a tower emerges from within.

 

The Milton is located at 4534 Olive.

Here are the poll results, the response was slightly higher than in recent weeks.

Q: Agree or disagree: Adding a 4-story tower w/30 apts to a 1-story warehouse is just too much density.

  • Strongly agree 2 [4.08%]
  • Agree 1 [2.04%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [2.04%]
  • Somewhat disagree 3 [6.12%]
  • Disagree 10 [20.41%]
  • Strongly disagree 30 [61.22%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [4.08%]

I’m curious about the few that do think it’s too much density.

From across Olive the tower is obvious.
Different angle
Another
With the tower set back from the front, the roof becomes common outdoor space for residents
You can easily see Olive when looking over the front parapet.

While I’m glad the front faced was reused, and I like modern contrasting with old — there’s something just not quite right about the new tower. It’s not displeasing, just not outstanding. Proportions and detailing — or lack of perhaps?

Opening night I entered unto the parking garage area, lots of concrete block walls to support the structure above. Pretty straightforward.

There were two interior details that were a miss — thresholds at each unit and out to each balcony.

The wrong interior threshold was used — both sides should have a beveled edge — these are a trip hazard or a major pain in a wheelchair.
And the huge step over to the outside is another area where these fall short. Try carrying a tray of drinks to guests with this tall step over.

So it’s not a perfect project, but it is a good example of how to retain a nice old facade while adding living space. In the next 5-20 years as fewer people own cars hopefully we’ll see less space & expense to accommodate car storage in new projects.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: One Hundred Should Do Better To Receive TIF Financing

December 21, 2016 Central West End, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on Opinion: One Hundred Should Do Better To Receive TIF Financing

Some are opposed to the proposed 36-story glass apartment building, called One Hundred, because it’s too tall and/or too modern. Sorry, neither are a valid reason to outright reject the project. Besides, there are many valid reasons to demand be changed.

The surface parking in the foreground is for the Chase. Across the alley is the site where the proposed One Hundred is to be built. May 2013 photo
The surface parking in the foreground is for the Chase. Across the alley is the site where the proposed One Hundred is to be built. May 2013 photo

First, the results of the non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: The proposed 36-story apartment building at Kingshighway & Pine, called One Hundred, should be approved without changes.

  • Strongly agree 17 [33.33%]
  • Agree 10 [19.61%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [5.88%]
  • Neither agree or disagreeii 3 [5.88%]
  • Somewhat disagree 5 [9.8%]
  • Disagree 4 [7.84%]
  • Strongly disagree 8 [15.69%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [1.96%]

Tax increment financing is a great tool to help pay for public infrastructure such as roads, utilities, sidewalks, traffic signals, etc. A TIF for rebuilding public infrastructure where the 22nd interchange is now, for example, makes sense. Millions on TIF financing for this privately-owned site in a high-end dense neighborhood makes zero sense. If development of this site impossible without a TIF? Unlikely.

A 5-story base with parking isn’t good for fostering pedestrian life. It’s boring to look at, and those are the floors where residents could keep an eye on the sidewalk for added safety. The one storefront is under 1,000 share feet. A tiny closet of a space. There should be thousands of square feet of retail space at this location. Parking shouldn’t be included in the rent, it should be unbundled so residents can see how expensive parking is. Enterprise CarShare has a vehicle nearby at the Argyle garage, but there should be one here that can be accessed by the public.

There should also be some affordable units — 10% for low-income people. That’s just 3 units. The area has a lot to offer, it shouldn’t be limited to the wealthy. Doesn’t surprise me that most would approve the project without change, but this attitude is why St. Louis will never recover.

 

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should A Proposed 36-Story Apartment Building Be Approved Without Changes?

December 18, 2016 Central West End, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should A Proposed 36-Story Apartment Building Be Approved Without Changes?
Please vote below
Please vote below

The surface parking lot at Kingshighway & Pine has been vacant since 1973, when the 7-story Buckingham Hotel was razed for surface parking for the St. Regis co-op, located across the alley.

One Hundred’s design has a 355-vehicle parking garage, including one level underground. In addition to parking, the building’s five-story base will have 882 square feet of shop space and 6,756 square feet of “amenity space.”

Eli Ungar, founder of Mac Properties, said about 40 percent of the apartments will have one bedroom. About 40 percent will have two bedrooms and the remainder will be divided equally between studio and three-bedroom units. Rents near $3 per square foot per month, high for St. Louis, are possible in a neighborhood as “exquisite” as the Central West End, he said. (Post-Dispatch)

The proposed building will have 305 apartments. It has caused a debate, so I want you to weigh in, here’s today’s poll:

The poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: After Millions in Tax Incentives, Has IKEA Been A Net Positive or Net Negative?

Please vote below
Please vote below

It has now been over a year since IKEA opened for business and it appears to be boosting tax receipts:

The Swedish retailer’s 63110 ZIP code saw a 40 percent spike in state sales tax revenue from October 2015 through June 2016 compared with the prior-year period, according to the latest available data from the Missouri Department of Revenue.

The period with Ikea generated $277 million in state sales tax revenue versus $197 million in the prior-year period without Ikea. (St. Louis Business Journal)

An increase of $80 million, though not all can be attributed to IKEA. It’s unclear now much additional revenue went to the City of St. Louis. But it didn’t come cheap, from February 2014:

Ikea’s plans to open a St. Louis store next year moved ahead Friday when a city panel voted to back a $32 million tax incentive for the project.

Members of the city’s Tax Increment Financing Commission voted unanimously to approve the subsidy. The vote also backed a separate $5.1 million subsidy for a residential building planned for an area just west of the Ikea site.

The Swedish furniture retailer has yet to specify the cost of its St. Louis store, planned for the southwest corner of Forest Park and Vandeventer avenues, but a spokesman said it will exceed $100 million.

The TIF projects are part of a $167.7 million TIF city officials approved for the Cortex bioscience district in 2012. The district is split into 10 TIF areas that must be activated individually as the area develops. (Post-Dispatch)

The store employees hundreds, each paying the 1% earnings tax.

The poll will be open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

A Sneak Peak Inside The Lofts @ 625 North Euclid

July 25, 2016 Central West End, Featured, Planning & Design, Real Estate Comments Off on A Sneak Peak Inside The Lofts @ 625 North Euclid

Two weeks ago I visited a building I’d been in many times before. The 6-story warehouse on the SW corner of Euclid & Delmar, known as the Euclid Plaza Building for decades, is being transformed into high-end apartments known as 625 Lofts at Euclid. I got a personal tour from the developers. I previously posted about this project in May, see: Delmar & Euclid Building Will Soon Have New Use As Apartments.

The following are gone:

  • The 70s/80s dated 2-story center lobby
  • Former offices, hallways, bathrooms, etc
  • The fixed windows
  • Freight elevator in SW corner of the building

The following were retained:

  • Three passenger elevators
  • Medicine Shoppe pharmacy

Three of five floors are finished, residents have begun moving in. We took a look at the display units, plus a couple units on a floor still being completed.

I was impressed with the quality/amount of cabinets, the finishes & appliances.
I was impressed with the quality/amount of cabinets, the finishes & appliances.
Units in the SW corner feature kitchens in the former freight elevator shaft, with exposed brick walls above the cabinets. The glass door + transom to the balcony wasn't installed yet.
Units in the SW corner feature kitchens in the former freight elevator shaft, with exposed brick walls above the cabinets. The glass door + transom to the balcony wasn’t installed yet.

Each unit is unique compared to others on the same floor. One bathroom featured a rain shower head, for example. Due to construction, we didn’t get up to the roof. When finished, it’ll be fully accessible, but it wasn’t yet when I visited. Interior parking is wisely unbundled — you pay extra if you need a parking space.

The developers say they’ve had no problems leasing the units, anticipate full occupancy despite rents on the high side. I think it’s important for cities to offer a variety of housing options — at a variety of price points. Purchase & rental.

They leased the rough surface parking lot to the East during construction, hopefully the Roberts brothers will develop it or sell to someone who will.
They leased the rough surface parking lot to the East during construction, hopefully the Roberts brothers will develop it or sell to someone who will.
625 N Euclid, on the left, with 6 floors, is about the same massing as the 8-story building to the North.
625 N Euclid, on the left, with 6 floors, is about the same massing as the 8-story building to the North.

After they get all the 82 residential units finished and occupied they’ll push for commercial tenants facing Euclid. Euclid & Delmar is a corner to watch. If you’re in the market for a nice apartment check out their website and visit the leasing office.

— Steve Patterson

 

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