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Zoning Hearing on Leather Trades Building

November 30, 2010 Downtown, Planning & Design, Real Estate, Zoning 6 Comments

img_1635The Leather Trades building at 16th & Locust is a handsome building in need of considerable work.  In January 2007 Pyramid Construction applied for a permit to build a display unit on the 2nd floor. On 9/6/07 I attended a party, hosted by Pyramid, in the completed display unit. At the time I lived in south St. Louis but in less than three months later I was moving into a loft across Locust St.  The following April Pyramid ceased operations.

ABOVE: Artist rendering from 2007
ABOVE: Artist rendering from 2007

Pyramid’s real estate holdings were eventually all turned over to other parties for development.  In July, after talking with Desiree Knapp of the team I tweeted that work would begin in September. But it didn’t.

img_1634However, on October 29th Paric Construction applied for a building permit with estimated costs of $10.5 million.  The permit was denied because of our antiquated zoning.  The property is zoned “I-Central Business District” which requires:

26.52.050 Area regulations.

There shall be a lot area of not less than two hundred and fifty (250) square feet for each dwelling unit up to and including eight (8) stories or one hundred (100) feet in height; thereafter there shall be provided a lot area of not less than one hundred (100) square feet for each additional dwelling unit above eight (8) stories or one hundred (100) feet in height. Sleeping rooms without cooking facilities shall have a lot area of not less than one hundred (100) square feet each. (Ord. 59979 § 14 (part), 1986.)

The building sits on a lot containing 16,601 square feet which would allow for 66 units under the zoning code.  In 2007 the plan was for 63 lofts.  I don’t know the number of units in the current plans.  The hearing where the developer’s appeal will be heard tomorrow (December 1, 2010) in Room 208 of City Hall at 1:30pm.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Eric Vineyard says:

    STL desperately needs to face 21st Century realities, as your post illustrates. Downtown has really become a mixed-use neighborhood, no longer purely a Central Business District. It reminds me of an issue one of my neighbors faced, recently, while trying to get solar panels approved in our historic neighborhood (Shaw). The panels would barely be visible from the street, but since they were being placed on an historic roof (one of the many Craftsman homes that line Magnolia Place), the CRO shot down the original proposal. After several support letters (including myself, our Alderman and the President of our housing corp.), the City granted the permit, with some revisions. I live in Shaw because it's historic. I want that character preserved. But, I also want enough flexibility to responsibly use alternative sources for energy. And, I think I speak for most of us in the neighborhood.

    • samizdat says:

      Solar PV. Drooool! How many Kw? Did they also install solar water heater? That will be our first major (daydreaming here) alternate energy plant project for the house. Better short-term return. Though I admit that having at least a couple of Kw of backup for power outages is not a bad idea.

  2. JZ71 says:

    63 units divided by 7 upper floors equals 9 units per floor, assuming the ground floor becomes/remains non-residential. And, as I remember the 2007 plan, parking was provided in the basement. Since you/we don't know what the developer is appealling (number of units? number of parking spaces? building height? something else?), it's really not fair to blame the denial on “antiquated zoning”. There could realy be something inapropriate being proposed, since the public notice has few actual details . . .

  3. Margie says:

    And don't forget the all-important political contributions. Without zoning variances needed, how will we know whom to pay?

  4. Robby Dodson says:

    I'll start the Rosary vigil outside the hearing…As long as the developer is not proposing a sewing floor with housing for 875 day laborers on the upper floors, I personaly need this project to go…I live over in Blu Cityspaces and the Leather Trades renovation would complete a safe, walkable corridor from my building to Wash Ave…And while not artsy myself, if the original plan to market towards artists still holds, I think overall living experience in DT West would go up…

  5. JZ71 says:

    From the 12/17 Post-Dispatch/http://www.stltoday.com: “St. Louis artists to get new lofts in Leather Trades building” . . . “a project to convert an old downtown St. Louis warehouse into loft apartments marketed exclusively to artists.”


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