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Courtyard Apartment Buildings Gracefully Add Density

September 20, 2013 Featured, South City 6 Comments

St. Louis, like most cities, has a variety of housings types. I’m rather font fond of this type of apartment building.

5743 Chippewa was built in 1939
5743 Chippewa was built in 1939

It has 18 apartments, 6 one-bedroom & 12 two-bedroom, on a lot measuring 91 feet wide  x 120 feet deep. That’s 18 units on a quarter acre lot! To the west is apartments over commercial storefronts and to the west single family detached homes, all from the late 1930s.

These were new modern light-filled apartments, a contrast to the old tenement slums in the old part of the city. This was the suburban ideal at the time. You’re thinking it can’t be called “suburban” since it is in the city. Wrong, it was sub-urban compared to how flats were built decades earlier.

Many of these exist in St. Louis, north & south, as well as in the inner ring of suburbs. Though I’ve never lived in one, I enjoy seeing them as I pass by.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Agreed entirely! When we talk about new residential construction in St. Louis (ahem…Northside), it requires a healthy mix of building types — and courtyard apartments provide affordable options, density and variety in the street wall.

    I love my one-bedroom walk-up courtyard apartment — with a good property manager and responsible neighbors, you get as much peace, quiet and comfort as you would in a single-family unit.

  2. PeterXCV says:

    Which neighborhoods would be regarded as having such old slum tenements? Soulard?

  3. moe says:

    How is this different than having retail walled off from the main street? I think that courtyard complexes are good…in moderation. But where are the people? they go out the back and into their cars. They don’t provide retail pedestrian foot traffic out in front.

    • As we know not every street can have retail end to end, historically retail concentrated at the corners. But 18 units in the same space as 2.5 of the adjacent homes is a good start toward supporting corner retail, transit, active sidewalks.

      • moe says:

        Very true, but it also fails too. Look at the corner of Kingshighway and Chippewa. One corner is the Walgreens/Petsmart a.k.a. Famous Barr site, the other Applebees a.k.a. Southwest (or was it Southern)bank parking lot, the other a Jack Box a.k.a. I have no idea what was there before and the final corner is the apartment “complex” with retail consisting of a law traffic business, 3 or 4 cash advance places (why so many?????) and a bar. Behind the JinBox are other apartments which just received a complete rehab last year. Yet the corner as a whole lacks pedestrian and local retail….and has for some time.
        Follow Chippewa west to Hampton and it is lined with Apartment or multi-family units, yet very, very little pedestrian activity. They all park out back and drive. If they have cars. And true, part of the problem is the landlords…i.e. going for quick, easy rents….tenants with dubious backgrounds.


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