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Apartments planned for west side of downtown St. Louis

Downtown St. Louis ApartmentsPlanned or underway are rehabs of old buildings — including a firehouse — that would add more than 200 apartments on the west side of downtown.

Work began early this year to redo a 126-year-old brick warehouse built for drying tobacco as 87 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Sherman Associates, a housing developer based in Minneapolis, hopes to complete the project at 1900 Pine Street in December.

Planned projects yet to get underway in the area are:

• Sovereign Partners’ renovation of the vacant, four-story commercial building at 1701 Locust Street as 57 market-rate apartments and nearly 2,100 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

• Millennial Realty’s proposal to construct 86 apartments in adjacent buildings at 2030 Delmar Boulevard and 2035 Lucas Avenue.

• Rehab of a former city firehouse at 2000 Washington Avenue by Leela LLC as five second-floor apartments and commercial space in the area firetrucks once used.

All of the pending projects — with a total cost of more than $24 million — rely on tax abatement from the city and historic preservation tax credits.

Sherman Associates’ $10.5 million project, called Station Plaza, also uses state and federal low-income housing tax credits, which will allow the developer to offer below-market rents, according to the company. Monthly rents will be as low as $525 for a studio apartment.

Renovation of the six-story building near Union Station is obliterating offices put into the now-vacant building in the 1980s.

Liggett & Meyers Tobacco Co. completed the building in 1889 as a warehouse to dry chewing tobacco. According to documentation for the building’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the building had a key role in what was then the city’s thriving tobacco industry.

The apartment parking would be in the basement of 1701 Locust and in another building the New York-based real estate investor owns across the street. Also planned are a club room, a fitness room and streetscapes with new sidewalks and trees. The projected cost is $9.3 million.

Valerie Doleman, Sherman Associates’ spokeswoman, said rents approaching $2.50 per square foot are needed to support construction costs. She said the vicinity of 1900 Pine supports less than half that rate, hence the need for public incentives, including housing tax credits.

Regardless, Sovereign Partners, of New York, is proposing market-rate apartments with monthly rents as high as $1,071 at 1701 Locust, also known as the Dragon Trading building, according to documents submitted to St. Louis development officials.

The $14.2 million project would have 57 one-bedroom apartments and 29 two-bedroom units. A Sovereign Partners principal did not respond to requests for information about the project.

Across Locust, the company also owns the nearly vacant, eight-story Butler Brothers building, which covers the entire block. A plan to outfit the century-old warehouse with about 350 apartments and nearly 400 garage parking spaces has yet to proceed.

The side of downtown west past 14th Street has many empty old commercial structures, but some residential redevelopment is creeping out from the downtown core. Doleman said restaurants and stores will tag along. “As Station Plaza and other proposed developments stabilize, convenience retail and restaurants will soon follow,” she said.

Combined, the projects on Pine, Locust, Delmar and Washington would add 235 apartments to the area.

The Delmar proposal includes 95 parking spaces. An official of Millennial Realty Group, which is behind the project, did not respond to requests for additional information.

A representative of Leela LLC, owner of the old firehouse at 2000 Washington, was unavailable for comment. The construction cost is estimated at $650,000, according documents filed with the city.

Completed in 1892 as Engine House 32, the two-story building is constructed of Missouri granite, red brick and sandstone.

Getting the building on the National Register of Historic Places would qualify it for historic preservation tax credits. Whether to recommend the firehouse for the register is on the agenda of Friday’s meeting of the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Brad Beggs, a principal at consulting firm Development Strategies, said the four apartment projects would not produce an oversupply in the area if they open at different times. He said the area could likely absorb about 100 new apartments per year. But rising construction costs without a corresponding rise in rents necessitate continued use of incentives, he said.

“The good thing about what is being proposed is that these are projects at different (rent) levels,” Beggs said.

If developers can hold rents to about $1,000 or less, the downtown west area could become “about as cool as you can get” in the central corridor, he added. More people in various types of housing would enliven the area, he said. “It’s the way a downtown should be, with all the people living down there,” Beggs said.

Andrew Weil, executive director of Landmarks Association of St. Louis, said downtown’s core is running out of old, midsized buildings available for residential conversion. Most not torn down for parking are already converted, he said.

“It’s nice to see things moving west,” Weil said. “Regardless of what a building is being used for, it’s being prepared for a new life. That’s the essence of adaptive reuse.”

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, by Tim Bryant



Apartments coming to 125-year-old St. Louis building built as warehouse for drying tobacco

By: Tim Bryant, St. Louis Post-DispatchDowntown St. Louis Apartments

In downtown St. Louis, a 125-year-old brick warehouse built for drying tobacco is about to undergo conversion as apartments.

Sherman Associates, a housing developer based in Minneapolis, is behind the undertaking. Paul Keenan, a Sherman Associates manager, said work on the project — called Station Plaza — will begin by mid-January.

The six-story building near Union Station, at 1900 Pine Street, will get a total interior rehab as 87 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The $10.5 million construction job will obliterate offices put into the now-vacant building in the 1980s.

Key to the new project are state and federal low-income housing tax credits, plus state and federal historic preservation tax credits, Keenan said. The project also has from the city 15 years of property tax abatement.

Housing tax credits are especially valuable to Station Plaza because they allow Sherman Associates to offer below-market rents, Keenan said. He noted that Station Plaza is several blocks west of downtown’s higher-rent, more densely populated area.

Monthly rents for Station Plaza’s studio apartments will be $525. One-bedroom apartments will rent for $650 while two-bedroom units will go for $780. All the apartments will carry income restrictions for residents, who generally may earn no more than 60 percent of the area’s median annual individual or family income to qualify as tenants. (Median family income is $67,100 in the city; 60 percent for a family of four is $40,260. An individual’s adjusted income would be $28,200.)

Keenan said Station Plaza should be ready for occupancy by Jan. 1, 2016. The project includes space for 127 vehicles on a parking lot next to the building.

Royal Bank of Canada is putting $6.9 million in Station Plaza through the federal housing and historic preservation tax credits. Sugar Creek Capital, of Webster Groves, is investing $2.15 million in state housing tax credits, Keenan said.

Sherman Associates, whose historic preservation projects include the Syndicate Apartments at 915 Olive Street, said the old tobacco warehouse on Pine is a smart investment.

“There’s definitely some good economic activity going on in that part of St. Louis,” Keenan said.

The developer bought the building in 2014 from R&P Realty for about $1.6 million.

Liggett & Meyers Tobacco Co. completed the building in 1889 as a warehouse to dry chewing tobacco. According to documentation for the building’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, the building had a key role in what was once the city’s thriving tobacco industry. Its unaltered exterior puts it among the city’s best preserved and sophisticated examples of 1880s industrial architecture, according to the report done by the Landmarks Association of St. Louis.

The city’s 19th-century tobacco industry was so strong that by 1897, Liggett & Meyers moved its headquarters from downtown to a larger complex in what is known now as the Botanical Heights neighborhood. The company retained 1900 Pine as a tobacco “drying house” for several more years.

Succeeding owners used the building to store plumbing supplies or to house light industry. In the 1930s, buildings just south of the old warehouse were demolished to make way for Aloe Plaza.

Keenan said Sherman Associates has no immediate plan for another St. Louis project but is scouting for opportunities.

“We are always looking in St. Louis, given the inventory of historic buildings,” he said.


Additional Condos Coming to the Marquette Building

314 N. Broadway Condo for Sale - Marquette BuildingFrom the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A rebound in the downtown St. Louis condo market is prompting the Lawrence Group to convert the remaining rentals in its Marquette Building, at 314 North Broadway.

Steve Smith, Lawrence Group’s president, said Wednesday that 36 Marquette apartments are going on the market as condos.


Sales begin Saturday. One unit has a $99,000 price as a way to get potential buyers in the door. Most of the condos — which are on floors five through nine — are priced from $150,000 to $225,000.

Smith says all of the Marquette’s 79 existing condos are occupied.

And 10 more units are coming to the building. They will be built on the two floors the Marquette YMCA vacated two years ago. Some of that space will be redone as workout space for building residents.

Contact The Agency today to set up a private showing of the Marquette Building or and other buildings in Downtown St. Louis.


Demolition of Cupples 7 Warehouse in Downtown St. Louis

Cupples 7 DemolitionWhile many last minute attempts were made to save the historic Cupples 7 warehouse in Downtown St. Louis from demolition, the building met its fate yesterday as crews started to demolish the building.  Over the years several plans had emerged to rehab the building and convert it to offices, lofts or a mixed-use development.  The real estate and economic collapse of 2008 along with the poor condition of the building made any attempt financially impossible.  The city had issued a demolition permit due to the instability of the structure and the threat that it could eventually collapse on its own.  The building should be completely demolished by Thursday evening.



Northside TIF Hearings to Restart

Clemens Home Northside Regeneration

Hearings for the long delayed Northside Regeneration project start today.  The size and purpose of the Northside TIF has not changed, but meetings are needed for some changes due to the long delay since they were previously approved in 2009.  The project will remake nearly 2 square miles of North St. Louis over the next 20 years.  The $390 million TIF (Tax Increment Financing) will fund improvements to the streets, sewers and other infrastructure in the project area.  The developer, Paul Mc Kee, hopes to start work in the beginning of 2014 by focusing on infrastructure improvements, building several dozen new homes and by attracting new industrial and retail tenants to the project.




Chesterfield Blue Valley – New Mixed Use Development Coming to Chesterfield


Plans are in the works for a new development in Chesterfield Valley.  The project, Chesterfield Blue Valley, is adjacent to the St. Louis Premium Outlets that are set to open in two months.  The $300 million Chesterfield Blue Valley project will cover 73 acres with offices, restaurants, non-outlet stores and a hotel.



Lawrence Group to Invest $11 million in Sun Theater Renovation

1The Lawrence Group is starting an $11 million project to renovate the Sun Theater on Grandel Square in Midtown for the Grand Center Arts Academy.  The project is receiving $4 million in Federal and State Historic Tax Credits.  

From the Post-Dispatch:

“The theater opened in 1913 as the Gernlan Theatre — a home for German-speaking stock companies, according to the National Register nomination. It describes the facade as “a treasure at human scale.”

Other accounts say the hall opened as the German-language Victor Theater.

Closed during World War I, the theater reopened afterward as The Liberty. Over the years, vaudeville, burlesque, night club and evangelical church acts played on the stage.

In 1950, according to Post-Dispatch files, the building became the Sun, “a motion picture theater for Negroes.” The theater also was known for a time as the Lyn.

It once seated 1,500 people. Capacity will be reduced to about 700 after the Lawrence Group converts much of the balcony to three classrooms with tiered seating.

Kuntze and Smith said the Sun’s auditorium will be available for rent to outside groups for events and performances. Smith said the Sun will be a smaller venue that Grand Center needs.

“It’s a mini-Fox and a mini-Powell,” he said.”




Plan Emerges to Save Cupples 7

519ffe16005bd.preview-300While demolition permits have been issued, a new plan is emerging that could possibly save the crumbling Cupples 7 warehouse building in Downtown St. Louis.  The potential project faces an approval deadline of June 7 to save the building.  Vertical Realty Advisors is working on a $40 million project to redevelop the building that was once slated to be redeveloped into condos before the housing market collapsed.  Vertical Realty is also working on a plan to redevelop the vacant Municipal Courts building at 1320 Market Street into offices and restaurants.


Northside Work to Start this Fall

51af86fa9c663.preview-620The long delayed Northside Regeneration project led by developer Paul McKee is expected to start by November.  In April, the Missouri Supreme Court to approve the $400 Million TIF (Tax Increment Financing) package approved by the City of Saint Louis.  The plan will eventually redevelop 1,500 acres of the long neglected 5th Ward just north of Downtown.  You can read more about the latest developments in the project here.


Missouri Historic Preservation Tax Credits – Where do they go?


As the battle over Missouri Historic Preservation tax credits of all kinds continues in Jefferson City, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Building Blocks blog reviewed the last 21 months’ worth of historic tax credit authorizations, back through the July 1, 2011, the start of the state’s 2012 fiscal year. Many of these projects are under construction right now. In that time, buildings in 18 counties in every corner of the state were authorized for historic credits, from St. Joseph to Cape Girardeau, Hannibal to Joplin. But the overwhelming majority of historic tax credit projects were located in two places: Jackson County and the City of St. Louis. Those two counties combined for 201 of the 237 authorizations since July 2011, and absorbed 90 percent of the dollars — $148.4 million out of $168.4 million that was authorized. Most of that went to projects in the City of St. Louis.  Read more here.


Stamping Lofts to Open in Downtown St. Louis!


Stamping Lofts St. Louis

The Stamping Lofts just north of Downtown St. Louis opened on Wednesday.  Developer Craig Heller is behind the project of 56 low-income studio apartments in what had been the St. Louis Stamping Co. building, constructed in 1870. The housing is part of a development called FarmWorks, which will focus on aquaponics, hydroponics, vermiculture and vertical growing systems.  Read more here.


Street Cars Could Generate $2 Billion in Economic Development to St. Louis


The proposed streetcar line that would link Downtown to the Central West End with an additional line to the Near North Side could result in $2 billion in economic development over 20 years as reported by the Post-Dispatch. A similar line will be built along the Delmar Loop in University City and St. Louis City.


Streetcars Could be coming to Downtown and the Central West End

512bdb92199fd.preview-620As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a public meeting will be held at the Moto Museum to discuss the possibility of building a streetcar line that would run from the Central West End to Downtown St. Louis, with an additional line that would include North St. Louis along Florissant Ave. A feasibility study has already been conducted and leaders are hoping to conduct an environmental impact study soon. The line would run mainly along Olive and would link Downtown, Midtown, and the Central West End and could spur development along the fixed track lines. The line along Florissant could help to rebuild the once vibrant area – along with Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration plan. Studies in other parts of the country have indicated that property values along trolley lines can increase as a result of the investment.


Meeting will Update Public to Progress of City | Arch | River Project

cityarchriver-3bOn Thursday at America’s Center a meeting open to the public will be help to give an update from the City|Arch|River 2015 Foundation and its $550 million project to improve the river front on both the Missouri and Illinois side of the Mississippi River. $380 million of that will go towards improvements on the Missouri side that will include: connecting the Arch grounds with Downtown St. Louis via a “park over the highway”, improving the Old Courthouse, improving the Museum of Westward Expansion and raising Leonor K Sullivan Boulevard to bring it out of the flood plain and add amenities for residents and tourists. For more information check out this article from the STL Beacon.


More Growth for St. Charles County in 2013

4c892eb5ccf05.preview-300An article in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch has great news for St. Charles County. Last year the county’s economy lead the region with a jobless rate declining to 5.3% in December 2012, 2.3 million square feet of new commercial, industrial and retail development, and nearly 1500 new homes built. This year could be even better as the rest of the St. Louis region continues to pull out of the recession.

Want to get the latest on St. Charles real estate? Contact The Agency STL today!