DeBaliviere Place Construction Check-In

DeBaliviere Place is one of St. Louis’ fastest-growing neighborhoods, home to one of the most dense residential populations in the region. With a unique mix of historic brick architecture, dense multi-family dwellings, and even some single-family interspersed throughout, the neighborhood can often feel like it was taken right out of a New York City borough. While St. Louis architecture is certainly different from elsewhere in the country, DeBaliviere Place feels special in that there are people everywhere who reside in the many tall apartment buildings. Some of the larger buildings have also been converted to condos, helping create an opportunity for ownership even in a high-demand area. A walk along Pershing Ave showcases the diverse, often young residents who utilize the MetroLink light rail system just around the corner at the intersection of DeBaliviere and Forest Park Parkway. Indeed, this is a transit reliant neighborhood, quite suitable for the young professionals and students who make up a significant portion of the population.

With a light rail station that also happens to be the main transfer stop between the red and blue lines, this area is a prime candidate for TOD – otherwise known as Transit-Oriented Development. TOD is critical for encouraging a healthier, more active lifestyle that reduces reliance on cars. While St. Louis has been making progress encouraging such development over the past several years, perhaps the best example of effective TOD resides right here in the DeBaliviere Place neighborhood. Pearl Companies and LuxLiving are transforming the intersection, adding hundreds of residential apartment units and commercial storefronts – including a grocery store – just adjacent to the MetroLink station.


We covered this development last year and even featured it in our 2020 Top 10 article. Now that construction is well underway, we are excited to share some recent construction photos of the two major projects and other neighborhood assets and architecture.

Of the developments underway along DeBaliviere Ave., the Expo at Forest Park is easily the largest. Pearl Companies is using Trivers and HOK architects to create two large structures divided by DeGiverville Ave. comprising of nearly 300 apartments and around 30,000 square feet of retail, including a grocery store. The renderings in the gallery below showcase about what St. Louisans can expect when the project is complete.

While the project is still far from complete, wood framing has begun and is steadily progressing. The steel beams are also visible from those driving along Forest Park Parkway. The scale of this development is truly massive, and should the Loop Trolley ever rise from the dead, it will find much of its stretch to become a lot more interesting.

Expo at Forest Park looking North – Brian Adler

Just across the street from the Expo at the Park sits The Hudson, developer LuxLiving’s nearly complete residential apartment building. The crane just came down (inconveniently right after my photos), indicating that the rest of the work that needs to take place is related to exterior finishes and interior amenities. The structure is just about complete.

The Hudson is set to offer about 150 apartments in a package that LuxLiving claims will be just as modern, if not even more so, as the recently completed Chelsea just down Pershing Ave. We released a “First Look” of the Chelsea building earlier this year, and the amenities on offer are certainly unique for the St. Louis area. The Hudson will also offer ground-floor retail, helping further activate the intersection sitting just next to the MetroLink stop. The renderings below showcase what we can expect when the development is complete.

The Hudson at night

These photos below showcase just how large the presence of the building will be. With that said, there is already significant density along the Pershing corridor within DeBaliviere place. Most structures are at least 3 stories tall, with others rising to nearly a dozen as you get closer to Union Blvd. Rather, the intersection at DeBaliviere and Pershing was the exception to the existing density until these developments were proposed – despite their proximity to transit.

The Hudson – Brian Adler

By Fall, this intersection should look and feel dramatically different. However, longtime residents will still find the same historic and lively feel that has long existed within the DeBaliviere area. Most buildings in the neighborhood date back to near the 1904 World’s Fair, and a walk down Pershing reveals some of the finest architecture in the city. There are mixed uses as well, with small fitness businesses, dance studios, and even restaurants like Mack’s Bar and Grill and PuraVegan Café. The photos just below show just how gorgeous one street in the large community is. If you haven’t visited the neighborhood over the past few years, you may be surprised at just how well it holds up today.

Jefferson Arms Apartments Downtown Moving Forward – Reviving the Historic, Abandoned Building

Downtown St. Louis’ residential revival is moving at a very quick pace. While the urban core of the St. Louis region has its difficulties, residential occupancy is not one of them. The 2019 Downtown Residential Occupancy Report indicates that there is a 92.4% overall occupancy rate, with a 23% 5-year population growth. These numbers are staggering and reflect a Downtown with a strengthening residential component, creating a more mixed-use neighborhood.

Figure provided in the 2019 Downtown Residential Occupancy Report

Developers have been quick to notice Downtown’s residential growth and limited availability, completing dense new infill like at One Cardinal Way and proposing hundreds of new units on Washington Ave. and Spruce St. For Downtown St. Louis, a neighborhood that has a history of residential, commercial, and hotel abandonment, the recent decade has been one of significant revitalization as it works to recover its status as a 24/7, vibrant community.

Developer Alterra Worldwide is working on one of the larger proposals for Downtown STL with the Jefferson Arms Apartments, located at 415 N Tucker on the Western edge of Downtown. The building has a long history, first having opened to the public the day before the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis under the name Hotel Jefferson. The hotel hosted two Democratic National Conventions in the early 1900s, and for years offered luxury rooms and events to St. Louisans. After having been sold to different hotel chains a few times in the mid-1900s, it was converted to elderly residences in the late 1970s.

Google Maps view of Downtown St. Louis and the location of the Jefferson Arms building

The Jefferson Arms building has over a century of history and importance not just to the St. Louis area, but to the country as a whole and those who visited St. Louis at the height of its national reputation. In 2003, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, unfortunately just a few years before it would become vacant. In 2006, another developer, Pyramid Construction, emptied the building for planned condominiums, which never came to be. Since 2006, the building has remained vacant and deteriorated overtime, making the building one of the largest empty, abandoned buildings in Downtown.


Alterra Worldwide acquired the Jefferson Arms building in 2017, but has since received considerable criticism for its anti-union stance with construction and significant delays in their proposed timeline. It has since resolved its labor dispute in late 2020, and received an extension from the City of St. Louis as it appears they just may be ready to gear up for construction soon. The City is giving Alterra until 2025 to wrap up their renovation, which is expected to cost just over $100 million.

UPDATE (2.21.2021): Media officials with connections to Alterra Worldwide have confirmed that all taxes owed have been completely paid to the city. There is not a tax burden remaining. Mayor Krewson confirmed today to Missouri-Metro that she required all taxes be paid before signing the Board Bill.

Alterra Worldwide is also hoping to help finance the proposal with a CID (Community Improvement District) and TDD (Transportation Development District), which would ensure that a small tax would incur for purchases made on the property, or sometimes just around the property, to aid the developers with large redevelopment costs. On December 16, a Board of Aldermen panel approved the proposal 7-1, with Alderman Cara Spencer being the only dissenting vote. On January 15, the full BOA approved the project, also granting the developers $17.3 million in TIFs (Tax-Incremented Financing). As the St. Louis Business Journal reports, the developer still owes multiple years of property taxes on the building to the city, totaling just over $119,000. However, the developer has paid some of their prior tax burden now, which previously totaled around $230,000.


If this project does finally move ahead, it will offer a mixed conclusion for a huge, historic building. While the end result will certainly salvage a building that the city should absolutely preserve, the developer has shown it is struggling to bring the project to fruition, amidst their friction with organized labor and their tax burden. The project is only possible with quite a lot of financing provided by the city, at least according to the developers, and while it will eventually likely make up for the cost in eventual property and sales taxes, it is an investment with a large burden upon the city and its residents.

That said, revitalizing the city’s urban core likely will remain a top priority for St. Louis officials, and there is no doubt that significant progress has already been made to that end. Downtown St. Louis is the key to preserving an economically competitive, vibrant, and historic city, and regardless of the friction on this project, added density to the tune of 239 apartments and a 198-room Marriott branded hotel will bring life to a section of Downtown that certainly needs it.


Vaccinations in St. Louis County all but Nonexistent

With nearly 1,600 deaths in St. Louis County from COVID-19 to date, and over 78,000 cumulative COVID positive cases, a vaccine couldn’t come sooner. While restrictions and mask mandates were proven to reduce infections according to a SLU study released last November, the virus is now spreading relentlessly through community transmission.

While social-distancing and mask-wearing are the most effective methods of preventing transmission of the virus until we reach herd immunity through vaccination, some County residents are encouraging risky behavior. Restrictions on youth sports imposed by County Executive Sam Page and the County Health Department were vigorously protested, even outside of Page’s home. Many of the protestors, captured in a photo by Cheyenne Boone at the St. Louis Post Dispatch, can be seen not wearing masks.

Protestors at County Executive Sam Page’s Residence.

Cheyenne Boone – St. Louis Post Dispatch (link)

Similarly, many restaurants sued the County following a ban on indoor dining, recounting the difficulties of keeping a restaurant afloat during a Pandemic and the potential for job losses in an industry already known for low-margins and high risk. Over 40 restaurants participated in the lawsuit, with a few choosing to remain open despite the order, forcing shut-downs by County Health officials.


As the few tools for combatting transmission that local governments have begun to wear off, the vaccine is becoming even more important for public health. In December, Operation Warp Speed and Missouri officials were publicly confident that the state would receive up to 350,000 doses of the remarkably effective vaccines. These vaccines will be spread across the State at many health centers that are individually responsible for getting shots into peoples’ arms.

To date, St. Louis County reported that it has received just 975 doses of the vaccine, despite the eligibility standards for Missouri being lowered to individuals 65 and older with chronic health conditions by Governor Parson. There are now over 170,000 residents of the County registered to receive the vaccine, with no shots available. While County officials expect they may receive more doses Tuesday, the number is unknown, following a pattern of Operation Warp Speed officials being unclear or downright wrong about vaccine shipments.

St. Louis County has a population of nearly 1 million, and even if each of the residents registered for a vaccine receives one in the coming months, the County will still be far off from herd immunity. Federal health officials including Dr. Fauci anticipate that it may take over 90% of the population to reach the desired level of herd immunity to bring back some semblance of normalcy and to eliminate community transmission.


Once vaccine doses do arrive in St. Louis County, Page and the County Health Department will open vaccination sites across the County, with the first in North County. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color across the country. Page hopes to find other vaccination partners to ensure that once supply issues are resolved, they can open mass-vaccination centers and tackle healthcare disparities effectively.

The CDC reports that there are nearly 24 million confirmed cases across the country, with nearly 400,000 deaths. Missouri has reported over 436,000 cases to date, with over 6,600 deaths. Stay tuned for more coverage on COVID-19 and vaccinations here at Missouri Metro.

Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association to Host Ward 17 Aldermanic Candidate Forum

Following the surprise announcement that Alderman Joe Roddy would resign from his long-held seat, multiple candidates are running to replace Roddy in the rapidly densifying and developing Ward. Roddy, who has served for more than 30 years, is the longest-serving member of the Board and has worked with civic and business leaders alike on major projects along the city’s Central Corridor.

Three candidates are seeking Roddy’s soon-to-be former Aldermanic seat: Michelle Sherod, a CPA with 30+ years of experience and former McCaskill staffer; Tina “Sweet-T” Phil, a former head of the FPSE Neighborhood Association and social entrepreneur; and Donald De Vivo, member of the Green Party. (Unfortunately, we cannot find an active candidate website for De Vivo).

Michelle Sherod

Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl

With few options for neighborhood residents to safely meet the candidates due to COVID-19, the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association is holding a candidate forum over Zoom at its next regularly scheduled meeting, on Tuesday, 1/19 at 6:45PM. To access the meeting, join the Zoom meeting at: Web You can also view the event details here:


The winner will govern Ward 17 in an increasingly partisan political environment, both locally and nationally. While replacing Roddy could be transformative, the eventual victor will only serve a portion of their full term, assuming that Ward Reduction still reshapes the Board in 2023. The fate of Board Reduction is still uncertain, however, despite a citywide vote nearly a decade ago, with the Board voting narrowly to reintroduce the measure to city voters in April just this week. While proponents of the reduction are concerned about the Board’s actions that do not represent the will of the voters, they are cautiously optimistic that Mayor Krewson will veto the effort of the slim Board majority as she threatened to do in 2018.

They will also oversee a Ward that has been transformed over the past three decades. The Grove, now a major entertainment and dining district, is surrounded by tons of new residential infill and hundreds of new units in multifamily developments. The Cortex District, just East of the Central West End and North of Forest Park Southeast, continues to see more office-space and high paying jobs. With a new 11-story WashU Neuroscience building now under construction (the largest such facility in the country once complete), the district appears poised to maintain its momentum as the city’s premier innovation neighborhood.

Roddy’s tenure will certainly be celebrated for his consistent efforts to modernize his Ward and the city’s urban center, while critics maintain he represents interests of wealthy developers over lower-income residents in older housing stock South of Manchester Ave. Moreover, his politics is less progressive and sometimes more controversial than many of his younger peers, like Aldermen Green and Spencer.


Disclosure: The author of this article, Brian Adler, is the newly elected Vice President of the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association. This article is simultaneously the first piece of Missouri-Metro’s Politics section and an effort to ensure that voters in Ward 17 are educated on a once-in-a-generation ability to reshape their Ward’s leadership. To read more about the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association, visit its website here:

The Failed Promise of the St. Louis Riverfront – and How We May Yet Achieve It

San Antonio, New Orleans, New Jersey, Baltimore – each city has found creative, bold ways to take advantage of their waterfronts. With special pedestrian walkways and commercial experiences, these cities were able to capitalize on their greatest geographical assets with productive, attractive, and impressive corridors. For residents and tourists alike, these places are landmarks that set cities apart, while simultaneously providing an excellent setup for businesses and tax revenue generation.

St. Louis has long held a distant relationship with the Mississippi River. Even now, most buildings have a considerable setback partly justified by flood risk. One might expect still that the nearest structures would be designed with street activation in mind, particularly with a National Park right around the corner. Instead, there are abandoned buildings like the long vacant Millennium Hotel and brutalist midrises like the Hyatt Hotel and Gateway Tower building that hardly offer any use for an active Downtown. Moreover, their designs evoke a cold and harsh feeling that cramps visitors and residents within the Gateway National Park.


The St. Louis riverfront’s lack of street activation is a relic of the compromise made for the Gateway National Park. In the early 1900’s, the city and Federal officials decided to raze a huge portion of Downtown, including residential and commercial buildings, to lay the groundwork for the site of the Arch. Of course, hosting a National Park in the most prominent location in a major Downtown seems positive on many levels. St. Louis City was an incredible population center in 1930, with over 800,000 residents (compared to around 300,000 today). At the time, it was the nation’s 7th largest city.

It’s understandable that some may have thought the Arch would cement St. Louis’ position in American culture, a mega-city with a history of Westward Expansion. Most residents love the Arch and its unmistakable design and prominence on our city’s skyline, and it undoubtedly attracts tourists and history buffs alike. The positives, however, came at a steep cost for the city, people of color, and urban density. As St. Louis rid itself of predominantly Black communities, it also engaged in redlining and restrictive covenants, essentially restricting Black residents’ right to live in the city.

Nearly 500 buildings were demolished for the Arch grounds, beginning in 1939. 39 blocks were cleared for the Arch that would not be completed for another 26 years. The decision to destroy so much of St. Louis’ urban character was hardly a one-off, with decades of urban renewal projects that violently obliterated neighborhoods, which generally were communities of color.


The Arch, while impressive, does not replace the density and character lost in the demolition of hundreds of riverfront buildings – an entire district turned to rubble. Moreover, just North and South of the Arch grounds sit neighborhoods that have languished in the years since, despite their sizable potential and historic character. What remains is a long stretch of riverfront with little to no activity whatsoever, made worse by the even more egregious lack of activity, investment, and development on the East side of the river. Despite an impressive skyline and its status as a river city, St. louis fails to capitalize on its river on the East and West shores from North to South alike.

Chouteau’s Landing, which is just South of the Arch and the 64/40 ramp Downtown, is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and yet, woefully neglected. The neighborhood consists of a rather small 12 blocks, but holds some of the oldest buildings in the area that were built on the original city street grid. Unfortunately, some of the structures have succumb to fires and even accidental demolitions in the last decade, making any proposal for redevelopment all the more necessarily expansive and expensive.

The buildings that remain are predominantly warehouses and manufacturing sites, but to leave it at just that would be a disservice the historical architecture and grandiose of the structures. Many of the warehouses appear as though they would make excellent residential conversions, like the one pictured below, compared to Soulard Market Loft apartments. There is vast potential to create intricate, dense, and mixed use city blocks with the buildings that remain, and the neighborhood would evoke some of the best historical character of St. Louis.

The potential for redevelopment is huge, and Chouteau’s Landing could with some work become a dense urban community with a strong St. Louis architectural character. Much is the same for Laclede’s Landing, another historical neighborhood just North of the Arch. While Laclede’s Landing isn’t quite as abandoned or underutilized as Chouteau’s Landing, it has low commercial and residential occupancy with buildings in need of large rehabs. Making matters worse, the blocks that make up the neighborhood are unusually cut off from the street grid and very difficult to access from Downtown.

“The nine-block area of Historic Laclede’s Landing—once the manufacturing, warehousing and shipping hub of St. Louis—is today the home of more than a dozen local restaurants, clubs, and attractions in the heart of downtown St. Louis.”

Laclede’s Landing Riverfront District

The streetscape and design of Laclede’s Landing are second to none in the city, with incredible cobblestone streets, brickwork, and commercial storefronts (many of which vacant, unfortunately). There certainly are still some successful and well-known restaurants and bars, including Big Daddy’s on the Landing, Kimchi Guys, The Old Spaghetti Factory, and a few others.

Laclede’s Landing – Explore St. Louis

The accessibility of Laclede’s Landing is such a hinderance that the lack of entrances to the district is often credited with hindering the rejuvenation of the area. Cut off by the highway and the Arch, there are few ways in or out. The issue is so pronounced that a parking lot owned by Drury Hotels was seen as possible a solution, with a plan to add a road connecting the district to the rest of Downtown through the parcel. Drury has long planned a hotel in Laclede’s Landing, and has since simply sat on its property with no action despite the hurting of the neighborhood. This strategy and speculation are common for the chain, most notoriously in the case of its demolition by neglect in The Grove as we covered here at Missouri Metro.

With no hotel developed by Drury over the last decade, Laclede’s Landing has been in a state of stasis, despite its incredible potential. With huge brick buildings and former warehouses primed for redevelopment similar to those in Chouteau’s Landing and their proximity to restaurants, the Arch, and the spectacular built environment, the area could become St. Louis’ best destination.

There is some good news, with St. Louis based Advantes Group beginning a major redevelopment of two historic buildings on Second Street in the Landing, with a price tag of at least $12.4 million. The developer is so bullish on the area that it has even relocated its headquarters to the district. Rejuvenating large and historic buildings is nothing new to the developer, which also rehabilitated an old school in Lafayette into 36 apartments. In 2018, Advantes began their work in Laclede’s Landing, taking their experience in historical renovation to the Christian Peper building at 701 1st St. With 49 gorgeous lofts completed in what was the first recent multifamily development in Laclede’s Landing, Advantes created a roadmap for success and increasing residential density in the neighborhood.

Peper Lofts – Advantes Group

Advantes’ $12.4 million plan for the district will include two additional renovations, including the buildings at 618-624 North Second St. and 700 North Second St. The proposal calls for 76 new apartments and street-facing retail space. Combined with their completed Peper Lofts project, the developer is introducing over 100 residential units to a neighborhood that formerly had almost no permanent residents. There are huge benefits to a residential community joining a commercial district, with the added density providing critical economic support and demand for businesses in the area. The effect is even greater considering the historical nature of the community and proximity to a National Park.

Although Laclede’s Landing has seen some recent success, with people now calling the neighborhood home and millions in investment, Chouteau’s Landing is just now seeing some promising proposals. A to-be-announced developer has partnered with St. Louis based Arcturis for architectural plans. The extensive proposal, which you can read in detail at CitySceneSTL here, calls for thousands of square feet of office, residential, and street-facing retail. There would also be multiple new mixed-used buildings constructed, as well as significant rehabs throughout the district to modernize the physical landscape. The proposal is rather breathtaking, and would, if completed, be one of the largest redevelopments in St. Louis over the last decade. That said, while many are optimistic about the trajectory for the project, this is such a large plan that anything can happen. We hope that we will see this completed, but the neighborhood has seen hope and failure so many times before.

Rendering from CitySceneSTL

While St. Louis’ two most storied riverfront neighborhoods that remain have promising, ambitious paths forward, there is so much ground to make up. Cities across the nation have found smart and resourceful ways to repurpose their riverfront districts into lively neighborhoods that residents love. With a landmark right in the middle of the two neighborhoods, St. Louis has its work cut out to integrate the neighborhoods to the city more broadly.


The difference is stark when comparing St. Louis’ riverfront vibrancy to that of other cities like San Antonio and New Orleans, but we have immense potential that we can capitalize on if we set out to do so. The bones exist in both Laclede’s Landing and Chouteau’s Landing for high residential density and commercial activity, combined with historical architecture and charm that would give a distinct character unable to be matched by other cities. We also have the Arch, for all its flaws in relation to cutting off historic neighborhoods Downtown, to provide a jaw-dropping view and outlook for residents and tourists alike. It can complement these communities, if we do things right. It will take effort, investment, and perseverance to restore our riverfront, but if the last few years are any indication, momentum is on our side.

2020 In Review | St. Louis Development Skyrockets & Our Top 10

It might come as a surprise that in 2020, a year that has been defined by a global pandemic, deeply negative and often anti-democratic politics, and unprecedented and unequal economic hardship, that St. Louis has been host to an absurdly productive and healthy year of economic development. As December comes to a close, there is a good chance that the city will surpass $1 billion in building permits. Second only to 2018, this year represents a continued growth of the St. Louis real estate market and a renewed sense of confidence for investors and locals alike.

Building Permits in St. Louis City – St. Louis, MO

2020 may also be remembered as the year in which St. Louis finally began making real progress in communities that have traditionally seen far less investment or attention. The region’s policy towards majority Black and Brown neighborhoods North of Delmar Blvd. could for decades be summarized by intentional neglect. Through redlining, restrictive covenants, urban renewal, predatory lending, and aggressive policing, populous neighborhoods declined significantly throughout the latter half of the 20th century and then some.

The results of institutional and cultural oppression don’t just disappear overnight, or for that matter, after decades. It takes real effort to support and uplift communities that were deliberately denied access to wealth, education, safety, and equality. A recent study of U.S. metro areas and their demographics and geography gives us a frightening glimpse of how far St. Louis still has to go. In 2017, St. Louis was determined to be the 10th most segregated metropolitan area in the United States, with 39.3% of its Black residents living in majority Black neighborhoods with 3.5x the poverty rate of white neighborhoods.


In a remarkable and unusual turn for St. Louis, some developers appeared interested in proposing real developments in the region’s North side. Many of these, like the Delmar Divine, Kingsway Development’s plans at Delmar & Euclid, Jefferson + Gamble, and the NGA expansion bring much needed infrastructure improvements, affordable housing, community spaces, and jobs. There is a school of thought in St. Louis that the recent announcements are a result of North St. Louis “bottoming out”, something that regional leaders have historically seemed to exacerbate, and whether that is true or not, it seems apparent that the momentum is certainly shifting.

2020 also brings an exciting new era for Downtown St. Louis with multiple high-density residential proposals that would fill vacant land and surface-level parking lots. Even more surprising, we saw a new residential tower completed at Ballpark Village, new Class A office space, residential conversions for historical buildings, and companies moving from the county back into the city. After decades of stagnant Downtown STL development, even as our peer cities like Kansas City and Indianapolis saw impressive proposals and infill, St. Louis finally seems to be making headway in improving its Downtown core.


As we all embrace the hope that comes with a new year, something to save us from some of the most tumultuous times in recent history, we can hopefully look forward to real progress in our region as we may finally be turning some important corners. Much work remains – activists must hold regional leaders accountable, medical personnel must keep working to curb the spread of a deadly virus, and Americans and St. Louisans must continue supporting one another and act responsibly to keep our neighbors safe. We will get through this. We have a better year on the horizon.

Until then, continue reading to see some of the most promising developments of 2020 that are poised to substantially change our region.

TOP 10 OF 2020


ONE | 100 Above the Park

Image found at

100 Above the Park is the first tower designed by renowned architect Jeanne Gang in St. Louis, named the World’s Most Influential Architect of 2019 by Time Magazine. Rising 36 stories above Kingshighway and sporting direct, sprawling views of Forest Park and Downtown, 100 Above the Park brings perhaps the most luxurious residential units yet to the city and a unique geometric design. It also is one of the first new residential skyscrapers in the region, following the recent completion of Two Twelve Clayton just a few miles West in the County.

With studio, one, two, and three bedroom units ranging from $1,975 for a studio and over $7,000 for some three bedroom units, the building introduces a new price range for a city known for inexpensive housing prices. That said, the amenities, views, technology, design, location, and finishes go a long way toward justifying the high cost.

All units sport quartz countertops, 9″ ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, in-unit laundry, porcelain tile backsplashes, stainless steel appliances, custom solar shades, LED lighting, soft-close drawers, etc. Some units host humongous balconies overlooking the city and/or park, with the rest simply taking claim to some of the finest views in the city. Moreover, residents will have access to world-class amenities from a pool deck on the 7th floor to a secured parking garage, pet spa, electric car charging stations, secured bike stations, an onsite retail location (could be a café), covered dog run, and more. The building also is Green Globes certified for Sustainable and Energy Efficient Design.

100 Above the Park Under Construction – Brian Adler

St. Louis has long been known for some incredibly gorgeous and historical brick architecture, but we won’t complain one bit about a world-renowned architect completing a residential skyscraper on one of St. Louis’ most dense and active neighborhoods. 100 Above the Park definitely serves just a small subset of the population that can afford its units and lifestyle, but it is a good sign for a the city as it works to rebuild its economy and attract individuals and families to a region with a stagnant population. It is perhaps a sign of hope for an old city that hasn’t seen, until recent years, a sign of confidence that we are now beginning to get used to this year. We hope that incredible architecture and dense developments keep gracing St. Louis for years to come.


TWO | Kingsway Development & Bridging the Delmar Divide

Kevin Bryant, President of Kingsway Development, recently unveiled a massive, $84 million development at the intersection of Euclid and Delmar Blvd. Looking to leverage the strength and momentum of the Central West End neighborhood and bring its success due North where investment abruptly ends, Bryant is taking aim at reducing vacancy, providing affordable housing, and creating a community of mixed income levels.

The project is predominantly located within the Fountain Park neighborhood, lying just North of the Central West End. In 2015, 84.4% of Fountain Park residents were Black, whereas just south of Delmar in the Central West End, only 29% of residents are Black. Despite its proximality to the CWE, it has seen its fortunes decline over the past several decades. Even as rents rise consistently just South of Delmar Blvd., the buildings in which Kingsway Development hope to redevelop mostly sit vacant.

The first phase will include a mix of rehabs and new construction for affordable housing, capitalizing on historic, vacant housing stock and filling in vacant lots. The first phase will include 22 affordable homes, below market-rate, aimed at creating a more “mixed”, dense neighborhood that residents of different incomes can enjoy. Bryant hopes to “set the precedent” with these homes, creating a model for other developers and investors to follow as he opens up later phases to other developers who go through their community approval process.

The first batch of construction will also include a $6.3 rehab of the building at 4731 Delmar Blvd. into office and commercial space, creating a more mixed-use neighborhood once each phase is built out. Late next year, perhaps the biggest portion of the project is slated to begin – a $43 million apartment complex, “The Bridge”, with 156 residential units. These units will add significant density to the Fountain Park neighborhood and fill out the vacant Northern section of the Euclid and Delmar intersection.

Rebuilding the North Side and responsibly tackling vacancy, affordable housing, and the lingering affects of segregation and oppression is vital to St. Louis and its future. This development will hopefully be a model for others to create diverse, mixed-income, and dense communities in neighborhoods that have seen little to no positive investment.

Read more in our coverage here.


THREE | MLS Stadium

Dec. 2 Rendering of the St. Louis City SC Stadium – Image provided by St. Louis City SC

When St. Louis lost the Rams a few years ago in a bitter dispute still playing out in the courts today, there was a common sentiment that a passionate sports town was losing its steam. Thankfully, St. Louisans won’t have to wait long for a new sports team to remake its professional trifecta alongside the Cardinals and the Blues. A little over a year ago in August of 2019, the MLS announced that St. Louis would become the league’s 28th franchise. On August 13, 2020, the St. Louis MLS Expansion Team announced the team name and crest, officially introducing the St. Louis City SC to the city.

The project is moving very quickly, with a brand new stadium slated to be ready in time for the 2023 debut of the St. Louis City SC. Construction began in February on the site that will eventually seat up to 22.5 thousand guests and completely reshape Downtown West along Market St. The development will activate a less travelled section of Downtown, adding commercial retail space, infrastructure improvements, restaurants, and thousands of people to the neighborhood.

As can be seen in the rendering above, the project is more than the stadium itself. The proposal includes other new infill, including the corner building with a large terrace and commercial space on the left side of the photo. There will also be practice fields nearby that will host community soccer clinics and youth sports activities. The grand vision is to create a district comprising of bars, restaurants, concessions, retail, and open community spaces that will lead to street activation even on days without a game.

MLS Stadium with Union Station Wheel in the Background – St. Louis City SC

Located just west of the newly revitalized Union Station and at the end of the Mall that leads straight down market to the Courthouse and the Arch, the new MLS stadium will help create a unique attraction corridor built for walkability and activity. Combined with other recent developments like two residential proposals included in this article and new hotels sprouting up in Downtown West and Midtown, it appears the stadium is capping off a huge year for Downtown.


Read more in our coverage here.

FOUR | The Changing Face of DeBaliviere

The Skinker-DeBaliviere and DeBaliviere Place neighborhoods are an excellent example of a dense, urban mix of residents across the income scale. Bordering Washington University, Forest Park, the Central West End, and Delmar Boulevard, the neighborhoods are home to those with extraordinary wealth to those with very little. The rapid growth of the Central West End and Washington University, however, have certainly been skewing the neighborhoods toward the wealthy end of that spectrum.

Three massive developments are underway right now, which will bring hundreds of expensive units and replace existing infrastructure. The three developments include The Chelsea on Pershing, the Expo at Forest Park on DeBaliviere, and The Hudson, also on DeBaliviere.

The Chelsea will rise seven stories above ground, add 152 apartments to the street, and several other impressive amenities. Some noteworthy additions include a two-story fitness center, “lobby bistro”, arcade bar, golf lounge, and even a rock-climbing wall. Lux Living hopes to open the Chelsea in late 2020, introducing some of the most unique apartments in St. Louis at one of the most uncertain times in recent history. Such a bet is supported, at least, by one of the most dense neighborhoods in St. Louis, rivaling even parts of New York City

The Hudson is set to bring added density and more options for residents in the city looking for a car-free lifestyle. With 150 units proposed and direct access to the Metrolink, residents will not need a car if they work within the central corridor or otherwise near a station. This is an amenity that, while growing in popularity in St. Louis, is still rather difficult to find given the limited size of the light-rail Metrolink. TOD is critical for good urban landscapes, helping people achieve healthier lifestyles, avoid traffic-filled commutes, and interact more with local businesses and their neighbors.

The Expo at Forest Park will be directly adjacent to the Metrolink platform as well, but will stretch down DeBaliviere all the way to Waterman as well as down De Giverville. This development is a behemoth, bringing 471,000 square feet of new construction and 287 new units, nearing the number of new apartments at the new One Hundred skyscraper in the Central West End. Current plans also call for 30,000 square feet of retail space across the two buildings (separated by De Giverville).

Read more in our coverage here.


FIVE | City Foundry Phases I and II

Even though Phase I of the City Foundry hasn’t yet fully opened to the public, the food hall, retail space, soon-to-be grocery store, and offices are set to bring new life to the corner at Vandeventer and Forest Park Parkway. This stretch has seen significant investment over the past few years, with the city’s first IKEA, the new ELEMENT hotel by Westin, and the Standard St. Louis apartments. This is all part of a larger pattern of investment now reactivating St. Louis’ midtown corridor, bringing tons of new density, retail, and residential to the city.

The office space from the first phase is already 95% leased and open, giving The Lawrence Group confidence that there is real demand for their vision to continue. As CitySceneSTL reported earlier this December, the second phase is set to include two large structures pictured in the rendering above that will host:

  • Nearly 300 luxury residential units, many with balconies
  • Around 60,000 square feet of office space, complementing the over 100,000 square feet already built and leased
  • 20,000 additional square feet of retail space, some of which will be located on the ground floor of the parking structure activating Vandeventer and Forest Park Parkway
  • 490 parking spaces

The Lawrence Group hopes to begin construction on the second phase in the middle of 2021, hopefully at a time when guests may be able to safely begin patronizing the businesses like Punch Bowl Social and Alamo Drafthouse that make the first phase so exciting. The 14 story residential building, parking structure, and office space will also help complete the City Foundry, which always was intended to host a large residential component.

Read more in CitySceneSTL’s coverage here.


SIX | Green Street & The Grove

We’ve covered a lot about how The Grove is seeing an incredible wave of new development here over the past few months. Huge developments like Hue@Chroma, the Arbor on Arco, the Grove Lofts (following the recent completion of 4400 Manchester just nextdoor), are joined by a new wave of commercial activity ranging from gourmet restaurant concepts to organic grocers and new coffee shops.

It turns out that these were just the tip of the iceberg. Developer Green Street has huge plans for The Grove and Forest Park Southeast, making a hew headquarters for themselves alongside hundreds of new residential and commercial infill. Moving from Clayton, Green Street is hoping to double down on the city and these particular neighborhoods, creating a lively district home to mixed-income families and fun concepts like BarK, a bar and dog park combo that will join the many new developments planned.

The largest singular element of the proposal is Green Street’s ‘Terra at the Grove’, described as “Chroma on Steroids’ by a member of their team. For those unfamiliar with Chroma, it is a large residential building at the East end of The Grove, featuring hundreds of apartments, retail storefronts including Seoul Taco and Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, and luxury amenities that has consistently been essentially full occupancy.

Terra will contain over 300 residential units and massive amenity spaces. It will have a 50,000 square foot courtyard and pool area, in addition to walking and running paths, a dog park and pet wash station, fitness and yoga studios, club and movie rooms, convenience store, and a playground. The apartment building will have nearly as many units as the humongous One Hundred on the Park skyscraper in the Central West End, all situated in the Southwest corner of The Grove.

However, Green Street also has six other developments planned in the neighborhood, dubbed the Union at the Grove, each with a unique style and size. Together they will completely transform the streetscape, filling empty lots and adding tons of density. The six buildings will be called Booker, Blake, Knox, Ashe, Iva, and Marshall – each pictured in the gallery below.

Together, they will have 163 residential units, in addition to the 300+ at Terra and the 100+ at the just completed Hue. They offer some of the most contemporary and urban architecture to be found in the city, and may well begin to resemble a neighborhood with similar density and walkability to the nearby Central West End.

We talk about gentrification all the time here, something that is a real concern but contextually different in St. Louis than other bigger and higher in demand cities. We believe that there is a lot of nuance to the topic, especially so when we are talking about projects with a massive scale that fundamentally reshape particular neighborhoods like is being proposed here. That being said, we do want to let our readers know that we have spoken to people at Green Street who emphasize a commitment to mixed-income neighborhoods and affordable solutions, something that they are also committing to with a new investment group dedicated to affordable housing and investment in low income communities.

We won’t say what the verdict is on this large and complicated discussion, but this development certainly will add lots of new activity and plenty of new residents to a growing and exciting neighborhood.


SEVEN | Delmar Divine

St. Louis’ Delmar Divide has plagued the region for decades. A miles-long physical manifestation of a racial and economic divide spans the metropolitan area from East to West, separating communities and hindering investment North of the boulevard. 2021 seems to be the first year in a very long time that substantial investment has been aimed at resolving this this pervasive issue. The Delmar Divine will consist of national and local non profits, capacity building and social innovation organizations that improve the lives of children and families in the metropolitan St. Louis area.

Maxine Clark, Founder of Build-a-Bear Workshop is heading the redevelopment of the former St. Luke’s Hospital closed in 2014 on Delmar Blvd. The large site will see a humongous renovation that will bring over 150 apartments “reasonably” priced and aimed at young, diverse working professionals.

The Delmar Divine tenants will consist of national and local not for profits, capacity building and social innovation organizations that improve the lives of children and families in the metropolitan St. Louis area.

Delmar Divine – Home

Clark aims to create a space where innovative and social minded professionals and their organizations can gather and build off of one another. It will essentially function as an innovation hub for non-profits and social-good organizations, as well as additional space for retail with easy access to nearby public transportation. At the heart of the proposal is a dedication to removing the racial and economic barriers in St. Louis, helping organizations and individuals reach “solutions faster while being more cost efficient”.

Racial segregation is at the heart of many of St. Louis’ biggest and most pervasive issues, and an effort that combines the talents of our many hardworking, innovative, and social-focused individuals and organizations is one that deserves praise and recognition. We cannot wait to see this come to fruition on 2021.


EIGHT | Blackline Investments 12 Unit Infill in Dutchtown

Blackline Investments is moving toward the first new infill in Gravois Park in several years. Capitalizing off of the vacant land next-door to their original rehab, Blackline is planning a 12-unit, two-story building that with a decidedly modern aesthetic. First reported by Chris Strizel and his CitySceneSTL website, this development manages to introduce new residential units without demolishing historic brick homes. Each unit will be a one bedroom in a shotgun style, with a small parking lot behind the structure.

Coupled with the restoration of “Downtown Dutchtown” along Meramec St., with businesses offering innovative concepts like the Urban Eats food hall or cute clothing boutiques, Dutchtown is building its own unique character and picking up steam. With its very own retail corridor, residential conversions, and affordable housing stock renovations coming from Rise, the stabilization is already well underway. The Dutchtown CID is providing infrastructural support to retail along the street, and the Neighborhood Innovation Center is setting up its own plans to invigorate and support the business community.

That Dutchtown and Gravois Park neighborhoods are seeing positive developments that support current residents, maintain and restore historic architecture, infill vacant lots, and increase density is something of a wonder for the city. With development having catered to predominantly wealthier individuals and staying primarily within the central corridor neighborhoods, many St. Louis communities saw very little outside investment and contributed to tax subsidies for projects that did not benefit their residents directly. This finally seems poised to change.


NINE | 1014 Spruce St.

Image found on CitySceneSTL here and the LCRA November Agenda here

Opus Group’s proposal at 1014 Spruce St. is poised to bring 146 residential units to the heart of Downtown St. Louis, directly adjacent to the popular Start Bar and just a couple minutes from Busch Stadium. Filling a large, vacant lot with a productive and dense residential development is a remarkable feat for Downtown, which has long struggled to attract significant new infill.

The structure will also host a 3,000 sq. ft. commercial space along Spruce, depicted in the rendering above, that will further activate a busy street already used to large crowds. While one new residential proposal in a Downtown area might not seem like a big deal at first, it has been a long time since St. Louis’ urban core has seen dense infill. The area is still resolving vacancy issues, particularly in the office sector. That being said, Downtown’s residential occupancy has gone up considerably and leaves very few units available – indicating a market need that 1014 Spruce will help fill.

This is a phenomenal indicator for the city, and we can’t sait to see more like it.

Read more in Chris Stritzel’s coverage on CitySceneSTL here.


TEN | 1801 Washington

Just North of the new MLS Stadium and on a lot currently used as parking for the iconic City Museum is the future site of 1801 Washington, a 184-unit multifamily proposal. First reported by CitySceneSTL, this apartment building will rise 7 stories and consist of over 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space fronting Washington Blvd. Parking will be in a hidden 220 space garage accessible from 19th and Lucas, allowing for a more consistent and activated corridor along Washington. The project is being developed by King Realty Advisors, an investment group that feels Downtown West has real momentum going forward.

There will also be just over 2,000 sq. ft. of retail space constructed on the 3rd floor, slated to become a restaurant or bar with a large outdoor terrace facing the street. This will likely help create a more exciting atmosphere along the already busy street, with activation both on the ground floor and above.

With 184 new residential units consisting of studio and 1 bedroom floorplans, 1801 Washington is poised to introduce some of the first new multifamily infill in Downtown and Downtown West. Moreover, it will replace a low-productivity parking lot with a dense, modern, and street-activating structure more well suited to a city and its urban core. The apartments are also going to be very modern, with granite countertops, in-unit washer and dryer, and individual balconies for each unit. There will also be a dog park and other amenity spaces like a beer tap, pool table, community kitchen, and more.

The apartment building itself is fairly consistent in terms of amenities with other new structures completed recently in the city and the county, with the exception of being located in a neighborhood that hasn’t seen new large-scale residential development in decades. This will significantly modernize and densify our urban core, and it hopefully represents a change in momentum for our city and its Downtown neighborhoods.

Read more on CitySceneSTL here.


2020 still had way more to offer – check out our runner-ups below! 2020 was a phenomenal year for development, and we cannot wait to see what 2021 brings. Most importantly, we hope it is a year where our readers are safe, healthy, and happy, recovering from a year like we have never seen before. Thank you for reading.

Stay Safe & Stay Healthy.

Thank you for reading.

Missouri Metro Wishes you a Happy New Year.

Drury to Sell FPSE Holdings after long “Demolition by Neglect” Strategy

One of our first articles here at Missouri Metro covered the remarkably long-term and damaging strategy of Drury Hotels in the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood. Conducting a de-facto “Demolition by Neglect” strategy, Drury allowed their nearly 30 properties in the neighborhood to decline despite consistent and strong community pushback. After nearly two decades, Drury has finally scrapped their plans for the neighborhood and listed each property for sale.

What began as an effort to build two hotel towers and a large surface parking lot extending from Kingshighway into the residential streets of Oakland, Arco, Gibson, and Chouteau ended with little success or fanfare. Members of the FPSE community have, for over 15 years, been subjected to increased crime, blight, and a striking lack of transparency for a project that would effectively raze the Western edge of the neighborhood.

2008 Drury Rendering – NextSTL

Although nearby residents were not too keen on the hotel proposal itself, the lack of any development turned out to be the biggest problem with Drury’s presence in the neighborhood. Their neighborhood stewardship could be characterized as “negligent”, as we covered in our prior article about Drury’s FPSE holdings.

“As Drury continued adding properties to its portfolio in FPSE, they neglected even the most basic maintenance. The structures are slowly falling apart at the seams, endangering residents and skirting the requirements for demolition set out by Park Central Development.”

Brian Adler – Blight in Drury’s Wake: When Development Stalls and Buildings Crumble

We have been hearing hints for the last few months that Drury would finally offload their properties due to neighborhood pushback, market conditions in a global Pandemic, and shifting priorities. Initially, this sounded like they would opt to find another large developer to purchase all of the holdings in the neighborhood.

The sizable tract of land directly neighbors the BJC Hospital complex and nearby commercial corridor along Manchester Ave. In other words, this is some of the most valuable land in the city in terms of nearby amenities and attractions. An acquisition by another large developer seemed almost guaranteed given the location and near total ownership of properties along the edge of the neighborhood. Another hotel, office, or large residential development could certainly find success at this site.

Drury FPSE Holdings located in the highlighted portion of the map – Imagery provided by Google Maps

Much to the surprise of FPSE residents and members of the community, each individual property will be listed for sale separately. While there could certainly be value to a larger development utilizing the properties together, this piecemeal strategy allows the neighborhood to recover and maintain its historical character. St. Louis has a long history of demolishing well-kept brick homes with unique architecture for uninteresting and unengaging developments, and the neighborhood just may avoid such a scenario.

If you are interested in learning more about Drury’s “Demolition by Neglect” strategy, we highly recommend you read some of the great articles from other St. Louis blogs. While our article does a pretty good job explaining the situational context, St. Louis has a host of incredible development bloggers doing great reporting around the city. You can also check out the listing for the most prominent Drury properties that directly face Kingshighway here.




How one STL Non-Profit is Rebuilding the Urban Fabric of Dutchtown one Rehab at a Time: A Glimpse at the St. Joseph Housing Initiative

Often in St. Louis, we lose sight of projects that don’t bring hundreds of luxurious units to a booming Central Corridor, repairing the city fabric that St. Louis chose to bulldoze in the 20th century. We see incredible, dense apartments proposed in The Grove, Downtown, and the Central West End, remarking that they surely are the solution to the last half century of population decline in the City of St. Louis.

They help, quite a lot, but St. Louis is far more than its Central Corridor, with neighborhoods like Dutchtown hosting the highest density of residents in the entire city per square mile. Here in Dutchtown, potential is everywhere, with a commercial corridor coming together on Meramec St. and an impressive set of architecturally significant homes. Yet, interspersed throughout are perhaps hundreds of abandoned homes and vacant lots.

Restoring St. Louis is a much more difficult task than people often realize, where hundreds of new units in the wealthiest neighborhoods do not make up for the hundreds, if not thousands of residents lost yearly in North/South St. Louis’ communities. Neighborhoods that experience disinvestment invite crime, turn away potential residents and investors, and create a community that sees despair instead of hope. In Dutchtown, the vacancy issue consumes more than just homes, with the gorgeous Cleveland High School sitting boarded up with broken windows and fire damage.

“If people are living in uninhabitable conditions, they move,”

Alderman Boyd, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Vacant schools and homes pose incredible harm to communities, not just in reducing safety, but also pushing other long-term residents out. Combined with dampened new investment, these neighborhoods end up in vicious feedback loops as families move to other neighborhoods or outside suburbs.


This phenomenon is finally being tackled in St. Louis, both at the governmental and communities levels. With institutions like the LRA, city efforts like Prop N.S. that invests tens of millions in structural stabilization in low-income communities, and non-profits working tirelessly to reverse the feedback loop, progress is more visible than ever. One such non-profit, the St. Joseph Housing Initiative, is doing just that and more. Maureen McCuen, Executive Director of the SJHI, spent some time talking to Missouri Metro last week to detail their community-driven efforts to reduce vacancy, revitalize neighborhoods, and support new low-middle income homebuyers.

Our mission is to create vibrant communities through affordable quality housing where low and moderate income families can thrive, prosper and build wealth.


To accomplish its mission, the STJI works to rehabilitate vacant and historical properties in Dutchtown. McCuen emphasized that although Dutchtown holds incredible architectural assets and a diverse, densely populated community, it has a below average level of owner-occupied homes when compared to St. Louis City and Missouri more broadly.

As many of our readers know intimately, home ownership can often come with many surprises. We discussed in a recent article how low-income and predominantly Black communities in St. Louis have experienced predatory mortgages that purposefully leave out interest, insurance, and property taxes resulting in a massive and unexpected bill at the end of the year. Even without discriminatory and predatory lending, mortgages require a history of good credit and are but one of many expenses attributed to home ownership.

A Recently Renovated Home on Itaska Ave. – St. Joseph Housing Initiative

When purchasing a home, most buyers will have an inspector tour the property and identify potential problems with major home systems and interior assets. Even then, the most capable and experienced inspectors can miss major items and even if something looks perfect, systems can simply just break, particularly if they are old, without any sign of defects.


That is why it is common to have unexpected and often expensive repairs in the first couple years of ownership. For families or individuals without a safety net or substantial savings, these issues can threaten their ability to sufficiently maintain the home or, worse, might threaten their other financial obligations should they choose to get the issue fixed. Perhaps it might be a leaky roof, broken water heater, dying A/C compressor, or the need to tuck point (replace mortar between bricks), each of which might result in a $1,000.00+ bill.

Work on the Itaska Ave. Property – St. Joseph Housing Initiative

Although these homes are intended for low-middle income families, St. Joseph Housing Initiative works to make sure that the interior finishes and amenities are durable, modern, and welcoming. While they might not find granite countertops or other luxury materials, the homes are well above average and, in my experience as a former REALTOR®, downright refreshing in homes of this price range. The kitchens sport stainless steel appliances and the houses have gorgeous decks, nice vinyl flooring, and open concept interiors worthy of an HGTV short.

St. Joseph Housing Initiative seeks to ease the transition for their buyers, making sure that they touch every single major system in the home, leaving no major surprises that might mean financial ruin for their buyers. Combined with their credit consulting, they have introduced an innovative initiative dubbed the “First Neighbor” program, which introduces the new hombuyers to their new neighbors McCuen describes this program as a thorough effort to ensure that their buyers are successful and integrated into the community.


The First Neighbor program is a group of current residents that support their new neighbors and maintain a long-term relationship with the new buyers. They serve as friends and mentors, and the group contains a variety of skills, talents, and interests among its members that can help their neighbors in a pinch. For the families or individuals that have never mowed a lawn before, they’ll find the necessary tools and mentorship handy through the program. Or, if they don’t know how to hang something on a plaster wall or when the dumpsters are emptied, they will find all the answers they need.

Dutchtown is a large neighborhood, so one home here or there might not feel like a substantial difference. With that in mind, St. Joseph Housing Initiative is working to cluster their properties together. As a cluster, the multiple homes together are able to create a better feeling of security and contribute to a better, more hopeful built environment free of broken windows and vacant properties. The hope is that this will continue to reverse the feedback loop that had for so long forced residents away.

St. Joseph Housing Initiative is looking to complete its 8th home in the start of 2021, and their goal is to rehabilitate 10 homes by the end of the year. Powered by volunteers and 100% funded through donations, the St. Joseph Housing Initiative has a bold and comprehensive plan that McCuen hopes will keep growing and make a tangible difference in the city. Providing a safe, healthy, and inspiring home and surrounding environment for their buyers is at the core of their mission. Combined with the efforts of neighboring groups and non-profits, Dutchtown is ready for a renaissance, and it will be one of its own making.

If you are interested in donating to or volunteering with the St. Joseph Housing Initiative, visit their website here. Missouri Metro thanks McCuen and the SJHI for taking part in our latest Dutchtown feature and for their hard, dedicated work to revitalize St. Louis communities.


Hue@Chroma Opening Soon in The Grove: A Review of Community Impact, Gentrification, and Urban Density

Only 2 and a half years after Green Street and the Koman Group opened Chroma and its chic 235 residential units to the public, Chroma’s sister property Hue is nearly complete with an additional 111 modern apartments. Together, their combined 346 luxury apartments and 18,000 sq. feet of ground-floor retail will significantly densify and urbanize the Eastern end of The Grove’s commercial corridor on Manchester.

We’ve covered a lot of development in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, particularly along Manchester, where hundreds of new residential units are rising quickly alongside new commercial spaces and restaurant expansions. For those who have not visited The Grove this last year, you might be in for a shock. The neighboring Central West End has largely and near exclusively been home to the most dense development and luxury apartment communities, but it seems readily apparent that Manchester might soon host a similar density to that around the BJC Medical Center.

Hue@Chroma facing East from Sarah St. – Brian Adler

There is no doubt that Hue@Chroma is seemingly poised to offer some gorgeous apartments to St. Louis, but before we get to the photos (some better than others, my apologies – didn’t realize some of my camera settings were off), let’s talk about some of the elephants in the room. With new development, particularly on such a large scale, we have to talk about the community that “was”, before we get to the community that “will be”. I’m specifically referring to that “G Word”, gentrification.

It seems that we talk about that, at least briefly, in many of our articles here at Missouri Metro. Humungous buildings constructed with multimillion dollar budgets ballooned by outside investors who might or might not live in the communities affected may drastically change the physical landscape of the communities they are built in. Not to mention concerns that outside investment adversely impacts current residents.

Before you make up your mind, remember that gentrification is much more complicated than many people attempt to make it seem. Like everything else, there is a good deal of nuance. A 300 unit luxury apartment complex built atop a previously vacant lot is significantly different than the same development constructed upon a street of just occupied homes razed only for newer and wealthier residents. Social scientists have studied vacancy for decades, and not only does it cost the city financially, it makes communities significantly less safe. Replacing vacant land with productive development can be very, very positive. That doesn’t mean that it always will be positive, but that we must keep an open mind and keep digging.


As we have discussed before, the studies on gentrification put forth some mixed messaging. There is a general sort of “Classical Gentrification” that is often examined in some of the U.S.’ largest and wealthiest cities, wherein white, single, and higher income individuals move into a neighborhood and price out a more diverse and lower-income set of individuals who previously occupied that community. Todd Swanstrom, a Professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, published a study in 2014 that indicated St. Louis’ rebounding neighborhoods do not generally fit this model. As a recent student of Swanstrom myself in UMSL’s Graduate Public Policy program, we have had the opportunity to speak on this topic together to great lengths. You can read more in Swanstrom’s article he wrote about the study on NextSTL, but I’ll briefly describe it here too.

Even some of the most “gentrified” neighborhoods in St. Louis, like the Central West End, are retaining their diversity. There is a huge difference in the level of displacement found in a legacy city like St. Louis, where the housing market is under much less pressure and demand is slower and markets like D.C., Los Angeles, or New York City.

“In legacy cities housing markets tend to be “loose” and that may mean that displacement pressures are less severe in so-called gentrifying neighborhoods and that economic and racial diversity may be an asset for neighborhoods rather than a problem.”

Todd Swanstrom, source: NextSTL

The other studies, which focus on significantly larger metro areas, tend to show a mixed academic consensus, with perhaps still a tilt toward some negative consequences. Even though the most recent studies on gentrification suggest that there was no sign of “large-scale departure of elderly or long-term homeowners” in their Philadelphia experiment, they recognize a higher risk of tax delinquency for those long-term residents. Studies that have now been around a few years show that gentrifying neighborhoods lose their affordable units at five times the rate as non-gentrifying neighborhoods. There are also benefits noted by both studies, including better quality of life and services like education, safety, higher property values, access to groceries, etc. There are many of these benefits to be found in St. Louis neighborhoods, with perhaps fewer of the negative impacts as well.

We discussed gentrification in our article covering recent development in Gravois Park

The dense, urban fabric of the Central West End is something that can have immensely positive impacts for residents and visitors, not to mention the City’s tax base. Multifamily construction tends to not only increase property values of nearby homes, but also hosts significant advantages in city expenses, particularly when compared to single family homes in suburban areas. The city must only extend utilities once to reach hundreds of residents, whereas the street construction, street maintenance, and utility extensions to reach 300+ single family homes would be astronomical. Moreover, Multi-Family Residential apartment units traditionally are occupied by individuals without children, while taxed at an effective rate similar to single-family residential dwellings.

This would mean the development would subsidize schools and significantly add to the city’s tax revenues, as posited by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. This is complicated to some degree by St. Louis’ taxing subsidies often found, even in strong markets like in the Central Corridor, although these incentives are generally temporary, though usually still for several years. Public financing is very flawed in St. Louis and in need of new standards and transparency, showcased in a recent audit by Auditor Galloway, though that is a conversation for another time.

Of course, there are the human benefits too. Density builds community, and dense communities with large amenity spaces allow for events and informal connections in a world where distance is likely to keep growing between people, at least in the workplace where it appears work from home might become more of a norm. Combined with the ability to walk to restaurants, walk to stores, and potentially live car-free with nearby Metro access, density creates the potential for healthier neighborhoods and healthier people.


That is all to say that gentrification is an incredibly complex issue, one that there might not be a convenient “good” or “bad” answer for in this context. What we can see are real benefits offered in a section of the community that transitions more into industrial activity than residential, leaving little room for displacement as a part of the discussion. It would be different in the context of Drury Hotels and their proposal on Oakland, Gibson, and Arco on the Western edge of The Grove and FPSE, where dozens of homes would be demolished for a surface parking lot and two towers. We covered that here, and we can say that at least right now, that project is stalled, if not cancelled.

One of many properties on the Western edge of FPSE owned by Drury – Brian Adler

We expect that this conversation surrounding gentrification and community impacts will continue for years to come. Research is still developing, and perhaps lacking in markets like St. Louis, where researchers like Swanstrom are shining a light on neighborhoods and developments in looser markets. Expect that Green Street will be a major player in these discussions as well, as the developer is also looking to build 6 new residential communities just South of Manchester. Most of these plans are not yet finalized or public, but expect them to include communities similar to Chroma, but “on steroids” with incredible amenities. There may also be rowhomes and smaller structures to add to the physical diversity of the neighborhood. We can also expect a significant amount of affordable housing to be included, something that is only financially feasible on their part with a massive scale. Missouri Metro will look forward to covering these as soon as we’re able, and we thank Green Street for including us in some of the discussions so far.


On to Hue@Chroma itself, there is much to look forward to. I had the opportunity to see the progress firsthand on a tour of the construction and the amenity spaces its residents will have access to at the finished and fully occupied Chroma. Liz DeBold Austin, Vice President of Marketing at Green Street, granted Missouri Metro access to the quickly progressing construction, allowing photos of every space and unit.

All of Hue’s units will be studios and 1-bedroom apartments, although they are certainly fairly spacious. Even the studios have separate “rooms”, not necessarily closed off with a door, but otherwise sectioned off where a bed would clearly go, separate from the living room and kitchen.

Editor’s note: Brian and his wife, Lydia, used to live in a studio in Clayton spanning 400 sq. feet. It was only one room with a kitchen and separate bathroom. These studios felt downright spacious in comparison.

The most impressive thing about the units was the attention to detail and the feel of the materials. The countertops were a high quality material, either Quartz or Granite, and the appliances were all stainless steel and definitely not the cheapest kind. Each kitchen had more than enough space, and the larger 1-bedroom units even had large islands. Many units have large balconies as well, helping create a larger livable space for residents who otherwise don’t have separate bedrooms to lounge in.

Each unit also had a large bathroom with a big shower, storage space, and large mirrors. The attention to the space, making a small unit feel big, was something I kept noticing throughout. Many of the units had walk-in closets, others still hosting large spaces where one could easily store several large suitcases or many, many clothes.

While all Hue residents will be able to share the amenities in Chroma just next-door, they will also have access to a large courtyard in the middle. Residents will have a ton of amenities at their disposal, including an onsite Avenue C convenience store, pool, conference rooms, study spaces, BBQs, and more.

According to Liz, Green Street hopes to open Hue@Chroma to its first residents at the end of the year, an optimistic schedule but one that I assume they will be able to pull off. Many of the units appear just about complete, with just the finishing touches necessary. The only space still far from complete is the outdoor courtyard, which as of the tour, remained a pile of dirt with lots of potential.

Hue@Chroma also represents a joint venture between Green Street and KDG, formerly the Koman Group before a merger with Keeley Development Group. KDG will manage the property from a day to day basis and staff the building, providing exceptional customer service. KDG also manages Clayton on the Park just next to Shaw Park as well as Chroma, just next-door to Hue.

The North Facing Mural on Hue@Chroma – Brian Adler

The Grove is in the middle of a development renaissance, and it seems major developers from the St. Louis region are doubling down on the neighborhood, even in the middle of a global pandemic. We look forward to covering all of the changes and their impacts here at Missouri Metro.


Bridging the Delmar Divide? Development at Euclid and Delmar Brings Big Promises

As the Central West End has seen historic levels of investment with tens of millions of dollars of renovations and new construction over the last few years, neighboring communities like Skinker-DeBaliviere, Midtown, and The Grove have experienced significant ancillary growth. St. Louis neighborhoods that traditionally make up what is known as the region’s “Central Corridor” have strengthened, revitalized, and become substantially more wealthy. Over the last few years in particular, other communities adjacent to the Central Corridor have begun to enjoy the fruits of St. Louis’ newfound development and success, yet with some notable exceptions.

While South St. Louis has seen its population stabilize or even increase in previously hard-hit neighborhoods like Dutchtown, much of North St. Louis has continued to depopulate as development has struggled to even begin to cross the infamous “Delmar Divide”. The divide, which signifies a racial and wealth gap between communities North and South of the street, has been a fixture of St. Louis politics and community action for decades.

Boutique studios and businesses like Cross Grand are booming in neighborhoods like Dutchtown – Brian Adler

Segregation in St. Louis is just as present today as it was decades ago, even if many of the practices such as Redlining and Restrictive Covenants are no longer explicitly legal. De facto segregation is still horrifyingly apparent. Communities still experience the impacts of a legal system designed to oppress people of color, where segregation in the form of Jim Crow laws are outlawed but wherein the consequences and harm are not actively fixed or accounted for. The systems that kept Black St. Louisans in the North side of the city and prevented investment in Black communities caused generational harm, and with only a handful of decades between now and Jim Crow, it is ludicrous to expect an even playing field.

The divide is as much engrained in the physical environment of St. Louis as it is in the demographic makeup of our communities. From Downtown to Skinker-DeBaliviere, neighborhoods directly South of Delmar Blvd. contain a host of infill, renovations, businesses with high-paying jobs, and significantly better infrastructure. Most notably, the neighborhoods South of Delmar are predominantly white.


Such issues might best be classified as “Wicked Problems“, often used in the environmental context, because of the large-scale and complex policy solutions that take many years to unpack. To solve segregation in St. Louis, like most U.S. cities, there is no single solution. Instead, a host of attitude and policy changes must occur.

With that said, there are notable efforts in action here in St. Louis that take aim at the most infamous geographical segregation at the city’s “Delmar Divide”. Kevin Bryant, President of Kingsway Development, recently unveiled a massive, $84 million development at the intersection of Euclid and Delmar Blvd. Looking to leverage the strength and momentum of the Central West End neighborhood and bring its success due North where investment abruptly ends, Bryant is taking aim at reducing vacancy, providing affordable housing, and creating a community of mixed income levels.

The Emerging Business Center – Image Found on CityScene STL

The project is predominantly located within the Fountain Park neighborhood, lying just North of the Central West End. In 2015, 84.4% of Fountain Park residents were Black, whereas just south of Delmar in the Central West End, only 29% of residents are Black. Despite its proximality to the CWE, it has seen its fortunes decline over the past several decades. Even as rents rise consistently just South of Delmar Blvd., the buildings in which Kingsway Development hope to redevelop mostly sit vacant.

Fountain Park Neighborhood – Image Provided by Google Maps

Often when large developments are proposed in lower income communities, ones that might be predominantly Black communities, gentrification reasonably becomes a major concern. While I have previously covered that social scientists generally have mixed views on the actual negative impacts of gentrification, some studies show that gentrifying neighborhoods lose their affordable units at 5x the rate of other neighborhoods. There is still active debate regarding how many residents are displaced or whether it is statistically significant when compared to how many residents might leave a neighborhood over several years in the first place, gentrification is a broader issue that covers more than simple physical displacement.

Like most big issues, there is considerable nuance. That is why developers should be cognizant of not just the negative impacts of gentrification, but also the historical character of a community and its demographic makeup. That is not to say that they cannot and should not build in certain communities, but that they should work with the community itself to make sure it can be part of the community, not taking advantage of it, but adding to it and providing value.

Delmar & Euclid – Image Provided by Google Maps

That careful planning is precisely what Kingsway Development has worked so hard to accomplish. Kevin Bryant, President of Kingsway Development, was kind enough to respond to my request for a comment with a substantial conversation on the merits and risks of his project.

Unlike other large, phased projects like the Centene Clayton Campus where the best, most impactful portions of the development are cancelled after being used to help push for tax incentives, Bryant and Kingsway are providing value instantly to Fountain Park. The first phase will include a mix of rehabs and new construction for affordable housing, capitalizing on historic, vacant housing stock and filling in vacant lots. Bryant believes that while gentrification is, and should be a concern to major developers, that this project brings more people in of mixed incomes where there weren’t residents already.

The Kingsway Development Corporation was created out of the necessity to cease the rapid decline of American neighborhoods and restore them to their potential of vibrancy and communal splendor. 

Kingsway Development

Bryant is quite proud of where his opportunity to develop this tract came from. The Fountain Park neighborhood sought a developer for this land, specifically looking for a way to capitalize off of its major potential and proximity to the CWE without negatively impacting or taking advantage of its residents. Working in conjunction with the neighborhood, St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC), and their Alderman, Bryant has found a large base of support. Solidified by public meetings and community input, the plan originated from the neighborhood and immediately offers public benefit. Much of the support is public and visible with written endorsements here.

The plan will include five projects over 2 years alongside and North of Delmar Blvd. Construction will begin alongside Delmar, where the vacancy is immediately apparent across from The Lofts at Euclid, on the South side of the Euclid and Delmar intersection.

The Lofts at Euclid – Lofts at Euclid Website

The first phase will include 22 affordable homes, below market-rate, aimed at creating a more “mixed”, dense neighborhood that residents of different incomes can enjoy. Bryant hopes to “set the precedent” with these homes, creating a model for other developers and investors to follow as he opens up later phases to other developers who go through their community approval process. If other individuals or companies seek to purchase adjacent LRA property, some of which can be found here, they must go to the neighborhood association, Kingsway Development, and ultimately through the LRA approval process. This methodology will prevent speculators and ill-equipped investors from hindering progress.

The first batch of construction will also include a $6.3 rehab of the building at 4731 Delmar Blvd. into office and commercial space, creating a more mixed-use neighborhood once each phase is built out. The gallery below showcases the current and future state of the large structure. This will be a significant street activation, where a blank wall currently meets the sidewalk.

Kingsway Development is seeking a $6.2 million subsidy in the form of tax-increment financing (TIF) from the St. Louis City TIF Commission, followed by a public hearing on December 9, 2020. While Missouri Metro shares the concerns of many St. Louis City residents regarding TIFs and utilizing public financing means as a tool for economic development, this project exists in an entirely different context than most big developments that receive TIFs. While this proposal runs along Delmar Blvd. and the blocks North of the infamous, long-lasting demographic divide, many others utilize public financing even in strong markets in the city’s Central Corridor.

TIFs are best used to eliminate the “market gap” that exists in developing or low-income areas, wherein the cost of development and revitalization exceeds the expected return on investment. They can be an incredible tool when used properly, aiding neighborhoods that traditionally wouldn’t see money flowing in. As Missouri State Auditor Galloway recently revealed in a public audit, however, St. Louis City leaders lack any formalized methodologies or goals when awarding TIFs, often aiding developers where there might not be any market gap.


In this case, Kingsway Development plans for the TIF to primarily go toward streetscape improvements along Delmar Blvd., which is in poor shape thanks to the long-term lack of investment. Other financing is also expected, including Missouri & Federal Historic Tax Credits, Missouri Brownfields Tax Credits, and Federal New Market Tax Credits. While there is still a funding gap, Bryant and the SLDC are optimistic that the project will fill that void as it solidifies investor partnerships.

With the office and commercial building at 4701 Delmar preleased already, according to Bryant, and poised to potentially break ground this December, they are preparing the subsequent phases for a quick rollout. Kingsway Development plans for a second office building with a $14 million price tag to begin shortly after construction at 4701 Delmar begins, with a rehab slated to begin around the same time at 4915 Delmar Blvd. The 4915 Delmar rehab is projected to cost $3.8 million and become a performing arts center to create a more vibrant, 24-7 district.

4915 Delmar – Image Provided by Google Maps

Late next year, perhaps the biggest portion of the project is slated to begin – a $43 million apartment complex, “The Bridge”, with 156 residential units. These units will add significant density to the Fountain Park neighborhood and fill out the vacant Northern section of the Euclid and Delmar intersection.

“We imagine creating a project that will be a symbolic unifier for both sides of the street,”

Kevin Bryant – speaking to the TIF Commission

Many of the units offered will be market-rate, adding to the many affordable homes being renovated and built on neighborhing parcels. Some of those affordable homes will be restored LRA properties, which sit vacant and awaiting developers willing to salvage distressed properties. Unfortunately, the LRA is one of the few land banks in the country without funding sources (save for the sales themselves), and it generally does not have sufficient resources to put work into the thousands of homes it owns to fill the aforementioned market gap. As such, many LRA properties worsen in condition and become even harder to sell to investors. A significant purchase of these properties, with many being salvaged, is a big deal both in terms of historic preservation and because it perhaps saves these homes from the wrecking ball, freeing up other city resources.

The Bridge – Kingsway Development

While the project is certainly large in scope, Bryant and Kingsway Development are not going in alone. Alongside the full backing of the community and partners like the SLDC, his development team includes industry veterans such as Brian Pratt, a former Green Street executive, as well as Kwame Building Group and Trivers, a construction and architecture firm.

Missouri Metro has extensively covered phased developments that go wrong, like the Centene campus mentioned at the top of this article. That being said, development proposals like the project Kingsway Development has put forth, deserve extra focus, and perhaps even praise if done correctly. This is especially true when considering the impacts on a low-income, predominantly Black community that has seen decades, if not centuries of oppression. A large development could either the first domino that falls and triggers the transformation and empowerment of a community, or the erasure of one that has suffered so much already.


Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, who represents the 22nd St. Louis Ward in North City, was kind enough to make himself available to Missouri Metro to discuss the hardships Black people have historically faced that helped create the Delmar Divide as we see it today. We also were able to discuss the development patterns seen in the city, and Boyd specifically called out the tendency for officials to award public financing packages to projects in the Central West End while streets, homes, and whole neighborhoods crumble just North of Delmar.

Alderman Boyd – St. Louis 22nd Ward

Boyd stresses that the only major developments North City has seen, or that the city has generally helped to promote, are affordable housing units. While those have positive impacts and fill a specific need, Boyd worries that they don’t do much to attract any new families or investment to North City neighborhoods. They do not make it more desirable, rather, only solidify the low-income status of communities if they are the only major investment seen. He believes that the best developments would begin to make more mixed income communities, offering amenities that actually attract new residents, providing better amenities and a better built environment for existing residents as well. That is to say, while affordable housing would be a fundamental inclusion, investment should go beyond that and create, support, and foster diverse communities.

City support would go a long way for improving North St. Louis neighborhoods, where institutional barriers like access to financing already create a bleak picture for residents looking to better their own communities. Alderman Boyd and his wife, Patrice Boyd, grew up on the same street they now live on today, and after moving back following his time in the military, they looked to invest in real estate and restore housing stock.

At the time, they could hardly get a hold of their Alderman. They hunted for grants, and partnered with Northside Regeneration, which has now developed a reputation for sitting on land while promising major projects with pretty renderings. Finally, they sought their own financing with banking institutions like Landmarks, Gershland, and UMB. Each bank denied the Boyd’s mortgage applications. While you might assume, as the reader, that this was during the height of Redlining, this was actually in the 1990s – long after Redlining became explicitly illegal. None of the banks gave Boyd any reason for their rejection, until finally he strolled into UMB and demanded to know why they could not be approved for a mortgage. UMB claimed that it was due to credit card debt, which amounted to a couple hundred dollars spread over a few credit cards, despite their steady combined income.

One of the many distressed, historical LRA Properties (left) in Fountain Park – Image Provided by Google Maps

It would be an easy fix under normal circumstances, but UMB forced Boyd to send physical copies of the money orders used to pay off the incredibly minor credit card debt to the bank. For those who have never experienced the process of applying for and receiving a mortgage, this is an inexplicably complicated process they forced Alderman Boyd through. The banks also did not follow one of the most important elements of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, passed in 1974, which requires lending institutions to always provide a clear reason for mortgage or loan denial.

Boyd ultimately resolved the issue, only to find himself hindered by the appraisal for his 3-family property he was revitalizing. The appraiser claimed that she could not provide an appraisal of the value he needed for his mortgage in their North St. Louis City neighborhood. The Boyd’s simply needed an appraisal of 50k or higher, and appraisals in Soulard, which was in poor shape and beginning to see more rehabs at the time, were significantly higher. They Boyd’s finally prevailed after significant effort with the bank and the appraiser, ultimately receiving an appraisal of 70k+. After the rehab, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and CDA featured the property under the “House of the Month” series run at the time, all the while not recognizing the many obstacles in place that prevent passionate neighbors of his improve their community.

Even more ironic, they became the “poster children” for UMB Bank, making massive posters of their home in their bank branches as an example of what was possible with their rehab loans, despite their initial denial and near refusal to appraise the home at the value necessary because of its neighborhood.


At the same time, his neighbors have been preyed upon by predatory lenders. First time homebuyers were buying mortgages that were sold as all-encompassing, as most mortgages are, but that ultimately did not package in property taxes, insurance, and mortgage interest into the loan. These residents were met with massive bills at the end of their first year of ownership and were either foreclosed upon or had to make major sacrifices. Most of those homes now sit vacant, dilapidated, and devoid of the life they used to hold.

Missouri Metro greatly appreciates the willingness Alderman Boyd to share his story that unfortunately is all-too-common among North St. Louis residents. These were not always low-income communities, where vacant buildings often outnumber those occupied. Boyd remembers being able to walk to the nearby JC Penny, and the many stores nearby that helped makeup a somewhat middle class neighborhood. There were concerted, systemic efforts made by large institutions that local governments either ignored or tacitly supported that decimated Black communities.

Alderman Boyd’s experience fills out the context for why the Kingsway Development proposal is so impactful and important to analyze. While he is not too familiar with the project, he knows of Bryant and the effort he puts into his work. This project also begins to meet Boyd’s criteria for positive development in North City communities, bringing real, sizeable investment and public financing to a neighborhood that needs it. Better yet, it brings a more mixed community, one with amenities that will serve a diverse population in a densely built environment.

While the development proposed just may make a big difference at this intersection, it will require much more than the laudable work of Bryant to restore North STL. It will require focus, oversight, significant financing, and buy-in from the broader St. Louis community. There must be a huge shift in how and where public financing is utilized in the city, founded upon a broad recognition and understanding of how St. Louis, like many other cities, has historically failed its Black residents and communities.

%d bloggers like this: