Developer Hulse Defines Green Street’s Visionary Thinking

By on April 7, 2016

by Tom Finan, Executive Director, Construction Forum STL

Tuesday morning (April 5)  Phil Hulse, co-founder of developer Green Street St. Louis, shared some of the secrets of his company’s visionary approach. Green Street has repeatedly shown the ability to rebuild crumbling corners of St. Louis into vibrant new purposes, creating jobs and revitalizing neighborhoods in the process.

Hulse answers questions for attendees.

Hulse seems to have a special developer’s X-Ray vision — the ability to look beyond crumbling factory walls, a polluted landscape, or sagging urban streets and see an icon of sustainability, an industrial park, or a vibrant micro brewery.

There were 357 people registered for Tuesday’s program. After a networking session, Forum President Joe Blanner told the audience about a new STEM/CTE online database initiative, a mentoring program, and an outreach effort for immigrant children in which the Forum is involved. He also announced awards that the Forum has received from the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers and Focus St. Louis, as well as finalist designation from the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers.

Heidi Schoen, economic liaison, St. Louis, MO/IL Office of Transition, Employment, and Economic Impact for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs briefly described the Veterans Employment Center an integrated, online tool connecting veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses with both public and private-sector employers.

The site provides a database of resumes for employers who are seeking to leverage the skills and talents of veterans, service members, and their spouses. Schoen said that the database currently has about 28,000 active resumes. She is available to explain how the database workers to employers. Schoen can be reached at  direct phone: 314.399.2024 , email: heidi.schoen@va.gov.

“Scalable Clustering”

Green Street’s Hulse told those attending the Forum event that Green Street’s approach to development includes user driven collaboration, an emphasis on sustainability, and “clustering on a scalable basis”.

 He  believes in closely controlling all aspects of the project in order to facilitate that collaboration. Working with two former Anheuser-Busch executives, Green Street re-envisioned a paper warehouse in The Grove as the Urban Chestnut brewery. The project increased the company’s production from 15,000 to 100,000 barrels per year, achieved silver LEED certification… and created a venue where Hulse said you can find as many as 500 people enjoying the brewery’s products on a sunny weekend.

The event venue, Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, is another Green Street collaboration success story. Hulse said that collaboration with the building’s tenant/owners for critical to the success of the project. After Green Street acquired the former Missouri Boiler facility, they saw an opportunity to bring up a location once overlooked for its industrial use. Sustainability played a big role, as did the potential to build on the strengths that Hulse already saw in the neighborhood.

Today, Chouteau Crossing is home to two businesses and two LEED-certified buildings. In 2011, Green Street was awarded the City of St. Louis – Development of the Year. The LEED Platinum Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 36 facility is the highest-rated LEED-certified facility in the St. Louis area.

To date Green Street has achieved 10 LEED certifications, including two platinum certifications.
hulse audience

357 people registered to attend the April 5 Forum event. 

River City Business Park, located just north of River City Casino – has been over six years in the making.  The project is being being built on the former toxic site of a coke (as in coal cooking for steelmaking) site that had sat vacant for three decades. Green Street is building a 125,000-square-foot spec building in the River City Business Park – the first part of 725,000 square feet of projected construction on the site. This is the first of five(5) buildings planned on the 54-acre site located just north of River City Casino.

“Bombed-Out” Blocks to Transport Hub

Hulse saw a “bombed-out,” but once vibrant manufacturing/transportation district on the St. Louis riverfront off North Broadway as possessing the ability to become a transportation hub. He said that focusing on that scalable approach helped sell the vision of the neighborhood.

PowerPoint Presentation

Scalability facilitated a partnership with the City of  St. Louis. Hulse’s ability to c0nvey that vision to the real estate director of Love’s Travel Center’s led to that company investing $12M in  the first fueling/truck stop location in that area at 6124 N. Broadway.

Click here for download of Hulse’s presentation.

To date, Green Street’s vision has resulted in $100M in investment, creating over 1.2 million in new or renovated projects and 1,000 jobs.

Green Street Real Estate Ventures also recently signed a 12-year lease with Avatara, a local cloud hosting/web support company, for approximately 30,000 SF at 2351 Market. Avatara is the lead tenant for the office building renovation project at 2351 Market, the former Wells Fargo building located at the prominent intersection of Jefferson and Market in the City of St. Louis.

This project is piggybacking on the “dark fiber” network that was available at the site. Dark fiber refers to unused fiber-optic cable. Often times companies lay more lines than what’s needed in order to curb costs of having to do it again and again. The dark strands can be leased to individuals or other companies who want to establish optical connections among their own locations.

An Eye on the Future

At the end of March/beginning of April, Hulse attended a conference at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, “Global Cities in an Era of Change.”  Many of the trends that Hulse heard presented at that conference mirror approaches that Green Street is already incorporating in its approaches to new projects. These include millennials wanting to return to the urban corridor, technology, incorporating wellness in design, amenities that encourage collaboration, and integration of new materials.

Green Street’s wish list of changes for the better in the St. Louis region mirror many of ConstructForSTL’s programs over the past two years. Among these are regional/corporate cooperation, inclusion, attracting new residents to the region,

About Tom Finan