Forum Presents Tour of Corridor to STL’s Future

By on June 22, 2017

by Tom Finan, Executive Director, Construction Forum STL

During the course of a panel presentation to a packed house Tuesday, a vision of St. Louis was presented that encompassed elements of New York’s High Line, Atlanta’s Ponce City Market  and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail — plus new jobs, housing, and retail.

Presenters, left to right,  Ellison, Hulse, Rogan, and Hamilton

There were 614 persons registered for the presentation “STL Central Corridor: Pathway To Tomorrow,” held at Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 Grand Hall. Presenters were  Phyllis Ellison, director of Entrepreneur Service and Institutional/Corporate Partnerships for the Cortex Innovation Community; Garrick Hamilton, executive vice president and general counsel, Koman Group, developer of Chroma (formerly Chouteau’s Grove) and other Central Corridor projects; Todd Rogan, director of development services, Lawrence Group, developer of City Foundry STL; and Phil Hulse, principal, Green Street St. Louis, developer of  The Armory District.

Ellison said that — 15 years into its task of turning a once moldering light industrial area into a tech hub with round-the-clock activities — the 200-acre area is just 1.6 million square feet into its ultimate goal of 4 million square feet, creating $825 million in annual payroll.Currently under construction in the next phase of Cortex’s expansion is the new Cortex Metrolink Station, and a 180,000 square foot office building that will include a regional Microsoft Technology Center, an event venue, and workout facility. Groundbreaking for a new hotel will take place in Fall 2017.  Click here to download Ellison’s presentation.

A New Way to Get Around

Light rail and pedestrian bike access was a recurring them through all the presentations. Garrick Hamilton noted that Koman’s Everly on the Loop residential/retail development with 209 units and 428 beds will only have parking for about half of that, by intent. The young people who are the project’s target market will be forced to (and want to) avail themselves of public transportation. They want to have amenities and recreation within walking/biking distance, he said.

The presenters alluded to plans for a pedestrian/bike greenway extending through the Central Corridor to Downtown, beginning at Forest Park at Kingshighway. That information that had not been released previously.

Koman is also currently building The Euclid in the Central West End, with 72 units of  housing, 13,000 square feet of office, and 11,000 square feet of retail (including St. Louis’s first Shake Shack). In the Grove, Chroma a 235 unit residential/17,400 sq. ft. retail joint venture with Green Street is underway. Koman is also planning a mixed-use project on vacant land in Cortex that will feature “tech offices” for creative and entrepreneurial companies, and another project centered around art, community, programming and pedestrian access at Sarah and Chouteau. Click here to download Hamilton’s presentation.

Hulse said that the historic armory will be packaged as a district. It will serve as an event venue and will offer “plug and play” bandwidth in office spaces designed by Arcturis. Unique views of the city will be afforded from a broad rooftop deck promenade. A Great Rivers Greenway pedestrian/bike path will connect the development with the rest of the corridor, including the City Foundry project across I40/64. The current phase of the project is projected at $43M. Buildout of the entire district is estimated at $83 million. To view Hulse’s presentation, click here.

To Market, To Market

Todd Rogan emphasized the development engine that the Central Corridor has become. He listed projects by BJC, Koman, Green Street  Cortex, NGA, SSM/SLU and others and stated that there is more than $5 billion in capital investment underway within a one-mile radius of City Foundry STL. To view Rogan’s presentation, click here.

Rogan said that  a trip to Atlanta by Lawrence Group CEO Steve Smith with his son included a visit to that city’s Ponce City Market. When Smith saw the vaulted space inside of the former Federal Mogul automotive parts factory he envisioned a similar venue for St. Louis. A number of food venues are already in various stages of plans to participate in the project.

City Foundry’s $134.2 million first phase renovation of foundry buildings would be followed quickly by construction of a 24-story apartment tower on Forest Park Avenue and, later, by construction of office buildings on the nearly 17-acre site. If fully built, City Foundry’s cost could reach $340 million.

An elevated rail line going through the site will connect with Great Rivers’ Chouteau Greenway.

About Tom Finan