Plans are afoot to connect the Cortex tech district and the Grove entertainment area with a pedestrian and bike corridor along South Sarah Street.
Koman Group is leading the project, which — not just by coincidence — will connect the firm’s Chouteau’s Grove mixed-use project on Manchester Avenue and its recently purchased 3.3-acre redevelopment site in Cortex.
“The impetus was to connect these two great projects and connect these two great neighborhoods,” said Jason Braidwood, Koman Group’s president.
He said Wednesday the quarter-mile route on Sarah will have new lighting, landscaping, street art, sculptures, murals and dedicated bikeways. Koman Group is working with representatives of Cortex and public agencies on the project. The cost has yet to be estimated but Braidwood expects work will begin in 2017.
Koman hopes the ped-bike route can later be expanded farther north into the Central West End and south to new developments in the Tower Grove area. The first segment will end at Clayton Avenue, near the site of MetroLink’s Cortex station to be built between Sarah and South Boyle Avenue.
Dennis Lower, chief executive of Cortex, said Koman’s project fits the comprehensive effort to make the area more suitable for biking and walking. He said Koman officials want the route to “really make it inviting to connect down to the Grove.”
A Koman project goal is connection to the Chouteau Greenway recreational trail under development by the Great Rivers Greenway district. Susan Trautman, Great Rivers’ executive director, said her agency is not directly involved in the Koman project but added that it supports the endeavor.
Under construction in the 4100 block of Manchester Avenue is Chouteau’s Grove, a project of 235-market rate apartments by Koman and Green Street Development. The four-story building will have 17,500 square feet of retail space, Braidwood said. Garage parking is included in the project, scheduled to open in spring 2018.
Cortex and Koman officials are discussing what to build on the 3.3-acre site formerly occupied by U.S. Metals and Supply within the tech district at South Sarah and Duncan Avenue. Koman bought the site in September, Lower said.
Discussions are early on how the site should be redeveloped, he said.
Koman is targeting several regional and national tenants for an energy-efficient office project anchoring its Cortex parcel. Alternatives under consideration are hospitality, multifamily residential and retail uses. Koman also is working with “nearby stakeholders to plan a universal parking solution for the south Cortex area,” he said.