Some are moving ahead, as promised. Some have changed. A few have stalled.
Among St. Louis projects in the news last year are hotel, residential and entertainment projects downtown, plus apartment and commercial projects in the Grove.
Some would transform some of the city’s historic gems, including Union Station and the Union Trust building. Others promise to add energy to already-thriving commercial districts.
Here are updates on some of the projects that made headlines in 2016:
Hotel St. Louis
Final planning is underway to begin conversion in early April of the historic Union Trust building downtown as a boutique hotel and apartments.
Restoration St. Louis will renovate the building at 705 Olive Street as a 136-room Autograph hotel, a Marriott brand, with apartments on the top two floors of the 14-story structure. The $55 million project will include a rooftop bar, a ballroom and a valet parking drop-off area on what is now a parking lot on the building’s north side. Hotel and apartment parking will be in the city-owned garage across Olive from the Union Trust. Restoration St. Louis has a deal with the city to lease about 200 parking spots.
The developer plans to bring back elements of the Union Trust, designed by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. Amy Gill, Restoration St. Louis’ chief executive, said the company is piecing together surviving bits of the original arched entry with the goal of replicating Sullivan’s design.
“It’s like doing a giant puzzle and seeing if we can make all the pieces fit,” she said.
Two long-gone Sullivan elements — exterior gargoyles and large round second-floor windows — will not return. But enough original crown molding has been found to restore the 1893 building’s elevator lobbies, Gill said.
Gill said she is eager to begin Hotel St. Louis construction, which will take a year.
“Financing is done, and we’re rocking and rolling,” she said.
Interior demolition began weeks ago at the LaSalle building, which will be Hotel Indigo at the Arch when it opens by the middle of 2018.
ViaNova Development, of Chattanooga, Tenn., is doing the $11 million project, which encompasses the LaSalle, at 501 Olive, and the adjoining Paradowski building at 303 North Broadway. Neil Kapadia, a ViaNova principal, said the LaSalle should be “cleared out” in February.
“From there, it’s full speed ahead … and beginning construction,” he said.
Financing, including 10 years of tax abatement from the city, is complete, Kapadia said. Hotel plans include a ground-floor restaurant and a rooftop bar on the 13-story LaSalle portion of the project.
Former Mercantile Library
Except for the Hotel Indigo site, developer Brian Hayden owns the block bounded by North Broadway and Olive, Sixth and Locust streets. The block includes the Millennium Center, the former Mercantile Library and other buildings of five or six floors.
Hayden already has rehabbed the Millennium Center as a mixture of offices and apartments. In August, he described for the Post-Dispatch his intention to redo the other buildings on the block as apartments with parking at their front doors.
Ramps inside the now-vacant buildings would let residents to drive to their apartments on what, in effect, would be indoor streets. The interior ramps would have to be constructed.
Hayden said each floor could have features to signify a theme — rocks to simulate a desert and fake snow to set a winter scene — for examples. He said the apartments could be ready in 2018.
A city building permit issued Dec. 13 outlines a $327,000 project that indicates construction of parking on several floors. Efforts this week to reach Hayden for comment were unsuccessful.
Its owner, Lodging Hospitality Management, remains a few weeks from picking the operator of the $45 million aquarium planned for a summer 2018 opening.
Steve O’Loughlin, LHM’s president, said the plan has gone through “a lot of iterations” but still includes a large shark tank and other features disclosed when the company announced the project in August. LHM is still discussing the aquarium project with potential operators, he said.
“We just have to pick a horse and we’ll get going,” O’Loughlin said. “We’re close.”
Other Union Station plans announced in August remain on schedule. Work will begin by the end of January on an additional 30,000 square feet of meeting space and construction of 28 hotel rooms — down from the previously announced 32 — in the station’s clock tower. Both projects should be completed in June, O’Loughlin said.
Already done are a fire-and-light show and boardwalk at the small lake beneath the station’s train shed.
Union Station opened in 1894 and for decades was among the nation’s busiest passenger rail terminals. It closed in 1978 when Amtrak relocated its St. Louis station. LHM bought the station in 2012.
O’Loughlin said LHM’s plan still includes a 200-foot-tall observation wheel announced two years ago. The wheel, planned for part of what is now a parking lot, will be next to the train shed and an area of food-and-drink outlets in remodeled shipping containers. O’Loughlin said those projects will open at about the same time as the aquarium.
Spencer Development’s plan to build a seven-story building of apartments, stores and offices on a city-owned parking lot in the Grove moved ahead Tuesday when an aldermanic committee approved the project for 10 years of tax abatement.
Stores, 30 apartments and offices with an outdoor terrace are part of the $6.25 million project to construct a glass-and-concrete building at 4101 Manchester Avenue. Sale of the site to Spencer could occur this month.
Liberty Bell Oil Co. building
Plans appear to be on hold for a food truck park next to the vacant building at 1430 South Vandeventer Avenue, also in the Grove.
Efforts to reach the developer were unsuccessful. A neighborhood official said the project might proceed with a new primary tenant in addition to the food truck park.
Paramount Property Development, which owns the Liberty Bell building, has proposed food truck parking on the site with a joint commissary in the building.
The University City development advanced Monday when the City Council approved the site plan for the project at Olive Boulevard and North and South Road.
Proposed are a brewery, tasting room and restaurant that would boost a branding program University City officials call Olive Link. It’s an effort to bring more business and activity to the street’s four-mile stretch between Interstate 170 and Skinker Boulevard, in St. Louis.
Apogee office building
The project in Clayton is stalled. A Crest Management affiliate, developer of the proposed 14-story building, had hoped to begin construction last year.
In June, the owner of an adjacent office building expressed opposition to Apogee’s size and proposed parking requirement. Crest Management wants to build the tower at 8125 Forsyth Boulevard and use the existing parking garage adjoining the site.
Jared Novelly, head of Crest Management, declined last week to discuss Apogee details but said the project is “at the back of the line” for consideration by Clayton’s Architectural Review Board.