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36-story apartment tower planned for Central West End site on Kingshighway

36-story apartment tower planned for Central West End site on Kingshighway


A 36-story, strikingly modern apartment tower is expected to rise next year from a Central West End parking lot and top out as the city of St. Louis’ tallest residential building.

The project’s architect is Studio Gang, headed by Jeanne Gang, a 2011 MacArthur Foundation fellow whose designs include the acclaimed Aqua Tower in Chicago.

At 385 feet, the mostly glass St. Louis building overlooking Forest Park at 100 North Kingshighway is set to be 75 feet taller than the Chase Park Plaza just to the north and 55 feet taller than the Park East Tower two blocks away. It also will be 65 feet taller than the apartment building planned for Ballpark Village downtown, according to Emporis, a building information firm in Hamburg, Germany.

Aside from the 630-foot Gateway Arch, the Kingshighway apartment building — named One Hundred — will look up in St. Louis to only the Metropolitan Square, One AT&T Center, Eagleton U.S. Courthouse, U.S. Bank Plaza, Laclede Gas, Southwestern Bell and Civil Courts buildings.

Still, it will not be the tallest residential building in metro St. Louis. That distinction goes to the 409-foot Plaza in Clayton condo tower in Clayton. Missouri’s tallest residential building is the 481-foot Kansas City Power & Light building, a 1930s Art Deco office tower undergoing an apartment conversion in downtown Kansas City.

One Hundred’s developer is Mac Properties, of Englewood, N.J. The private real estate firm plans to begin construction within a year and complete the approximately $130 million project in 2019.

Under founding principal Gang, Chicago-based Studio Gang’s emphasis on nature produced Aqua Tower and Solstice in the Park, among others. Studio Gang describes the 82-story Aqua Tower as a vertical landscape of hills, valleys and pools. Solstice, also in Chicago, is underway as a 26-story residential building with angled exterior windows that maximize winter daylight and minimize summer heat.

Studio Gang projects

The 82-story Aqua Tower in Chicago (left), a rendering of Solstice on the Park in Chicago, and a rendering of Folsom Bay Tower in San Francisco, all projects by Studio Gang Architects. Images courtesy of Studio Gang Architects

Gang said Thursday that One Hundred is designed to give its residents wide views of Forest Park to the west and the Arch to the east. Each of its 305 apartments will have a corner living room to increase the amount of interior daylight. One Hundred’s facade of angled glass is intended to enhance residents’ views and to save energy.

“In a climate with four distinct seasons, we wanted to make it possible for residents to enjoy the different views and natural changes in light over the course of the year,” Gang said. “By experimenting with the geometry of the facade and refining the apartment layouts, we were able to make every apartment into a corner unit perched above the park and city.”

Tiers of four stories will repeat over the height of the building, with the facade’s angles producing outdoor terraces for a fourth of the apartments. Working with opportunities provided by the site orientation and environmental forces, the building’s leaflike shape and tiered design will cut energy use and increase residents’ comfort, Gang said.

Glass walls sloped outward will make the apartments seem larger, said the architect, adding that One Hundred’s design also is intended to show that “people live in the building.”

“It doesn’t look like a corporate office building,” she added. “It looks like a residential building.”

One Hundred is Studio Gang’s first project in St. Louis and the fifth project for Mac Properties, following two historic renovations and two new residential towers in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

Gang is likely the most celebrated architect to work in St. Louis since Philip Johnson and Tadao Ando.

Ando designed the Pulitzer Arts Foundation building that opened in Grand Center in 2001. Johnson was the architect of the 1970s General American Life Insurance Co. headquarters downtown. Spire, formerly Laclede Group, now occupies the renovated and restored building.

‘Newest and shiniest’

One Hundred’s design has a 355-vehicle parking garage, including one level underground. In addition to parking, the building’s five-story base will have 882 square feet of shop space and 6,756 square feet of “amenity space.”

Eli Ungar, founder of Mac Properties, said about 40 percent of the apartments will have one bedroom. About 40 percent will have two bedrooms and the remainder will be divided equally between studio and three-bedroom units. Rents near $3 per square foot per month, high for St. Louis, are possible in a neighborhood as “exquisite” as the Central West End, he said.

One Hundred will be the growing neighborhood’s “newest and shiniest” development and will be “in line with the nicest stuff in Clayton,” Ungar said.

Mac Properties, founded in 2002, already owns St. Louis apartment buildings, including the Dorchester, at 665 South Skinker Boulevard, and the Montclair and Parc Frontenac apartments on Kingshighway near the One Hundred site. The company has owned the site for years and has long wanted to build on it.

Another Mac Properties project in St. Louis is the 220-unit apartment building planned as part of the latest expansion at the Cortex tech district in the Central West End.

Mac Properties’ portfolio — concentrated in St. Louis’ Central West End, Chicago’s Hyde Park, and midtown Kansas City — consists of about 7,000 apartments and 400,000 square feet of commercial space.

The company specializes in new construction and historic renovation of apartment buildings.

Tax abatement

One Hundred is in line for property tax abatement from the city. After months of negotiations with Mac Properties, city development officials and Alderman Joe Roddy, whose 17th Ward includes One Hundred’s site, agreed to support the project with 95 percent tax abatement for 10 years and 50 percent tax abatement for five years. The subsidy would represent about 8 percent of the project’s cost, officials said.

The city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority is scheduled to consider One Hundred’s tax abatement plan at its meeting Tuesday.

Mac Properties initially sought 20 years of full tax abatement, officials said. Pushback by city officials prompted the developer to increase One Hundred’s height by seven floors to accommodate about 50 more apartments and spread out the project’s cost, Roddy said.

At 95 percent abatement, One Hundred’s city property tax bill will average $322 per apartment per year, he said. The average household property tax bill in the city is $911.

Roddy said One Hundred will further the Central West End as the city’s primary “car-optional neighborhood.”

“I think the project will become an overnight landmark for St. Louis,” he said.

Roddy has scheduled a public meeting for 7 p.m. Monday at the Schlafly branch library, 225 North Euclid Avenue, to discuss One Hundred with neighborhood residents. Mac Properties and Studio Gang representatives are scheduled to attend.

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Tim Bryant is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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