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Streets of St. Charles to come alive next spring

ROY SYKES / JOURNAL Construction of a 100,000-square-foot building is underway at the Streets of St. Charles, a 27-acre mixed-use development at the southeast corner of South Fifth Street and Interstate 70.

Seventy-five percent of the 100,000 square feet of space available in the first building under construction at the Streets of St. Charles has been leased, a project spokesman said.

That building, one of 17 planned for the 27-acre mixed-use development at the southeast corner of South Fifth Street and Interstate 70, is slated for completion next spring, with the first retail opening to follow in June and other business openings next summer.

The development's first group of tenants includes Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Wamhoff Financial Planning and Accounting Services, the Brown Smith Wallace accounting firm and MassageLuxe.

"We've been in partnership with the city and we want to try to bring in new retailers to the area," said Brian Buralli, marketing manager for the developer, Cullinan Properties Ltd. "In general, it's a matter of people wanting a good upscale experience."

As planned, the ground floor of the three-story building would house retail and restaurant space. The upper levels will contain office space. Workers just started putting the facade on the building.

The entire development will have more than 1 million square feet and Buralli said all of the infrastructure — storm drains — is complete. When the first building opens next spring, it will be accessible directly off South Fifth Street.

Cullinan took control of the property in 2007, but the recession has hindered the project's progress. In January 2010, the St. Charles City Council issued $40 million in bonds to jump start the project.

The council on July 19 approved an amended regulating plan calling for more commercial square footage, less residential space and fewer buildings than were proposed when the development previously was called the Plaza at Noah's Ark.

The site plan allows for 17 buildings, as many as 12 of which would be one or two stories tall. None would be taller than six stories.

An earlier plan called for 27 buildings ranging from one to 18 stories and set aside 374,200 square feet for commercial space and 759,600 for residential units.

Under the current plan, commercial square footage will range from 561,575 to 1,147,275. Residential square footage can be from 505,000 to 602,000, with an average unit size of 971 square feet.

Construction of the second building is expected to begin sometime in 2012, Buralli said. The 300,000-square-foot building would include the site's 196 residential units. Cullinan doesn't plan to sell any of the residential units for now.

The residential units are described as "luxury" apartments that feature many upgrades. Amenities would include a private clubhouse and fitness center, locker rooms, business center, cinema, pool, hot tub and terrace. Beneath the residential levels will be 50,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants.

A 1,000-space parking garage also is slated to be built in 2012.

"Because of the development's residential component, you'll have people living on site that can walk to work. And from a retail standpoint, they'll have a built-in audience," Buralli said.

The Streets of St. Charles should come alive about the same time as the closure of the westbound span of the Blanchette Memorial Bridge. On Nov. 2, Missouri highway commissioners awarded a $62.7 million contract to Walsh Construction to rebuild the 53-year-old westbound span.

Once that works begins, westbound I-70 traffic will be shifted to the eastbound span, which will be restriped for three lanes in each direction. The bridge carries about 160,000 vehicles per day across the Missouri River.

Buralli said Cullinan is prepared for the closure and confident the Missouri Department of Transportation will get the word out about alternate routes to lessen its impact.

"MoDOT has put together some good traffic control plans, so we don't feel like it will impact us that greatly," Buralli said.