8 Billion in Projects from the Arch to Wash U Article

Construction activity, major renovations, office projects, etc. in the Central Corridor -- defined by the area south of Delmar Avenue and North of Interstate 44/55.
What I find interesting about the article is that this weeks cover story in the Journal is how (outside of Clayton) they list only 1 billion of projects from the Metro East to St. Charles. Subscibe to the Journal for the graphics that detail their findings.
Makes you realize all the naysayers about the economic viability of the city don't have a clue.


Who knew: $8 billion in projects from Arch to Wash U 

By Greg Edwards  – Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal

Sep 27, 2018, 2:52pm CDT Updated Sep 27, 2018, 3:10pm

You know all the woe-is-us news about St. Louis: crime, racial tension, dysfunctional governments, loss of corporate headquarters.

How about a big dose of good news?

“There is almost $8 billion in development going on in the core of St. Louis — right now — and few people know about it,” said John Dubinsky, chairman of Stifel Bank & Trust and founder and former chairman of the Cortex Innovation Community.

Consider these eye-openers: More than $7.9 billion in projects from the Arch to Washington University are recently completed or underway. They include more than $300 million at Washington U’s Danforth Campus, $500 million in Forest Park Southeast and the Central West End, $1 billion at Saint Louis University, and $1.3 billion at Cortex and the surrounding neighborhood.

Downtown projects include the $385 million Gateway Arch renovation, the $260 million Ballpark Village Phase II, and Union Station Aquarium and Jefferson Arms Building renovation, each a $100 million investment.

Then there’s the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in north St. Louis, estimated to be a $1.75 billion project, and likely to go higher. “It will be $2.5 billion before it’s all done,” Dubinsky said.

“In my career as an architect, I have never seen so much activity in a concentrated area,” said Steve Smith, who founded development company Lawrence Group 35 years ago. “What is going on today — $8 billion — will transform the face of St. Louis to the world.”

In the Midtown Cortex district, nine projects are recently completed or underway that total almost $400 million, including Lawrence Group’s $200 million City Foundry Phase 1, the $13 million MetroLink station and a $65 million tech office building at 4220 Duncan, where Microsoft recently opened an office. Announced leases in the 335,000-square-foot first phase of the Lawrence Group’s Foundry include a movie theater and rooftop outdoor screen, beer hall and beer garden, restaurants and offices.

Also in the Cortex district, construction has just begun on the $44 million rehab of the Crescent building, which is owned by Washington University and will house BioGenerator Labs and later-stage startups, and already it’s 85 percent leased. A $30 million Aloft Hotel is under construction, as well. In the surrounding neighborhood, private investment of $950 million has resulted in 34 projects in three years.

Also noteworthy, the $7.9 billion includes only projects of $10 million or more. There are many smaller projects as well.

The city of St. Louis issued $1.14 billion in building permits in the fiscal year ended June 30, almost double the year before, Mayor Lyda Krewson said. “I see construction dumpsters everywhere, and I love it,” she said. “These are $30,000, $50,0000, $100,000 projects all over the city. That means people have the confidence to invest.”

Dennis Lower, president and CEO of Cortex, said 379 companies and research centers have located in the Cortex district so far. “In 2010, we had 35, and we have focused on growing our own, not bringing them in,” he said. “That is validation that what we are doing is working.”

The projects near Saint Louis University include the new $550 million SSM Health SLU Hospital, $115 million invested in two dormitories, and a $50 million, 90,000-square-foot interdisciplinary science and engineering building. Also underway, redevelopment of 400 acres that will link SLU’s north campus, where most students live, with its south campus, where the medical and nursing schools are. “If what’s happening on campus and in the core of St. Louis attracts even 20 more students a year, that’s a win,” said SLU CFO David Heimburger.

In the Forest Park Southeast and Central West End neighborhoods, $294 million has been invested in 1,152 completed housing units, and 538 units are planned or underway at a cost of $200 million.

In the Grand Center district, the $65 million, 146-room Angad Arts Hotel developed by Lawrence Group opens Nov. 1, and the Kranzberg Arts Foundation is developing a $2 million literary center, with library, coffee shop and gallery and event spaces, scheduled to open in 2019.

“Putting this core together with the hospital systems, the universities, the Foundry, Cortex, it’s unfathomable,” said Ken Kranzberg, who with his wife, Nancy, founded the Kranzberg Arts Foundation and is a board member and former chairman of Grand Center. “Changing the core of St. Louis so it runs from the Arch to the park, to Washington University, to Clayton should be mind changing for St. Louisans, who should be telling everyone what a wonderful city they live in.”

The almost $8 billion in the core of St. Louis doesn’t include the $1.2 billion building boom going on in Clayton, including Centene Corp.’s new $770 million headquarters, a $95 million senior living facility called Clarendale of Clayton and a $43 million AC Hotel by Marriott. In addition, the ever-expanding Great Rivers Greenway of bike paths and parks ties many of these areas together.

Even many who live and work in the central corridor aren’t aware of the size and scope of what’s going on. Shown a map detailing the projects and investments, John Dulle, president of Jefferson Bank & Trust at 23rd and Market streets, said, “Isn’t that something? I think we all knew about many of these but never saw them together. That is something.”

The massive development is significant beyond the dollars spent, the jobs created and the economic activity generated. “It’s important because every region needs a central area of urban density to gather and celebrate and advertise itself,” said Hank Webber, chairman of Cortex and executive vice chancellor of Washington University. ”It’s where tourists come. It defines the region nationally and internationally.”

That said, jobs do matter. And diverse, walkable areas, which these projects are creating, attract talented young workers. An estimated 15,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $825 million will be created by 2030 in the Cortex district alone — 5,100 of them are already there, paying $225 million annually. “It’s where the young talent wants to go,” Webber said.

“These jobs appeal to people of all neighborhoods, income levels, race and gender,” Dubinsky said, “Diversity is very important to all of what is going on.“

What’s more, Webber said, St. Louis already has a formidable employee base in the city with the more than 10,000 workers at BJC HealthCare, Saint Louis University and Washington University. The three combined have more than 53,000 employees, according to the most recent Business Journal ranking of largest employers.

In addition to the billions being spent and the jobs created, many of these projects are in neighborhoods around Cortex and in Forest Park Southeast. “It’s not just big, tall office buildings. There is a lot of work going on to improve and diversify neighborhoods,” Dubinsky said. For example, the Adams Grove development has 50 garden one- to four-bedroom apartments in the 4400 blocks of Swan, Norfolk and Vista avenues with rents ranging from $515 to $950. “With the neighborhood vastly improved, Cortex is attracting private investment.” 


John Dubinsky founded Arch to Park this year with Jason Hall, formerly of the St. Louis Regional Chamber, to work with other organizations and civic leaders to analyze and coordinate the development going on in St. Louis’ central corridor.

“Arch to Park is a resource to support existing organizations and create a collaborative platform for what is working,” Hall said. “You have to have a dynamic urban core. It has an outsized impact on how the region is perceived and judged.” Think national TV broadcasts of big sporting events. The Arch, Busch Stadium, the city’s center are what viewers see.

Hall said Arch to Park was not organized as a nonprofit but as a private enterprise based on a low-profit, social-impact model. Dubinsky said it is being funded by individuals, corporations and foundations, whom he does not want to identify by name or amount at this time.

To find out what’s working elsewhere, Dubinsky and Hall visited seven Midwest cities: Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Nashville. Dubinsky, a director at Stifel Financial Corp. and chairman of Stifel Bank & Trust, said each city had a different approach to civic development, but two common themes were philanthropic investments by prominent families and corporate and civic leadership. “That’s what we have been trying to push in St. Louis and it’s working,” he said.

For example, he said, “Stifel and Commerce are the leading banks in St. Louis in loans to civic and neighborhood projects. Last year, Stifel made more than 700 mortgage loans in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.”

It's great to have a figure to the crazy amount of development I see every day. We have a solid core, demographics are shifting and our growth is not a valuable measure of our health.
southcitygent wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:47 am
Downtown projects include the $385 million Gateway Arch renovation, the $260 million Ballpark Village Phase II, and Union Station Aquarium and Jefferson Arms Building renovation, each a $100 million investment. 
So this article is counting projects that haven't started?
Biz Journal released a follow-up editorial on the matter. In it, they opined that St. Louisans should be more proud of their city and the development going on in it, and should use every opportunity to talk the city up with outsiders, sentiments I wholeheartedly agree with.

https://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/new ... louis.html