6611 Clayton Rd. proposed redevelopment

Discuss new retail, dining, business and residential projects within the City of Clayton, the center of St. Louis County government.
This one seems to have flown under the radar. There's a proposal to retrofit the mixed-use commercial building at 6611 Clayton Rd. (former Katie's Pizza location) into a montessori school. Although there is a lot of support for the project, there are also a handful of nearby residents who oppose it over concerns of perceived traffic problems and compromised alley access. Since on-site parking is very limited (no neighboring buildings are threatened with demo for this project), the school has proposed a "kiddie valet" pick-up/drop-off system in which cars will drive up to the entrance and a faculty member will take the child out of the car. Apparently, this is done at other schools (Forsyth School among them), and the system has been vetted by an independent traffic engineer who concluded that it is safe, efficient and would not cause extra congestion.

Here are some photos of the proposed development:
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There's also a short flyover video animation that I haven't figured out how to share yet.

Looks like an interesting adaptive re-use project, and based on the info I have, I support it. It puts a great-looking, long-vacant building back into productive use, doesn't sacrifice any other buildings for parking, and creates activity on a stretch of Clayton Rd. that could use it. However, it seems as though the NIMBYs against the redevelopment have gotten to one of the aldermen of Ward 1 (Joanne Boulton), because she is apparently against it. Other Clayton city council members are in favor of the plan.

There is a public meeting at Clayton City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 12th at 7pm. If you'd like to express your support or just learn more about the project, please consider attending, because the NIMBYs are sure to be there in force. This building has been vacant for too long, and could very well sit dormant for another several years if this plan is rejected. The current proposal is a $3 million investment that will creatively re-use the existing building and respects the surrounding urban fabric. Seems like a win all around for the neighborhood.
^Save the photo/video and then upload to imgur.com/upload and right click and select copy image address and then insert via the photo function here. It's free and you don't need any account, etc.
newstl2020 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:03 pm
^Save the photo/video and then upload to imgur.com/upload and right click and select copy image address and then insert via the photo function here. It's free and you don't need any account, etc.
Thanks so much! It worked.
Update: This proposal was narrowly rejected by the Clayton Board of Aldermen last night.

Although I supported the plan, I can definitely understand why many neighbors were opposed.
Here's my list of pros and cons:

Pros:
-Puts a long-vacant, classic building back into productive use
-Requires no demolition of adjacent structures for parking
-Reputable montessori school brand with locations around the world
-Provides a valuable, in-demand early childhood educational resource for families who live or work nearby
-Innovative urban concept that creatively utilizes a challenging parcel
-Similar concepts have been successful in other major cities

Cons:
-The kid valet pick-up and drop-off system seems somewhat complicated, impractical and inflexible
-Very real concerns about alley safety and accessibility which were well-articulated during the meeting
-Seems like this location is unnecessarily challenging and expensive to adequately monitor the parking lot/alley

I hope the school is able to find a nearby location that suits their needs and has the support of the surrounding neighborhood. It would be a great asset for the community.

On the flip side, a great urban-scale building remains vacant, and I'm concerned that the next proposal that comes along will not respect the existing urban fabric, and may piss off neighbors even more. After all, any development plan will have to address the parking situation and all would require use of the alley for deliveries, etc. The neighbors have been spoiled by relative quiet because the building has been empty for the last five years, but it's only a matter of time before something new comes along. A brew pub? A late-night diner? 5-story apartment building? All of these are very real possibilities, so the neighbors should be careful what they wish for.

Time will tell...
Can you give us the name of the Montessori group that proposed this?
Guidepost Montessori:
https://guidepostmontessori.com/
Thanks. Montessori seems to be booming. Another national chain just merged with (bought out?) the one I share a building with in Grand Center, and they have plans to grow in STL.

https://thoughtandindustry.com/