Washington University in St. Louis is proposing an $80 million investment in retail and student apartments in the Parkview Gardens neighborhood, located along the Delmar Loop in both University City and St. Louis.
The investment comes after the area was identified by two significant community studies — the Parkview Gardens Sustainability Plan and the Delmar Loop Area Retail Plan & Development Strategy — as a prime location for retail along Delmar and higher-density multi-family housing.
The development would be a first step in implementing the recommendations of both plans, which were developed in partnership with St. Louis City and University City property and business owners, residents and local government officials.
The goal of the plans — and the proposed development — is to enhance the area and lay a strong foundation for sustained growth.
Washington University Proposal
The proposal includes 20,000 square feet of new mixed-use retail space to be located along Delmar, just west of Eastgate Avenue. The corner of Delmar and Eastgate also has been identified by community studies of The Loop and Parkview Gardens areas as an important infill site for new retail.
The complete proposal, which includes four new buildings, is estimated to cost approximately $80 million and consists of retail space and about 200 student apartments. The first building would be located at the corner of Delmar and Eastgate, with three more looping northwest counterclockwise along Enright Avenue. All four buildings would be built on existing university-owned property.
If the proposal is accepted by both University City and St. Louis, groundbreaking for Phase 1 of the project would be scheduled for January 2013, with occupancy slated for August 2014.
“For several years, the university has been looking for the right location to offer a new, innovative housing concept for our students,” says Cheryl Adelstein, director of community relations and local government affairs.
“We are excited about this location in The Loop and Parkview Gardens. It enables Washington University to invest in and partner with both University City and the City of St. Louis to add to the long-term stability and vibrancy of The Loop, and it offers students new, innovative housing options.”
The university anticipates that additional retail and living space in Parkview Gardens will spur investments from other interested parties as well.
“The neighborhood has the potential to be one of the most sustainable in all of St. Louis,” Adelstein says. “In addition to beautiful architecture and great housing options, it is close to jobs, the university, arts and culture, parks and public transportation.”
The Loop Retail Plan
In early February, the East Loop and West Loop Special Business districts and WUSTL released the results of the Delmar Loop Area Retail Plan & Development Strategy, which found potential for retail growth in the Delmar Boulevard Loop area.
The study was led by a steering committee of area property and business owners, residents, local government representatives and WUSTL administrators.
It found sufficient demand for additional retail space of 155,000 square feet and identified the types of retail, restaurant and entertainment opportunities that might best complement existing offerings and attract visitors and consumers.
The study also identified the corner of Delmar and Eastgate as a target area for new retail.
Currently, the area along Delmar holds two student apartment buildings and a vacant lot. Adding retail would complete the pedestrian experience along Delmar, the study points out, and would connect the East and West Loop areas as a more cohesive retail district.
The university’s proposed development at Eastgate and Skinker would add 20,000 square feet of retail space in this key location.
“The Loop has many great retail, dining and entertainment venues,” says Joe Edwards, owner and developer of Blueberry Hill and The Pageant. “The addition of 20,000 square feet of space that fronts Delmar is really exciting, because it provides options for retailers — it can accommodate one large tenant or a few smaller ones. Storefronts of varying sizes are one of the features that make the Loop an interesting place to shop.”
The university is seeking potential retail tenants for the site, Adelstein says, and will follow the recommendations of the retail study to strategically add unique and diverse vendors that will both appeal to the student population and serve the needs of area residents and Loop visitors as identified in the retail study.