2019 Predictions


This is a follow up post to my “What to Look Forward to in 2019” post.


This current development cycle has been great for St. Louis and has even brought more developments across a wider range than the boom that preceded the 2008 financial crisis. While St. Louis was slow to start up on new projects following the recession, we eventually got going around 2012 but we missed out of, what I think was, 2 years of development that many other cities had. 6 years of constant development is amazing in St. Louis but now, we are reaching the tail end of this specific development cycle which simply means trends are going to change depending on how the market goes.


To start off in broad terms, I predict that between 70% and 80% of currently proposed projects will start before or in the 3rd Quarter of 2019. The remaining developments may be shelved, revised of cancelled altogether while new ones appear. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as it allows developers to regroup and come up with a better plan to suit the changing trends that we will have by then, but that remains if the economy stays strong or slows down slightly.


I'm being bullish with a cautious eye on things, but if you want to know the truth, there are parts of St. Louis that will be semi-recession proof. Some of those areas include the Central West End, Clayton and Downtown West. These 3 areas have experienced the most growth of any of the neighborhoods or areas in the St. Louis area which has brought amenities to make them self sustaining. These will be the neighborhoods to watch moving forward if there is a recession and are the primary subjects of this list.


Having said all of this, it is now time to dive into my new development predictions in the 2019 Development Scene. This is an interesting part and something fun to write about but I must remind everyone, THESE ARE PREDICTIONS and NOT set word. There are some things I know about in these predictions that will leave you guessing while some are truthful. Let's get started with the semi-recession proof neighborhoods.


CLAYTON

Clayton is the region's second business district with tons of office buildings gracing it's skyline. The last few years have been nice to Clayton giving the City multiple projects such as...

  • Ceylon

  • The 212

  • Centene Sub District 1

  • First Bank's Renovation

  • A new Region's Bank and Library

  • Proposals for Forsyth Pointe, Shaw Park Apartments and an AC Hotel on the old Police HQ site.

2019 will be no different and my prediction remains bullish on Clayton. Here are my predictions....

  • Shaw Park Apartments will begin construction in 2019. The 22 Floor tower will be built on a long vacant lot at Forsyth and Brentwood. The tower itself will be connected to KP Development's Forsyth Pointe which...

  • Will be built around the same time as Shaw Park Apartments. Developers Flaherty & Collins and KP Development all agreed to share a parking garage so a redesign is in order for Forsyth Pointe. It is unclear whether the building's 60,000SF of rentable space remains, shrinks or grows.

  • The 12 Floor AC Hotel will begin construction in the late Spring with demolition commencing on the former Clayton Police HQ.

  • The next phase of Centene's Corporate Campus will break cover with construction beginning around the end of the year. The new towers are supposed to be among the tallest in Clayton with the shorter of the 2 matching the height of the currently under construction tower. The tallest could crack 500FT. A hotel will be included in this Phase.

  • A Condo tower could also be previewed for Carondelet Plaza. The massing leaked out a few months ago on Clayton's website, so there is one planned but construction won't start in 2019.

  • A developer could come in and propose a mixed use project on the Carondelet and South Central parking lot. A development built here would most likely include office space and residential space, but a hotel could work well here too even though it is right next door to the county justice center. Construction wouldn't begin until early 2020 at the earliest.

With these points made, I can say with 75% confidence that these predictions will come true in some form. The biggest outlier is the last point made which doesn't give me a full 100% confidence.


CENTRAL WEST END

Central West End's growth has been, no doubt, pushed by the Barnes-Jewish Hospital expansion projects and the constant influx of medical school students. That, with the fact that property values continue to go up and investing here becomes an even better gamble, I suspect that the Central West End will continue to boom. My predictions for Central West End revolve around the major success of recent residential projects in the neighborhood along with the Cortex district's major office growth. Let's start with the main part of Central West end (Euclid Corridor) then I'll switch over to the area South of Forest Park Avenue. This section will be headlined by a photo of Cortex K.

  • The Koman Group will shop around for another vacant lot to build another residential and retail building on. Their "The Euclid" project only has 2 apartments left so it wouldn't surprise me if they decided to but another piece of land to build another building. It doesn't just have to be a parking lot either and while I'm not sure which buildings they would most likely want to scoop up and build on, there are few that could go.

  • MAC Properties is already building their "One Hundred" tower but an Easter egg statement, by MAC's Eli Ungar, at the February 2018 commencement ceremony for One Hundred could mean more new residential projects are on the way. Mr. Ungar stated proudly at the commencement ceremony, "We couldn't be more excited to start our relationship with Clayco and expect that we will be standing somewhere nearby at a podium like this on a equally sunny day soon talking about our 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th projects with them (Clayco)". MAC owns quite a few buildings in the Central West End so them wanting to build more here isn't surprising. Where they would be remains a mystery but I have a feeling one could be in Cortex since a MAC property affiliate, Antheus Capital, originally unveiled an apartment building on Duncan in Cortex before being scrapped.

  • The AC Hotel on York begins construction around February with demolition commencing on the old KPLR studio.

  • The Holiday Inn, on Lindell, will be converted back into a Hotel Indigo by Abbott Properties of Kansas City. This little tidbit was in a story by KMOV 4 back when Abbott announced they would be redeveloping 5 Downtown West buildings.

  • An old building will receive a modern addition to it in the form of Apartments. The location remains unknown.

  • Koplar's Lindell and Kingshighway Tower will NOT happen. I talked about this in one of my previous posts.

  • BJC Healthcare will unveil their new Ambulatory Care Center at Taylor and Forest Park Avenue. It will fill in a parking lot and green lot and will partially hide the College of Pharmacy.

  • A residential building will be unveiled for the parking lot behind Cortex Building 1 and across the street from the Crescent Building and DuPont. This was previously brought up by a local media outlet. I predict that the building will be 5 floors, have a modern design and have street level retail.

  • Wexford will unveil their second building in Cortex along Duncan. The new building will be built in front of the currently under construction parking garage on Duncan and will wrap around to Sarah Street. Street level retail is a must and it will be designed by HOK. Construction wouldn't begin until 2020.

  • Koman's Cortex K begins construction adding 120,000SF of office space to Cortex.

These 10 points are my predictions and I give them 90% of happening in 2019. The biggest outlier is Koman shopping around for more space to build and the MAC Properties prediction.


DOWNTOWN WEST

Downtown West has changed with more investments on their way in 2019 looks like the year for Downtown West. Already investments into the neighborhood are high but I expect them to get higher. Currently, a Fields Foods store is going in on Washington while Equis Hospitality has their Fairfied Inn Hotel under construction on Tucker near 22nd Street. While it's not much, the new year holds tons of goodies development wise and I have some predictions to go along with it. Let's start...

  • The Jefferson Arms project finally begins in the early Spring.

  • The Shell Building receives plans to be redeveloped into either a loft building or a hotel.

  • Abbott Properties' development on Locust begins construction.

  • The MLS4TheLou group is awarded an MLS Team with construction commencing on a stadium at the 22nd Street interchange. The stadium will be different looking than what we have seen up to this point.

  • The Garment District receives a master plan.

  • The Jefferson Connector project begins connecting Downtown West to midtown Alley along Locust Street.

  • A new Starbucks is proposed at Jefferson and Washington.

  • Midtown Village comes together with plans to build a major mixed use community on the Western edge of Downtown West unveiled.

  • A high-tech clothing factory is unveiled.

  • At least one infill project is announced for the numerous parking and vacant lots in Downtown West.

  • The YMCA Building receives a redevelopment plan with apartments and retail space.

  • The Tire Mart Lofts begin construction.

As you can see, Downtown West will begin to boom come 2019. Even though a majority of the above projects won't start until 2020, it will still be a sight to see. I give my self 75% confidence that the above will happen with the biggest outlier being the Midtown Village and Infill part. The other points make more sense as the Shell Building had a redevelopment plan and the YMCA was recently bought. So 23019 will be key for Downtown West.


REST OF THE CITY

The area I now cover. Includes St Louis city, Richmond Heights, Brentwood, Maplewood, Washington University and the Delmar Loop. This area equates to nearly 386,000 people.

It's hard to predict the rest of the city in a manner as I did above. I'm just going to throw all neighborhoods and municipalities into one section and leave it at that.

  • Tower Grove South will receive another infill development much like MOFO or 3201 Morgan Ford.

  • The area around the NGA receives a proposal for a mixed use development with retail and residential space some office may be included too.

  • The Lawrence Group unveils the finalized design for their signature office tower at the City Foundry. Construction would be commenced in 2020 for a 2022 opening. The building would instant become the landmark to identify the City Foundry from anywhere in the city where you can see the Griesedieck Tower at SLU, the Council Tower or the Continental Life Building.

  • A major mixed use development is unveiled at Grand and Chouteau and will consist of mid-rise buildings ranging in usage from apartments to office space. A hotel could also be included.

  • Fox Park sees a proposal for a mixed use building of Apartments and Retail.

  • Jack Dorsey announces that St. Louis will receive a Twitter office and more Square employees.

  • Equis' "Lot A" Hotel, at Brentwood and Clayton, begins construction and brings a new hotel brand to St. Louis.

  • Richmond Heights sees a new hotel proposal that will bring a mid-tier brand to the City.

I can say, with 95% confidence, that these predictions will come true with the NGA area proposal being the biggest outlier but the remaining points being both truthful, expected and hinted at.CONCLUSION

I know I am being bullish but it is hard for me not to see these things happening. They have been hinted at or are simply common sense. Most of these predictions will most likely come true and that's exciting, but there is always the chance the these things won't happen. A number of factors can be blamed (economy, city politics and NIMBYs) but one thing is for sure, St. Louis is going to see an eventful 2019. Even if we tumble into a recession that kills a majority of our projects, one thing is clear, that our civic pride is riding at an all time high and will continue to ride at an all time high. It is also expected that the higher interest into our city by out of town developers could mean good for us heading into the 2020s.

To end on a high note, we are a city that is changing fast and growth seems inevitable. Our neighborhoods, not just in the Central Corridor, are changing and strengthening us in the process. It's just a matter of time till we burst into full on development mode. It may not be this cycle but watch out. As I stated in my "New St. Louis Story" post, the old St. Louis of industrial roots died after WW2 and a new St. Louis of technological innovation is rising in it's place. We are becoming a new silicon valley of sorts and I expect technology to play a huge roll in our march toward the future. Finally, to those who are looking into investing in, or moving to, St. Louis, now is the time to buy as you'll play a huge role in the next development cycle.


As for me, I'll do my part in ways that are direct and indirect. It's just a question of "how?".


Happy New Year St. Louis!

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