For decades, the parcel at Jefferson and Lynch (2800 South Jefferson) has sat vacant. It sits in a blind spot for many since there’s nothing there but weeds and crumbling concrete and asphalt. Soon, that could change if plans by startup development firm, Flyover Fund, move forward.
“Benton Park is one of our favorite neighborhoods in St. Louis, and we see the Jefferson corridor evolving into a critical artery over the next decade.” According to developer Drew Sandler with Flyover Fund, “Working with the Land Reutilization Authority, we identified 2800-10 S Jefferson as a prime redevelopment parcel in a highly strategic location.” At 4-stories in height, the building will be large enough to be noticed by drivers on Jefferson but not tall enough to be overpowering to the neighboring buildings. It’s in the sweet spot in terms of size.
The building will have 42 market-rate apartment units as well as a retail space at Jefferson and Lynch. The building itself will take on a more industrial look, which fits in with the neighborhood. Brick and industrial style windows will give the building more of a redeveloped warehouse feel. The project will also be the first new-construction residential building built on Jefferson South of 44 in over a hundred years. Midtown based JEMA is the architect on the project.
According to a source within Benton Park, the neighborhood association is in support of the development and intend on issuing a letter of support. Many are excited to see this long vacant lot, previously occupied by a service station in the 80s, occupied by a new and contributing building.
For some, this project could be the start of many more along the Jefferson corridor regardless if the North-South MetroLink happens. Developer Drew Sandler seems to be in agreement with that. “There is a ton of opportunity on the Jefferson corridor, really stretching from Choteau to Chippewa. That's a lot of real estate. Jefferson touches a lot of great neighborhoods, and I do believe projects like ours will help to activate the corridor as a connector between those neighborhoods.”
As for a start date and rough cost estimate for 2800 South Jefferson, the hope is to start construction this year. No cost has been defined yet but that should become more definite over the next few months. The project will appear before the Preservation Board on Monday, February 24th. This is the first step in the approval process for a project like this.
At a time when St. Louis is seeing so many projects, some people are starting to wonder if we are hitting a ceiling and if we are getting ready to fall out of this development cycle. I asked the developer about this, and his response was optimistic…
“We like the stability of the St. Louis market. We have a strong local employment base, a diversified economy with a budding tech scene, and our cost of living is better than any other top 20 MSA. We don't see extreme peaks during booms, or valleys during the busts. Contrary to what our former NFL owner and his clique would lead you to believe, this is an incredible place to be.” - Drew Sandler
Flyover Fund, despite being a startup firm, has big ambitions for the St. Louis area. This is the first project under the Flyover Fund, but Drew and his business partner Kyle Howerton have been involved in projects in St. Louis over the past 8 years. According to their website, “Projects in planning and under development are located in neighborhoods including Clayton, The Grove, Fox Park, Midtown, Benton Park and Tower Grove East and South.”