Updated: Jun 24, 2021
A 7-story, 150 unit apartment building is proposed for the Optimist International site at the southeast corner of Lindell and Taylor in the Central West End. LuxLiving, which is based just two blocks south of the site on Taylor Avenue, is the developer.
The latest project proposal for the Central West End comes as 100 Above the Park, which opened to residents last fall, approaches 55% leased and other apartment buildings in the neighborhood have stayed steady with high occupancy percentages throughout the past year. The project also comes as LuxLiving rapidly expands their portfolio with projects in DeBaliviere Place (Hudson and Chelsea), Soulard (SoHo), University City (McKenzie), Kansas City (Katz and Edison), and Denver (Huntley). Ultimately, this project came as a result of the buildings (4490-94 Lindell) being listed for sale by Cushman and Wakefield last year. The Optimist International site building does not yet have a formal name.
Conceptual plans reveal a building clad in brick (brown, gray and black) and metal paneling (blue and black). The street level is also adequately addressed with a lobby space fronting Lindell and the Taylor side including small walk-up offices for small firms or those who want a small office in the Central West End. An existing curb cut on Lindell is retained as one of two parking garage entrances (one is a "right out access" and the second entrance is in the alley). There are 150 parking spaces for a 1:1 parking ratio, Additionally, the new building remains in line with its neighbors by retaining the current set back from both Lindell and Taylor, creating large outdoor spaces that will be activated.
LuxLiving says that the building's location makes sense for those who favor walkability when looking for a place to live. The building sits just a few blocks away from Whole Foods, Schnucks, the shops and bars on Euclid, the BJC medical campus, Cortex, and the Central West End Metrolink station. All are early accessible by walking or bike. The planned makeup of the building's 150 apartments offers a variety of living spaces for people looking to live in the neighborhood. The formal break down of the apartments is as follows...
60 1 Bedroom
30 2 Bedroom
All service and move-ins would be made through the alley to prevent traffic from forming on both Taylor and Lindell.
LuxLiving has tapped Klitzing Welch and Associates to provide architectural services for this project. The project will require the demolition of the existing structures, built in 1961 and 1979 respectively. A previous proposal, from 2014 by Covington Realty, would've also seen the Optimist buildings demolished in favor of a 14-story building designed by Forum Studio (now the Lamar Johnson Collaborative). In 2015, the Koman Group (now KDG) proposed a $9 million renovation of the buildings into new, boutique office space (which would've been an upgrade from the current Class C space). The Covington proposal was cancelled after failing to receive support from Park Central for a tax abatement. The Koman Group proposal fell apart after failing to receive a tenant.
Currently, the building is owned by a non-profit and currently contributes nothing to the City's property tax rolls. In the case of the LuxLiving proposal no incentives will be sought, which is a departure from other projects recently proposed but more in line with what LuxLiving has been doing in the St. Louis area recently. This means that the project is expected to contribute between $850,000 and $1 Million per year in taxes, benefiting the public schools. As for a timeline on the project, LuxLiving specified a desire to begin construction by the end of the year, pending project approvals and neighborhood support. There was a "zoning only" permit applied for on May 15th and is on record with the City.
The project complies with the City-adopted (Ordinance 69406) Central West End Form Based Code District under "Boulevard Type 1". Some requirements that the project complies with for Boulevard Type 1 are as follows:
Minimum set back from the primary street (Lindell): 30ft (complies).
Building height minimum: 3 stories and 40ft (complies - 7 stories+penthouse).
Ground floor usage: Must be civic, institutional, office, residential, or secondary retail (complies - residential lobby space and small, walkup offices on Taylor).
Parking minimum: 1 space per unit (complies - 150 spaces in parking garage).
Additional renderings are available in the gallery below. Please note that this is not the final design, it's a concept at this point so the design could change. To see the previous plans for the site, visit the links below (takes you to NextSTL).
NextSTL (May 1st, 2014): 14-Story, 200 Unit Infill Proposed for Optimist Site in Central West End
NextSTL (August 19th, 2015): First Look: $9M Renovation Proposed for Optimist Building in City's CWE