At the Eastern entrance to Lafayette Square, at Park and Truman to be exact, lies a modestly sized 4 floor building that neighbors call, "the mop factory". But the history is more than just a mop factory. 1322 Dolman was built in 1910 for the Zittlosen Manufacturing Company, which moved from Downtown. Two smokestacks once gracefully held their space in the sky above Lafayette Square and smoke billowed out of them as a sign of progress and an ode to the industrial powerhouse that St. Louis once was. In 1915, an addition was added to the North and the building took on a U shape.
As times changed, the building switched hands to The Crown Dress factory and then ultimately landed in the ownership of the Bouras Mop Company in 1961. The building was divided by floor with the basement being used for storage of raw materials, the first floor was used for offices, the second floor was used for production and the third floor for boxes and inventory. Two service elevators served all 4 floors. It was a building where everything was under one roof. By 2007, the building went vacant when Bouras Mop was acquired by NexStep Commercial Products. 12 years later, the building is humming with activity again as it prepares for a new life as an apartment building.
51 apartments are being added into the building and are surely bound to kick off a new age of development in Lafayette Square. Dubbed "the Bordeaux", LuxLiving is redeveloping the building at 1322 Dolman to be an anchor for the Southwest Quadrant of Lafayette Square. LuxLiving, for those who don’t know, has developed TriBeCa in Debaliviere Place, Steelyard in Soulard and is working on Chelsea in Debaliviere Place. The Bordeaux will also be an anchor to the main business strip, I refer to it as Downtown Lafayette, along Park Avenue. While the $10 million investment anchors this end of the neighborhood, former HOK Principal, Bill Odell, has plans of his own at Jefferson and Chouteau in the Northwest Quadrant. That plan calls for a hotel, residential, retail and office space along with parking garages and gathering spaces. Overall, these two projects will initiate a building boom in Lafayette Square that will transform the way we see it now.
The area around the Bordeaux is the primary area to watch moving forward. I took a tour of the Bordeaux on May 31st. LuxLiving Director, Kyle Hennessey, took me on the tour of the still very much under construction building. Let's start.
We walked in through the Northern side into a building that was really nothing but wood framing and wires. One would think that progress would be further along than it is pictured here, but the building had to be stabilized before any new framing work could begin. Abandonment took it's toll and so specific measures had to be put in place to stabilize the floors while also keeping the historic structure intact. However, the wood framing allowed you to see the old wooden supports that make up the upper floors of the building. The first floor also included some remnants of the original flooring.
Elsewhere, the first floor was still very much under construction but would act as the "grand central station" to all the activities in the building. Two staircases have their access ways here, the elevator is here and the access to the Cigar Lounge was also present.
The Cigar Lounge will be a really unique place in terms of apartment/hotel buildings. It will be located in the "U" part of the Bordeaux and will feature an outdoor club atmosphere. While the area is narrow, it makes good use of the space. Visitors s to the Cigar Lounge will be able to walk over to the edge and see views of the old City Hospital, now the Georgian, and parts of Downtown. I wasn't told this, but I assume that overhead lights will be strung between the walls of the lounge to add to the atmosphere that will already be created here.
Following this, we went inside to check out one of the first apartments that has come together recently.
We walked down a future hallway and into the One Bedroom-One Bathroom demo unit. This is where the designers have been testing ideas and designs to make each unit top notch. The ownership team and designer even traveled to Europe for high-end design inspiration. The unit itself was mostly completed with light fixtures, carpeting and flooring in place. Overall, it offers us our first real look at how a unit will look upon completion. The ceiling has a unique exposed wooden beam to add character along with added thick crown molding. The kitchen will have a large center island and gray cabinetry. The back splash is an interesting silver color and is made up of triangle patterns. Other unique features include the chandelier and exposed brick walls, not to mention the natural light let in by those tall windows.
Off of this living room/kitchen area, the bedroom offers two large windows and enough space for an over sized bed. Connected to the bedroom, and accessible from kitchen, is the bathroom. It includes a decently sized shower with subway tiles on the walls, vinyl flooring and gray colored cabinetry. A full size washer and dryer is included.
This was the only semi-completed unit in the building but the 50 others will carry over similar design features and add an additional room depending on unit.
From here, we headed up to the rooftop, which will offer the most unique view in all of St. Louis.
The northern half of the roof will be home to all of the units air conditioning units while the southern half will be home to the amenity space, which includes two jacuzzis, TVs, private cabanas, green space, seating and grills. The roof will be accessible via stairs and will include views in all directions. To the South, you'll see Anheuser Busch. To the East you'll see the Georgian and the surrounding neighborhood. To the North, you'll see Downtown and the entire Central Corridor. To the West, you'll see Lafayette Square, SLU Hospital and the neighborhood garden.
The roof still has a lot of work to be done including glass fencing being installed for safety purposes. Other things that will be done include the flooring and installation of the jacuzzis along with the other amenities mentioned. It's still very much being framed up at this point (as seen in the pictures above).
You can see the amazing views I talked about in the photos below...
From the roof, we headed down into the basement. Down there, there really isn't much to talk about at this point. It was all being framed up. About 10 units will reside down there and despite them being in the basement, there will be plenty of light due to the elevation changes around the building. The long windows remain which helps with bring natural light. Along with the fitness center underneath the Cigar Lounge, a business center will be included. A photo of the basement framing is below.
After looking around in the basement for a few minutes, we went back upstairs to complete the tour.
I think that Lafayette Square is positioned to grow even more over the next several years. Both the Bordeaux and Bill Odell's Lafayette Square North development anchor a neighborhood that has seen a great deal of change over the last few decades. If the Bordeaux does well in terms of leasing, then Lafayette Square's shops and cafes will surely feel the benefits. Residents living here will tell their friends about the businesses on Park Avenue and will bring them over to their apartment before heading out to patronize business.
Besides the influx of residents the Bordeaux brings, it also represents a turning point for Lafayette Square. With the completion of this project, the neighborhood will have only two large abandoned structures left to deal with. One being the Das Deutsche Haus at Lafayette and Jefferson and the other is an old warehouse on Hickory near Hickory and MacKay. I'm sure developers will snag those properties soon as the neighborhood shows continued growth, but even after that, Lafayette Square will get some infill.
The two parking lots located along Park Avenue are prime development locations for apartments over retail space in the heart of the neighborhood's commercial district. Such a project was proposed in 2016 but has since been cancelled due to unidentified purposes. The project would've been called "Park Avenue Plaza" and would've been three stories and built on the parking lot at 18th & Park. It would've been developed by Gilded Age development and was designed by Cohen Architecture. A rendering is featured below.
In my opinion, the Bordeaux has the opportunity to become something truly special for the neighborhood along with it filling fairly quickly. Lafayette Square is hot right now so any new space will be quickly eaten up by new residents.
I plan on visiting the Bordeaux before it opens to give you a better look at how the building turned out. Below are some renderings of the building, both interior and exterior with rooftop renders included.