Several months after the City of Clayton rejected Fred Kummer's proposal at Bemiston and Maryland, an updated version will be presented on December 2nd. The latest version is a slight improvement over the previous plans, but it is certainly no winner.
The newest plans call for a 14-story building (down from 21) with 115 condos to rise on the half block site in Downtown Clayton. The plans do not preserve the Harris Armstrong designed Shanley building or the old commercial buildings along Central Avenue. Instead, the condo building will be a T shape with minimal retail on the Central side and minimal space on the Bemiston side. The Maryland avenue side will have the entrance to the building's parking garage, besides that, Maryland will have a blank wall the entire stretch between Bemiston and Central.
According to a document on the Architectural Review Board site, HBE and the Lawrence Group met with neighbors, city staff, and community leaders regarding the project to come up with a compromise plan. The plan includes a 22FT set back along Bemiston for a front yard as well as a full service restaurant and patio. On the Central Avenue side, 11,500SF of retail is planned. The reduced height also reduced the amount of complaints from neighbors to the project.
While the latest design iteration is an improvement over the initial design (seen at the end of the story), it still misses on the option of adaptive reuse of the old commercial building on Central and the Shanley building. Maybe try to incorporate those buildings into the design of the new building. The Shanley is one of the buildings that kicked off the modernist building boom in Clayton while the buildings on Central represent a portion Clayton prior to the office hub that it is now.
Despite the requests of preservationists, this version is expected to get the green light by Clayton's Architectural Review Board due to HBE and the Lawrence Group working with them and neighbors.
If approved, the development is expected to begin in Early 2020 as all retail tenants in the footprint have been told that they must leave by years end. The project is being done without incentives from the City of Clayton. The primary façade materials will be brick and stone.
The original plans cost $170 Million and included 110 condos. The latest plans add 5 condos to the mix. No updated cost estimates were given.
HBE Corp is led by Fred Kummer and is based in St. Louis County. HBE used to design hospitals but before that was the head organization in owning the Adams Mark Hotel chain.