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Pulitzer's Olive West Plan Comes to Light

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

If you have been on Olive Street between Vandeventer and Spring Avenue, you may have noticed the massive amount of dirt being moved on the North and South sides of the block. Those muddy lots will soon be home to a massive housing project by the name of "Olive West".

Emily Pulitzer and Steve Trampe originally unveiled the plans last year but no renderings of the homes were released at the time. Since then, some progress has been made on the site, such as leveling existing structures and preparing infrastructure. Now, a City of St. Louis Planning Commission document for July, reveals the scope of the project, the designs of the houses and a conceptual design of the apartment building at Vandeventer and Olive. The team of world renowned and local architects totals 7 firms. Those firms are...

  • Michael Benz - St. Louis (Wolfner Building rehab)

  • MOS Architecture - New York City (Housing)

  • Productora Architects - Mexico City (Housing)

  • Marcias Peredo - Guadalajara, Mexico (Housing)

  • Tatiana Bilbao - Mexico City (Housing and Planning)

  • Michael Maltzan - Los Angeles (Apartment Building)

  • Mitchell-Wall Architecture - St. Louis (Partner)

These 7 firms will take part in perhaps the most exciting new housing development in decades.

The homes, seen in the first image in the story, are fairly simple and basic but are more unique than some of the homes going up around town currently. However, due to them being in black and white, it is hard to determine the façade color which more unique. The houses will start at $250,000 and go up to $450,000 depending on the model you choose, size and finishes. 3 of the 4 home designs will be built first so potential buyers can see the finished product before making a decision. Those model homes will be built on the Northside of the street.

While the houses take up the Eastern majority of the site, the apartment project will take up the vacant lot at Vandeventer and Olive. The apartment building will be designed by Michael Maltzan, an architect from Los Angeles. The design, as presented, will be very angular and will have a large central courtyard surrounded by the building's unique geometry. The new building will be connected to the Wolfner Building and will total approximately 26,580SF of leasable square feet. This equates to 35 apartment units.

The new building will also be 4.5-stories along Vandeventer but only two at the Wolfner Building. For the first floor, it will be partially underground, at -3FT, but it will also stick up out of the ground by 6FT. The first floor will serve as parking (approximately 47 spaces). This allows for the first floor of apartment units to be slightly elevated from Vandeventer.

While the building is still in design, the ambition to create an architecturally significant project on the site is clear. The apartment portion of the project would be taken up by a different entity than Trampe or Pulitzer. The cost wasn't mentioned in the PUD document.

The design of the building, and floor plans, are below.

Below is an example of the type of work that Michael Maltzan has done. Expect to see small, punched windows included in this apartment building. You can see them, very lightly, in the rendering above. They'll look similar to the building below when completed.

The Olive West housing portion of the project will begin construction, on the model homes, by summer’s end.

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1 Comment

Dominic Ricciotti
Dominic Ricciotti
Jul 07, 2019

Chris, your characterization of Olive West as the city’s “most exciting new housing development in decades,” is almost an understatement. I’ve been eagerly awaiting some renderings of the project, and I’m not disappointed.

The houses are indeed simple, but that is their strength highlighting their bold monumentality. They echo, not coincidentally, Tadao Ando’s great design of Emily Pulitzer’s Foundation museum and the contemporary museum several blocks away, not to mention the new buildings of KETC and St. Louis Public Radio further east on Olive. Grand Center really needs more new construction of this style and caliber to distinguish it as a genuine arts center, not only for the performing and visual arts but for architecture too.

I assume that the…

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