The current site of Midwest Bank Centre at Gravois and Delor will look very different fairly soon as Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC for short) moves forward with a proposal to build 50 senior apartments and commercial space on the site.
“Over the last 2 years we've met with and updated neighborhood groups and the aldermen about our plans to build a 50 unit (44 one bedrooms and 6 two bedrooms) market rate senior housing project using LIHTC (Low Income Housing Tax Credits) and other subsidies.” Says Sean Spencer, executive director of Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC, “The plan was supported by both neighborhood associations and Alderwoman Howard. The investment will be around $10 Million.”
To make way for the new building, dubbed “Crossroads Senior Living at Bevo Mill”, the current 3-story Bank building will be demolished. In it’s place will rise a 50,000SF, 4-story building with close to 3750SF of retail/commercial space. Over 3150SF of the space will occupied by a new Midwest Bank Centre while the remaining 600SF will be commercial office space for a different tenant to use. The bank will be located on the Morgan Ford elevation while the commercial space will be located on the Gravois elevation. Making up the remainder of the ground level space will be offices for Crossroads Senior Living and 4 apartment units.
In a statement, Sean Spencer said, “Midwest Bank Centre is donating the site (in full or in part) to help us reduce our project costs. They want to stay in the neighborhood and want to see a new use that benefits the community.” As for funding for the $10 Million+ project, Sean says, “While our first (LIHTC) application was not approved in 2018, we've worked hard to prepare not only a more attractive financing package but also an improved overall design that meets the expectations of the stakeholders. We also have $500,000 secured from CDA CDBG funding.” The remainder of construction costs will be covered by other available subsides on the city, state and federal level, as they are available, and Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC themselves. TGNCDC has $50,000 invested in the project to date.
LIHTC Project rankings by the City of Saint Louis to the Missouri Housing Development Commision help projects get funded. One benefit to the process of receiving the Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the state, the City named this a high priority project. “City support as the #1 recommended project will be important to receive a LIHTC award from the state in 2019. This is a project that we believe will be a catalyst for additional investment and Bevo Mill Great Streets plan implementation. It’s much bigger than 50 units of quality senior housing and additional commercial, it’s about revitalizing a neighborhood. It’s an opportunity that we can’t miss. TGNCDC could be in a position to help with overall community development work as well. It’s all lined up, we just need the LIHTC award to make it a reality. It’s our last chance so it’s now or never.”
According to Bevo Great Streets, the project is a “catalyst project” meaning that it can stir faster change in the neighborhood. The project also works with the recommendations in the Bevo Great Streets plan to have wider sidewalks and a parking lot designed for easy Infill in the future. In this case, the parking lot along Delor is designed to hold a series of townhomes or other type of development.
Sean Spencer hopes that the project is awarded the LIHTCs by the end of the year, and so the plans presented here are merely enough to file for the LIHTCs and are not the official building plans. Full plans should be released before the start of construction. If the LIHTCs are approved, they hope to start within 6 months of that time. Construction would take 12 months to complete from the start of demolition on the Midwest Bank Centre to the first resident moving in. The operator of Crossroads Senior Living will be Lutheran Senior Services, the architect on the project is Rosemann & Associates, the contractor will be EM Harris, and the developer is Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC.
A Future is Set
Recently, the last “Bevo Great Streets” meeting was held. The plan will oversee sidewalk improvements, lighting improvements, curb bump outs to slow down cars, marquee signage, new building façade materials, replacing street level glass of existing buildings to be transparent instead of tinted, green space will be created, Infill sites are partially determined, and LED lights would go on top of the buildings like what’s done on South Grand.
The Bevo Great Streets plan would take roughly 30 years to fully implement under current funding conditions. However, the process can speed up if proper moves are taken.
For the "bowtie" portion of Gravois, it will take on a living room feel with apartments and restaurants surrounding Bevo Mill and the small Sebilj Park. Crossroads Senior Living will be part of the living room feel upon its completion.