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The Boulevard's Design Revised Further

This story was originally published on November 1st on the old website.

As the Christmas shopping season nears, it also begins to mark the end of the rather rundown strip mall to the South of the Boulevard. Halloween Express (seasonal) has moved out of a retail space and Mattress Firm has closed their store on the site. All that's left is Rally House, a sports team store, and all signs are pointing to it closing up immediately after the season is complete. As we all know, Phase 2 has been a long time coming and was talked about as far back as 2005 but through constant revisions, amenity additions and subtractions along with a recession pushed the second phase back more than 13 years. Fast forward to now, Condor Partners has overtaken the property and has enlisted the help of TRI Architects to design the second phase. In my previous reporting from late September, new renderings of the Boulevard showed an Apple Store and an interesting retail store on the end of the site by the Burger King, but as you'll see in the latest plans, those buildings no longer exist and instead become "pad sites" for future development. But that's not the only revision in these plans. In fact, the revisions come in the form of design and not in the form of retail buildings. To start, the rendering above shows the office building from a different perspective. The pedestrian bridge that connects the parking garage to the office building has been brought down from Floor 4 to 3. The bridge also lost it's ramp like stance to show height change form the office building to the garage and the cheesy "BLVD" lettering in the windows. Some things haven't changed with the office building including the mashup of 4 different types of architecture designs. Most notably, there is a faux 300 South Broadway in the design, but it is more than that. For a brand new, Class A office building just South of Clayton, you would've expected Condor to request a design change to be more sleek and not a crazy mashup of architecture designs with no rhyme or reason. As Alex Price puts it on Twitter...

But it can't get much worse than the office building design can it? Wrong. just wait till you see the residential building.

The office building also received a change to it's roofline. An angled roof that slopes North is situated on the Southern end of the roof. It's basically just an additional thing to draw people's attention to the eventual tenant names raining down from the roof to floor 4. One such tenant is First Bank, so it's certain that they will have their name on the building along with the healthcare firm who will occupy office space here. But let's move on from the office building and talk about the residential building. The above rendering shows your fairly typical residential building being proposed in the region. Small cornices, Juliet balconies, concealing a parking garage and a mix of stucco paneling and brick. This was the design from earlier this year as it was only 5 floors at the time. But a tweet put out by the City of Richmond Heights on October 1st, embedded below, details that a height increase of up to 6 floors was approved by the city. Seems simple enough till you see the design.

"Record Scratch*- Hello Architecture Police, I'd like to report a crime".

The design of the building incorporates more stucco into a complex already dominated by the material. The brick is nice on the lower 4 floors, but the top two floors ruin the design overall. Worthless architectural crowns and odd window setbacks make the design look cheesy and not well thought out. And honestly, what's with the lighthouse thing on the corner? To make the situation worse, the design of the apartment building changes to more of the design vibe that we see in the current Boulevard Phase 1. But the design makes a little sense when you take into consideration the fact that these upper floors will be "2 floor units" per the city of Richmond Heights but the fact they passed this design without oversight is amazing to me as something like this just looks bad. However, even though this change was done, the cost of the development remains the same at a hefty $130 Million. While this blog post has come off as me "bitching" about the design changes, it's meant to show everyone what is coming soon to Brentwood Boulevard. Personally, I am excited to see this old strip mall go, but I would like the replacement to have a much better design (much like in the September 2018 story) than this. But whose to say that the final product won't look better than the renderings? It's entirely possible but the cheesy design of the buildings just seems like this development will become an issue in a few years. We waited over 13 years for Phase 2, and it's finally on it's way, but this is what we are getting. But I hope that whatever is built on those "pad sites" covers some of the buildings to hide the design differences at the bottom. As stated earlier, construction will begin after the Christmas shopping season and will wrap up in Mid to Late 2020. Condor Partners of Chicago is the developer and TRI is the architect.

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