The Jefferson Connector Project Appears to Grow in Size
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
The block of Locust between Jefferson and Beaumont Street, has had big plans for a while now. Since 2017, the stretch has had a project proposed known as "The Jefferson Connector" and the goal of the project was to connect Downtown to Midtown Alley and beyond by redeveloping a sizable block. The development would also act as an anchor for the rest of Midtown Alley. Since it’s announcement in 2017, the project has seen the old Mendenhall Ford building (East of Jefferson), now known as the Martin, renovated into office space. Recently, the old Beaumont Telephone Building, at Beaumont and Locust, has started the redevelopment process with selective demolition within the structure. Across the street, the 2-story section of the 2647-53 Locust building has been renovated into office space and Airbnb units.
As for the rest of the project, things have yet to start. The 5-story section of the 2647-53 Locust building is to become Lofts. The old Ed Roehr building is to become an Airbnb and retail space. The remainder of the block would be home to several retail spaces (including ones within reused shipping containers), a hotel, office space, and a parking garage. Progress on those has been slow but now things appear to be moving again.
Recently, a large STL Made Banner has been put up at the old State Farm Building that shows two new renderings of the project and let's passerby's know about what's coming soon to this corner. Bright colors surely catch the eye and if you're at a stop light, the renderings give you a glimpse at what's coming but not the full picture.
The single floor Candy Building will be overhauled completely and will be directly connected to the Boxyard. Plans here seem to call for a bar and game venue that could potentially be popular. Of course, the eventual tenant of the space will decide what to do with it but it seems like it is being geared toward a bar. The small building will also see a second floor added, which will be clad in Corten Steel. From the second floor, it appears you'll be able to access the greater Boxyard portion of the development.
Besides the radical changes that will take place, a decent amount of green glazed brick and the old Candy sign will remain.
Just East of the old Candy Building will be the Boxyard, a shopping area made up of reused shipping containers. Multiple retailers and even small bars and cafes will be able to call this area home. It will almost certainly be one of the busier portions of the Jefferson Connector project and the greater Midtown Alley area. The Boxyard will be spread out over two floors and will be topped off by a 4-story office building. This office building is a new addition to the Jefferson Connector plans and will add another new building to this stretch of Locust. The office building will also allow for the smaller firms of Midtown Alley to graduate out of their smaller spaces and into a larger spaces without having to leave the neighborhood.
In the center of the Boxyard will be a large open area "plaza" where tables and chairs can be set up. Even small events could be held in this plaza area. Note: The names of businesses on the office building and within the Boxyard are not official businesses. They're there to show how signage would work.
Even with these new renderings showing some progress, other questions appear to be unanswered. Has the cost gone up? If so, by how much? Will the hotel and parking garage retain their design? What will the hotel brand be? Are Trivers and Anthony Duncan still the Architects on this project or was someone else brought in? I believe these answers will be answered soon as the project should begin next year.
The Boxyard will be codeveloped with Tulsa based Ross Group. They developed the Tulsa Boxyard. The 2647-53 Locust Building will be developed by The Joneses, who currently reside in that building. The remainder of the Jefferson Connector project will be developed by Renaissance Development Associates, which is part of Tower Real Estate group. The entire project should wrap up in Late 2021/Early 2022, just in time for the MLS Stadium to open.