In photographs of a site plan and renderings sent to CityScene STL, Delmar Loop's Chase Bank has returned with a different design that is quite depressing for such a prominent corner.
The new building, which was unveiled in early January and is planned to be situated on the former Church's Chicken Lot at Delmar and Skinker, misses on a truly urban design that links the West Loop to the East Loop. Along Skinker, only 65% of the property is covered by a building while Delmar only has 50% coverage. The design creates two new curb cuts, one on Skinker and one on Delmar in order for customers to access the parking lot and ATMs.
According to my source, the Skinker-Debaliviere Neighborhood requested changes last time around to make the building more urban, mixed use and just an overall better design. Instead, they got a more boxy version of the same building with parking making up a majority of the existing lot. The excuses about a mixed use project come from both the property owner and Chase themselves. The Property owner states that he is leasing the land to Chase and is resistant to a mixed use building here because of parking issues. Meanwhile, Chase's excuse is that they aren't in the business of building mixed use buildings.
Both of these arguments are invalid as the property is about as big as the MOFO project (3172 Morgan Ford) in Tower Grove South. That project features parking, retail space and apartment space in a three floor building that addresses the street facing sides adequately. There is zero reason that a building like that can't be built here with Chase Bank acting as the sole tenant on the first floor. Further, Chase can spend a few more dollars since they have recently set out to demolish their own 707FT, 52 story building in New York City for a 1450FT tall, 70 story tower on the same site. The plan will cost billions to execute and they can't spend a few million here? Shameful.
The plan will ultimately have to go before St. Louis City's Preservation Board before being granted official approval to begin construction.
It is unknown if Chase will return with a different design or abandon the project altogether, but I'll be sure to keep you all updated. The push back on this project from the first version to now is clear that anything less than a two floor, mixed use building is unacceptable and Chase just doesn't want to budge. They are entering the St. Louis market on a more sour note than they may have hoped.
On a related note, Core States Architects remains the firm designing this project.