Mackay Quarter of Lafayette Square (Praxair Site)

Discuss renovations and new residential construction in South City -- defined by the area south of Interstate 44/55.
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billikens&bricks wrote:
^Hopefully this develops into something worthwhile!

On another note, does anyone know about the school building at Jefferson & Lafayette? Any history of development there?

Also, what's with the giant grassy lot between the highway ramps along Lafayette? The one you pass by as you leave Lafayette Square heading east. Any chance that will ever see development? It ruins the connectivity towards Soulard.


Are you thinking of the old German Social House at the NE corner? That is owned by the Scientologists and they had some kind of plan a few years back but that appears to be dormant.
billikens&bricks wrote:
Also, what's with the giant grassy lot between the highway ramps along Lafayette? The one you pass by as you leave Lafayette Square heading east. Any chance that will ever see development? It ruins the connectivity towards Soulard.


The area was to be a full Interstate interchange at one point:

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I-755: https://nextstl.com/2015/05/the-life-and-death-of-the-american-urban-interstate-as-told-by-st-louis-i-755/
^ Does anyone think it could ever be feasible to build a row of apartments or even a mixed use building on that large lot that is in-between the ramps on the south side of Lafayette Billikens mentions? While not an ideal building site, I think its possible given how large it is that a well designed building (probably with structured parking or some sort of rear parking could be designed to fit the site) and I don't think the traffic noise would be too onerous, given that directly across the street those row-houses sell for 300k+. I'm not sure how acquiring land from MODot works, but I wouldn't think the land acquisition cost would be prohibitive given that its merely an ongoing maintenance cost for them to cut the grass and certainly the location would be very central and close to a ton of amenities for residents. It sure would enhance the connectivity and density in the area and help support the commercial in the Walgreens shopping center to the east as well as other neighborhood businesses. Just spitballing...

I also thought that the lot where Tim Hortons is going in would have been much better served with a mixed use building with a Tim Hortons on the ground floor rather than a stand alone building but that's not going to happen now obviously.
Based on their website it looks like we can expect some suburban-like houses.
Yea most of their stuff is suburban but seeing some of their DC townhomes gives me hope that it can be designed correctly

https://www.pulte.com/homes/maryland/dc-metro
ImprovSTL wrote:
Based on their website it looks like we can expect some suburban-like houses.


They'll still have to work within the neighborhood's standards for new construction, so expect something like Lafayette Walk or the infill homes on Dolman.
This looks nice
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debaliviere wrote:
They'll still have to work within the neighborhood's standards for new construction, so expect something like Lafayette Walk or the infill homes on Dolman.


Lafayette Walk is fantastic. I can only hope we get something that good. Gut tells me the materials will not be of the same quality.
Something comparable to parts of Pulte's Potomac Yard development in Alexandria, VA would fit the Lafayette Walk mold of dense townhomes in a historically deferential style (although perhaps with more consistent adherence to basic Second Empire design elements):

Potomac Yard:
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^Yep; those are nice.
NextSTL just posted a new article on the updates to this proposal. IMO things are looking pretty good. The Article.

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It looks pretty consistent with what I was hoping for:
wabash wrote:
Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:21 am
Something comparable to.... the Lafayette Walk mold of dense townhomes in a historically deferential style (although perhaps with more consistent adherence to basic Second Empire design elements)
Mods: Maybe the title should be changed so the parens read "(Praxair Site - Pulte Homes Project)"? Might help to locate it.
Nice that they look to be brick on all the sides!
ImprovSTL wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:05 pm
Nice that they look to be brick on all the sides!
They're using brick on the street-facing sides only; The rest will be covered in cement fiber board painted brick-color. You can actually see it if you squint at the rendering above; look at the sliver of the backside of the building a block over on the left side.

-RBB
FWIW, I find these just hideous. I see the design has been met with approval from most people on social media, but I just don't get it. So monolithic, so traditional-ish. IMO - what makes Laf Sq (and many other parts of the city) great, is variation (within certain constraints). Big projects like this with the exact same design through dozens and dozens of units is just...bad. I guess I'm glad to see that many like it.
Alex Ihnen wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:01 pm
FWIW, I find these just hideous. I see the design has been met with approval from most people on social media, but I just don't get it. So monolithic, so traditional-ish. IMO - what makes Laf Sq (and many other parts of the city) great, is variation (within certain constraints). Big projects like this with the exact same design through dozens and dozens of units is just...bad. I guess I'm glad to see that many like it.
I'll be honest; I assumed that construction in Lafayette Square needed to approximate the historical built environment. Is that not the case here?

They're great if they *have* to be faux-historic by code. If they had more freedom of design and chose this design then I agree with you.

-RBB
Preservation Board denied.
So back to the drawing boards or what? What was their reasoning


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I think the design is fine, nothing exciting but would blend ok with the neighborhood. I know that in Benton Park some developers have been pushing the boundaries with some contemporary takes on historic model examples and getting through the Preservation Board, and I think that would be good tact for Lafayette Square to take too (especially given the way this site is on the edge of the neighborhood, and not in the core), but I don't know if the code, or neighbors, in Lafayette Square would go for that.

65 units of these "ok" design, though, all clustered around each other would be very monolithic and bland. I hope they come up with a way to at least vary the facades even if the buildings behind them are the same (like in the Potomac Yards development as above), or some way to add color or something to differentiate one unit from another so it doesn't look so oppressively identical. I know the strict historic code in Lafayette Square is somewhat limiting, but there are enough facades in the neighborhood for historic model examples that the designers could use to come up with a more creative and granular proposal than this.
I personally thought they were great. To ask for


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rbb wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:09 pm
Alex Ihnen wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:01 pm
FWIW, I find these just hideous. I see the design has been met with approval from most people on social media, but I just don't get it. So monolithic, so traditional-ish. IMO - what makes Laf Sq (and many other parts of the city) great, is variation (within certain constraints). Big projects like this with the exact same design through dozens and dozens of units is just...bad. I guess I'm glad to see that many like it.
I'll be honest; I assumed that construction in Lafayette Square needed to approximate the historical built environment. Is that not the case here?

They're great if they *have* to be faux-historic by code. If they had more freedom of design and chose this design then I agree with you.

-RBB
Yes, but all units don't need to be the same. There are quite a number of historic styles in Laf Sq. New construction has taken on different styles. The big issue (for me) though is plopping down 60 of the same thing.
Alex Ihnen wrote:
Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:37 am
rbb wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:09 pm
Alex Ihnen wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:01 pm
FWIW, I find these just hideous. I see the design has been met with approval from most people on social media, but I just don't get it. So monolithic, so traditional-ish. IMO - what makes Laf Sq (and many other parts of the city) great, is variation (within certain constraints). Big projects like this with the exact same design through dozens and dozens of units is just...bad. I guess I'm glad to see that many like it.
I'll be honest; I assumed that construction in Lafayette Square needed to approximate the historical built environment. Is that not the case here?

They're great if they *have* to be faux-historic by code. If they had more freedom of design and chose this design then I agree with you.

-RBB
Yes, but all units don't need to be the same. There are quite a number of historic styles in Laf Sq. New construction has taken on different styles. The big issue (for me) though is plopping down 60 of the same thing.
I completely agree. Those pictured in the rendering looked great, but if every single one looks the exact same it takes away from it. Add one or two different design changes and a few different colors and its perfect.
The article has a couple more views/renderings. I'm surprised there isn't variation with size/pricepoint/etc. as well. It sounds like the LafSq NIMBYs were out in force the other night. This project may have a ways to go. I can't see what old-timers would find objectionable about the old-timey bland infill, but it happens. Density and traffic, I suppose.

https://nextstl.com/2017/03/design-site ... presented/
Monolithic and repetitious does not have to be a bad thing. I love row houses.
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Repetition is often intrinsic to row houses, and perhaps there is an upper limit to when charming similarity and sense of place becomes boring or depressing homogeneity and monotony.

Some examples of more similar, repetitious (which isn't necessarily bad) rowhouses:
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But even with a repetitious structural design, you're still just one amendment to the Homeowner's Association Agreement (or the HOA actually hiring an artist) away from achieving a more heterogeneous and cheerful effect like these:
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I agree it would be a nice touch. And it would fit in character with the old homes as well, as many of them are painted blue, gold, etc. Perhaps when this project materializes, they can include a facade color in the construction.