3122 S. Kingshighway - New Retail and Demolition

Discuss construction activity, major renovations, office projects, streetscape improvements, etc. in South City -- defined by the area south of Interstate 44/55.
This is a proposed project next door to the Royale. It will require the demolition of Modern Kitchens and Baths. It's basically a cookie cutter development of the retail project on Chippewa by AT&T and Qdoba. There will be NO access from Kingshighway by pedestrians. All pedestrians must walk around to the parking lot to go in. L3 Corporation is the developer. It should be complete by December 2019.

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Currently on site...
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Story: https://www.buildingstlnews.com/the-blo ... the-royale
Hi Chris:

We are not the developer. We are the leasing agent.

Also, I respectfully don’t agree with your opinion of the site. Kingshighway has 40,000 Plus cars a day. It’s a car centric expressway and therefore, car centeric development is appropriate. If you sat on site for 24 hours, I’d be shocked if you saw more than 30-40 pedestrians walk by. This site is not conducive to urban design which is why almost all of the new construction along Kingshighway (like Chippewa as well) is buit to a more suburban design.

I understand that generally everyone (including me) wants urban design in the city but it doesn’t work along Kingshighway.
^All true but this location is half a block from Tower Grove Park and a bus stop at Kingshighway and Arsenal. It's not like there isn't potential for pedestrian traffic given the right tenants. I don't think it is out of the question to wonder why there isn't a single door from the sidewalk along Kingshighway into these businesses.

Also it's kind of circular in my mind to argue that because there are few pedestrians in a location not designed for pedestrians that no future development should consider the possibility of pedestrian traffic.
KB,
A few blocks south of your location there is this group of urban buildings along kingshighway.
The same traffic passes through here but these businesses embrace the sidewalk.
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We don't have to choose between cars and people. We need both to create dynamic streets.
kbshapiro wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:52 pm
Hi Chris:

We are not the developer. We are the leasing agent.

Also, I respectfully don’t agree with your opinion of the site. Kingshighway has 40,000 Plus cars a day. It’s a car centric expressway and therefore, car centeric development is appropriate. If you sat on site for 24 hours, I’d be shocked if you saw more than 30-40 pedestrians walk by. This site is not conducive to urban design which is why almost all of the new construction along Kingshighway (like Chippewa as well) is buit to a more suburban design.

I understand that generally everyone (including me) wants urban design in the city but it doesn’t work along Kingshighway.
Who is the developer then? I want to let them know that the neighborhood is greatly opposed INCLUDING the owner of the Royale who contacted me and expressed his concerns. Anyway, thanks for letting me know what you said and I'll update the article accordingly. It's not to late to try to rebuild the urban feel of South Kingshighway, as Imran points out...
imran wrote: KB,
A few blocks south of your location there is this group of urban buildings along kingshighway.
The same traffic passes through here but these businesses embrace the sidewalk.
Image
We don't have to choose between cars and people. We need both to create dynamic streets.
There are still remnants of the past here but this stretch will just be harder to rebuild over time. Home Depot, the tire shop, Sonic and the car dealers won't be there for ever. Hell, look at Chippewa and Kingshighway, Applebee's is closed and Shop N' Save is closing soon and Ackerman Toyota is moving to Hampton and 44. Those all open up prime redevelopment space into something more urban. It will take several years but Kingshighway, in this area, could be rebuilt to reflect a changing a way of life which is the move to more Urban developments. This one would be a good start and the same goes for the vacant car dealer at Arsenal and Kingshighway.

This was once, and is still considered, Southtown. This is where Famous Barr was and some nice Urban shopping in the center of South City. If the Grove, and other areas are an indication, steps can be taken to move in the right direction and make the area more Urban. Things can happen here but you have to start somewhere hence me saying that something better can go in at this site and at Arsenal and Kingshighway. In the future: Ackerman, the old Applebee's Shop n' Save and Avalon Theater sites.
Paradoxical that the big busy expensive stroad doesn't begat commensurate land uses.

The Subway at 1151 S Kingshighway did a bit better in some aspects. Is something like that workable?
quincunx wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:55 pm
Paradoxical that the big busy expensive stroad doesn't begat commensurate land uses.

The Subway at 1151 S Kingshighway did a bit better in some aspects. Is something like that workable?
I don't know if this was aimed towards me but I would like to see something like the subway built here. It will look a million times better and, if done right, will fit into the neighborhood more. Plus that building is built up to the street and has room for an office up stairs. It's a win there and could be here.
Everyone- All good points.

You must keep in mind that land and construction costs are very expensive right now and interest rates are raising, so you must develop properties to a design that can generate the most rent on a PSF basis for ROI and be marketable to high creditworthy tenants to appease the banks and investors.

Typically, Tenants that pay high rents and have credit have very specific site criteria/standards and, therefore, the developers must build to these specifications or they won’t get the interest from the tenants they need to get the development out of the ground.

Most of the time, unfortunately, the differences between what developers have to do and what the neighborhood wants to do are a much different end product.
Is there a reason it has to be the yet another generic faux historic replica? Such a cheap-looking, boring, uninspired design. Why not opt for a more modern design (especially in place of 'Modern' Kitchens & Baths)? Do local developers not travel to other cities to see what's being built elsewhere??? Hell, go to the LOOP-- there are fine examples of single story commercial buildings there and elsewhere in the metro. This proposal is the definition of laziness. Haven't we learned by now that "playing it safe" hasn't done anything to make St. Louis more appealing or competitive? And at the very least, can't they put some residential above?? Seems like a no-brainer considering how close it is to TGP.

Once again, it looks like St. Louis will get stuck with the lowest common denominator that adds zilch (and actually detracts) from the urban environment. It should be the responsibility of any developer in our city to ponder what this site, this intersection, this city can and should be. No streetfront entrance???? What. This schlock would be laughed out of the room in a city with minimum design standards, an inkling of vision, or an ounce of self-respect.

Demand better, St. Louis!
Stlgasm— You make very good points about the exterior design of the building and how pedestrian traffic should be considered more with proximity to the park. Message will be relayed.

The Loop or Grove are very different areas of the City than Kingshighway from Arsenal down to Eichelberger. The Grove and Loop have two lanes of traffic at low speeds, parallel parking, all buildings up to the sidewalk, pedestrian friendly, etc. Kingshighway is a high speed expressway with 5 lanes of traffic, no parking along the side Kingshighway, most of the buildings/centers are designed off the road with parking in front or side, car centric, not pedestrian friendly, and so on. You mentioned other markets and I’ve been to pretty much every major city in the US and all of St Louis’ peer midwestern markets. They ALL have vibrant, dense urban pockets like the Loop, Grove, CWE, South Grand, etc where you’ll find unique, modern urban development. And they ALL have Kingshighway type corridors where the retail is more traditional. There’s need for both.

In reference to storefronts on Kingshighway side — It’s very hard operationally for retail stores to have storefronts on two sides of their buildings for security purposes and staffing. So the tenants require that developers pick one side of the building for storefronts. Since this particular area of the City is much more heavily trafficked by car vs pedestrian, this is why the decision was made to have the storefront on the east side of the building facing the parking for convenience for the majority of customers. On the flip side, if you have the storefront on the Kingshighway side of the building, you force the majority of customers to walk around the building (sounds very lazy but this is a go, go, go world where convenience is very important) and you have to consider the safety of the customers with cars flying by at 40-45 MPH with only a roadside curb to protect from a car jumping up on the sidewalk. Hypothetically, let’s just say a Dunkin Donuts goes here, I would not want my kids walking out the front door only 8-10 ft from cars/trucks flying by. Maybe I’ve gone soft from my WashAve days and having kids.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply, kbshapiro. Sorry if I came across like a jerk. I really think the building could attract more valued tenants if the design had a little more distinctiveness and pizazz.
kbshapiro wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:37 am
And they ALL have Kingshighway type corridors where the retail is more traditional.
Note that this development pattern isn't traditional.
Let's also keep in mind that South Grand used to be a 4 lane traffic sewer until the amount of pedestrian activity demanded a road diet. And there's plenty of businesses that face Jefferson and Gravois, the latter recently received a bit of a road diet and Jefferson is eagerly awaiting a light rail line.
^ I'd revise that to say that the amount of ped activity was always there but it wasn't until the Great Streets initiative that the funding and courage was in place to improve the traffic sewer. The problem with S. Kingshighway to a pretty large extent is the alderman and lack of city planning.
If the stretch of Kingshighway is so far gone, why don't you just propose a building that will improve the street wall of an urban area? Plenty of vacant lots on Manchester in the Grove.

I do agree that a lot could be done to improve Kingshighway, but I think we are against a wall here. The city likely has no money to give Kingshighway a road diet, the majority of people (aka drivers) don't want it as it will slow them down, and the development pattern does seem to have gone overwhelmingly suburban.

I'd love to see Kingshighway return to urban form, that would take a massive redevelopment plan though. It would be nice to see someone invest in trying to turn it around, though, I imagine that goal sounds incomprehensible.

I think an attainable scope could be an RFP for the east side of Kingshighway between Chippewa and Tholozan. Southtown Centre is tired, and never full of cars. With Ackerman leaving, too, it adds more incentive to redevelop the area. With Applebee's gone, too, that could offer an opportunity for a prominent corner building too. I don't think hope is lost on Kingshighway, the focus just needs to be shifted.