Continuing on my favorite development proposals and under-construction projects in 2016, this one is a proposal, but seems to be well on its way toward real action bringing another St. Louis classic back to life.
The massive 13-story Jefferson Arms building at 415 North Tucker, between Locust and St. Charles Streets in the Downtown West Neighborhood is a 1904 classic that has been sitting empty for nearly ten years. But a ~$103.7M plan from a Dallas, TX developer Alterra International will convert the building to 240 apartments, a Marriott Hotel and 1st floor commercial space.
One of the things that appeals to me the most about the project is the bullishness of people investing money from outside the region. Outside investment is one of the things we need most. In fact, add new immigrants, residents and workers from outside the region and you have a nice list of what St. Louis could really use.
"We actually fell in love with this one. It's not a good idea as a developer to fall in love, but we did because it's absolutely beautiful," said Mike Sarimsakcs, president of Alterra International. "The outside is just gorgeous."
The above link has some great photos of the interior, as does a NextSTL story published in November, 2016.
Sure, you're not supposed to show your cards during a negotiation, but it's great to see people come to St. Louis and see what I see: potential.
Alterra further spoke to this potential in a St. Louis Business Journal story in June, 2016 where Sarimsakcs was quoted as showing interest in the Butler Brothers building just west of here as well. Bring it on!
Alterra is also exploring a partnership with Sovereign Partners to overhaul the giant Butler Brothers building at 1717 Olive St. That building has an appraised value of $2.4 million, according to city records. Sarimsakci said if the partnership agreement goes through, Alterra would invest about $90 million to transform the 718,000-square-foot building into lofts and creative office space.
Here's to hope that the Jefferson Arms will be the first in a long line of buildings Alterra purchases and develops in St. Louis.
St. Louis is a diamond in the rough and I just don't think the powers that be/old money in the suburbs are enough to get us to the next level; we'll need outside investors with optimism and bullishness instead of the knee jerk grasping for silver bullets when what we really need is block by block investment, new ideas, commitment to the things that will, well...make St. Louis great again (bad, I know). But it's worth pointing out that there was mention of a Trump Hotel in the Jefferson Arms. Yet the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported there's no truth to that but it didn't stop anti-Trump protestors to make a stop in front of the building to speak their minds.
photo credit: St. Louis Post-Dispatch Staff Photo
In September, 2016 The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on some of the details surrounding the project timelines:
Work to turn the dilapidated and vacant Jefferson Arms into offices, apartments, restaurants and a hotel could begin as early as January, the prospective developer said Thursday.Mike Sarimsakci, whose Dallas-based Alterra International has the 13-story downtown St. Louis building under contract, said he plans to complete the purchase in December. Clearing the Jefferson Arms of debris and beginning the environmental cleanup would then get underway, he said.
Renovation will begin with construction of shops and restaurants on the first floor and in the basement of the Jefferson Arms, at 415 North Tucker Boulevard, Sarimsakci said in an interview in St. Louis. Opening the retail outlets will occur before completion of market-rate apartments in the original section of the historic building that debuted as the Hotel Jefferson in time for the 1904 World’s Fair. Apartments also would occupy the top two floors of the hotel’s 1920s addition on Locust Street.A hotel of about 240 rooms will fill the rest of the addition, said Sarimsakci, adding that the operator might be the Trump, Marriott or Divan Group hotel chain. The entire project could be done by January 2020.
It'll be great to see the windows lighting up along Tucker Boulevard once again. Again, this is a case where tax credits seem justifiable. Not only does the developer benefit, but so do we, the people of St. Louis who can extend one of our turn of the century beauties into the future. We can set ourselves apart from other cities with our architecture and beauty. Remember, not all cities have this wealth.