Micro-Apartments and a Grocery Store Right on the Delmar Divide

So another 2018 development favorite was one I read about on NextSTL back in January. This project, called Solire, is unique to St. Louis, bringing 160 “micro-apartments” ranging from 400-750 square feet to the northern border of the Central West End Neighborhood (CWE) right on Delmar Boulevard at Euclid.

They would be built slender and tall at 3 stories, with 10 foot ceiling, utilizing the height for overhead storage. These would be affordable (~$600-$1600) and efficient, likely catering to younger and single people who don’t need all the overhead associated with larger apartments. Located in a walkable neighborhood, you don’t need to stay in your apartment all day, you can get out and be in the city.

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There was also a mention on Niki’s Central West End Guide that showed a site plan including a phase one with surface parking, and structured parking in phase two. While a surface parking lot unshielded from Delmar with a big gap in the street face, is not ideal. It is a much needed improvement. I’m not sure why they can’t have all access to parking from Euclid and the alley?

This one had immediate appeal since it is on Delmar Boulevard, and not a nice stretch of Delmar, even though it is in the CWE.

The current property is an abandoned, ~2.7 acre stretch of crumbling surface parking lot. The views from Delmar and the sidewalk are terrible. It says “here’s where people quit giving a damn about property upkeep”.

The project also appealed to us because there is a stretch of buildings that had a Jewish market called Rothman’s and a novelty company with a killer sign. One of the buildings in this cluster is for sale, so maybe with a shot in the arm to the west, these urban buildings will be repurposed or rehabbed to last another 100 years.

Development has to start pushing north of Delmar and this is step in the right direction. Drive down Delmar from Kingshighway to Vandeventer, which is the northern border of the CWE, it is a series of vacant lots and buildings in various states of abandonment and decay.

Yes CWE is likely St. Louis’ most tony and active neighborhood, but the north end is scarred with abandonment and no desire to rebuild. Building on Delmar and spreading the money toward the north is nothing to scoff at.

Current views along Delmar in the CWE:

This project has tax abatement on the table. I’m okay with it for the simple fact that these would bring homes on the more affordable side of the spectrum for a highly desirable neighborhood. And, there is still a bit of risk investing around here, let’s be honest. But, if we are giving away property tax dollars, shouldn’t we hold the developers to a fully urban design, without the curb cut on Delmar and the views of the surface parking lot? Doubtful anyone will complain.

Momentum is building for this stretch of Delmar; another piece of good news dropped in October, 2018 cementing this project on our favorites list: St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Fields Foods, a grocery based right here in St. Louis will be opening a fourth location in the Lofts at Euclid building on the first floor.

Fields Foods will occupy 8,186 square feet of space at the property at 625 North Euclid Avenue, the chain said Tuesday. The store will open later this year.

“We are excited to be the corner store in a tremendous development like Lofts@Euclid, where residents can literally take the elevator down and shop in their pajamas,” said Fields Foods owner Chris Goodson. “We are equally excited to work with many others to crack the ‘Delmar Divide’ and continue our mission of turning food deserts into former food deserts.”
— Brian Feldt - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

This along with the location near the Georgian on Lafayette, the planned Hibernia location in Dogtown, the Downtown West location and this site will bring excellent options for people in a walkable setting.

The Lofts at Euclid are in a beautifully restored building and the views along Euclid are urban and gorgeous.

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The idea of 150+ more people living in this part of the CWE on the border with Fountain Park is exciting. A surface parking lot replaced with relatively affordable homes built to the street on Delmar sounds pretty good.