The developer of a multi-year $1.2 billion project in downtown St. Louis’ Chouteau’s Landing riverfront area plans to launch the project with manufacturing facilities, before the development of residential and public spaces. That includes a pair of 200,000-square-foot factories to house tenants that would support hundreds of jobs.
But Good Developments Group, of New York and St. Louis, did not name the companies it says will anchor the 80-acre “concept” project, called Gateway South. And it said it was still working to secure private financing.
The project is seeking substantial — but not yet defined — public subsidies, and a public body, the St. Louis Port Authority, on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a preliminary development agreement in which the developer will pay $25,000 for bond counsel and other experts to vet the plan’s financial feasibility.
Good Developments, with an office at a coworking space on Pine Street downtown, is led by CEO Greg Gleicher, a Washington University graduate. Consultants Doug Rasmussen, of Steadfast City, and Dennis Lower, the former CEO of the Cortex Innovation District, are also working on the project, as is Andy Struckhoff, vice president at PGAV Planners.
At the authority’s meeting on Thursday, the developer and its consultants outlined a 10-year timeline for the project involving developments comprised of industrial, residential, recreation and entertainment uses.
The redevelopment area encompasses most of the 58-acre Chouteau’s Landing site where many redevelopment plans have been pitched over the years and never completed. The Gateway South footprint would also extend south into the historic and heavily industrial Kosciusko neighborhood that borders the Mississippi River. Good Developments Group has 50 of the 80 acres under contract, with the rest owned mostly by public entities, a city official said. The developer will start closing on sites this fall, Lower said.
Good Developments’ plan calls first for a “design, construction and innovation district” comprised of companies making modular construction components, the consultants said.
Those would be located by the riverfront and in the middle of the redevelopment area.
Two 200,000-square-foot factories, supporting hundreds of jobs, would be operated by companies from San Francisco and New York City, Lower and Rasmussen said, adding that redevelopment of historic buildings would be required. The firms weren’t named.
Rasmussen pitched the facilities as capable of connecting with existing barge traffic on the river, plus truck and rail lines, to ship assembled parts elsewhere.
And Lower said startup companies could be housed in the area, likening the concept to a construction accelerator not unlike the initial stages of Cortex, the innovation district located in the city’s Midtown.
The factories differentiate the project from the redevelopment of nearby Laclede’s Landing, which is geared more toward residential uses, Lower said.
But the plan also calls for two high-rise apartment towers at the north end of the site, by the Poplar Street Bridge. The towers would overlook the Gateway Arch, with more residential built into the top one or two floors of the neighboring Crunden Martin Manufacturing building at 812 S. Second St.
A skate park, hosting competitions and open to the public, could be built near the Arch, Lower said.
And at the southern end of the site, closer to Soulard, the developer is looking at entertainment tenants and is in talks with trail district Great Rivers Greenway about potential trail connections, Lower said. Ideally, three or four entertainment-themed tenants would be clustered there, he said.
With the preliminary development agreement in place, the developer will pay St. Louis Development Corp.’s costs to vet the project and explore potential incentives. Financial feasibility will be examined first, said Neal Richardson, executive director of the SLDC, the city’s development agency.
“We really look forward to the opportunity to ensure that we create a viable project and it comes to fruition to make our riverfront more visible,” Richardson said. “We have several different projects we’ve been pitched, but we really feel excited about this one.”
Good Developments Group does not yet have complete funding in place for the project, Lower said. The firm is bringing its own equity to the development and is in negotiations with a joint venture partner that would also invest equity, he said. Other potential funding routes are being considered, including a slate of public incentives, such as federal grants for port infrastructure, New Markets Tax Credits, Opportunity Zone incentives, brownfield tax credits, a Port Improvement District, a Community Improvement District, a Transportation Development District, rainscaping grants from the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District and an Advanced Industrial Manufacturing Zone.
The consultants acknowledged flooding is a concern, and said the developer will work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that infrastructure is built to withstand any floods, Lower said. Most of the riverfront by St. Louis is industrial, and any other uses are prohibited within 25 feet of the flood wall, he added.
The combination of elements would create a unique district, Rasmussen said.
“We’re looking at a complete riverside community… an extension of the Arch grounds and a 24/7 walking and working environment in the city, right at its front door,” he said.