Minutes – Meeting on 41 Lindell Apartment development proposal

WEST PINE LACLEDE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION

Minutes from meeting on  08.10.2021

President Harold Karabell called the meeting to order at 7:15.

Due to the special project being presented at this month’s meeting, the normal procedures were tabled to allow for discussion of the proposal to develop the “41 LINDELL APARTMENTS” at 4120-4130-4144 Lindell Blvd.

PRESENTERS: 

Garrison “Gary” Hassenflu  from MW Development Enterprises and President of Garrison Management Company who drove in from Kansas City

Jim Frederick, attorney from Armstrong, Teasdale LLP

Two construction managers from Raineri construction

Secretary’s note:  First presented to the association on September 9, 2020, tonight’s presentation shows the current concept for the building. 

PROPOSAL:

  • Raze the two PLACES FOR PEOPLE buildings at 4120-4130 Lindell and the LINDELL PROFESSIONAL BUILDING at 4144 Lindell
  • Build a U-Shaped apartment building consisting of a 2-story garage (ground-level and below-ground levels) and 5-story living space with 232 units, sized from studio apartments to 2 bedroom units (some 2 bed units will also include a work alcove).
  • Rents vary from c. $1,000 to c. $2,000
  • Garage ratio is 1 parking space per unit with several extra spaces, with monthly rental fee.
  • Plan includes about ten electric vehicle charging stations in the garage.
  • Amenities concepts include a pool, courtyard, fitness room, club room, indoor and outdoor kitchens, wet bars and possible co-working space.
  • Considering retail space with patio and plantings on ground level.
  • Catering to all ages from young professionals to empty-nesters. Hope to  attract Cortex employees.
  • Financial: $55,000,000 investment
  • Timeline: Late 2021 for 18-20 months
  • Contractors: Raineri Construction
  • Variance request: setback variance sought, tax abatement sought
  • Secretary note: More information at https://www.garrisoncompanies.com/project/41-lindell/

 

Q & A:

  • Demolition concerns, particularly the 5-story steel-reinforced building along the alley. Demolition will be done by picking method rather than wrecking ball to lessen impact. Should take about 10 days.  Misting fans will help control dust.
  • Noise – although picking method of demolition is quieter than wrecking ball, noise cannot be avoided.
  • Alley will be available to residents at all times, although at times construction may impede traffic and flagmen may be needed.
  • Alley blockage such as is occurring with the Raineri-managed project to the East is not acceptable.
  • Parking during construction– offsite parking for workers on surface lot on opposite side of the alley.
  • Utilities: all Ameren, Spectrum and AT&T lines run on poles on the north side of the alley nearly flush against the rear of the Lindell Professional Building while MSD’s main runs down middle of the alley.  Residents are concerned that none of these be disrupted.  Developers agreed and will work to maintain system in place as it is currently.
  • Abatements: there is asbestos to be abated before demolition and surveys show an old buried gasoline tank from a previous gas station to be abated and removed.
  • Active construction activity – 7 am to 3 pm.
  • Variance sought to allow building to property line, as is the case with the current building.
  • Look of building from the alley – balconies and brick veneer, similar to the illustration of the east side of the building.
  • Parking entry/exit: On Lindell AND on the alley.  One curb cut each.
  • Trees: 5 trees will be eliminated or moved.  Developers open to suggestions.
  • Form Based Code: plan is compliant and lower than the maximum of 12 stories allowed.
  • Sustainability: Concrete building with wood framing, controlled water toilets, zero-scape landscaping.  Not LEED certified.
  • Security cameras – open to suggestions
  • Parking for retail storefront – several street spots and several reserved garage spots.
  • Impact on neighbors: traffic, bee hives, access – developer will work with residents and appoint a neighborhood rep.
  • Concern about Raineri’s past performance – why would this be different? Better supervision and financial penalties for failure to complete on schedule.  4101 Laclede and Artizen are condos and customization slowed progress.  These apartments will not have such variables.
  • Resident input: 4101 Laclede construction was painful but had a good outcome.  Proper supervision is essential.
  • Dumpsters for new building – trash compactor in garage.
  • Dumpsters for existing residents – same as now.
  • Parking lot across the alley may be developed in ways to be determined by developer in conjunction with neighbors. Suggestions include: dog park or community garden.  There is much concern over dog park idea.
  • Management: Garrison management company, who bring over 25 years experience in developing over 1,300 apartments in 6 states.

Presenters were thanked and left the meeting.

DISCUSSION:

  • Aesthetically and architecturally mediocre.
  • Construction costs at $150/sq ft is on the low side
  • No creativity in design
  • At some point something will be built on site but hopefully better than this plan
  • Being low-cost construction, will this pose fire risk as with building east on Lindell that burned?
  • Current buildings there are ugly and supports replacement, but with something else
  • Working around the ABNA building, which is not (and will not be) for sale makes an awkward site and an unappealing streetscape
  • Remember that alley traffic was bad with previous occupants – any new project needs plan to slow alley traffic, such as speed bumps
  • Concern over proximity of proposed building to owner’s garage –being built up to property line is just too close to homes.
  • Proposed building is too large, too tall, too dense. Find something better.
  • Favor project based on land utilization and increased tax base, but proposed building is ugly. Can we liaison with them as a neighborhood to seek more acceptable design?  If not, other developers may come in with higher rise plan.  Best to engage with this developer now and work with them.
  • Is there interest in site from other developers? Not in the past because the site is awkward, but now there may be increased interest.
  • Relatively low rents may attract unattractive young residents – parties, guests, noise.
  • Although this project is mediocre, alternatives may be worse.
  • Concern that charging for parking space may incentivize residents to park on residential streets – already problematic for current residents.
  • Can developer work out an arrangement with Schnucks for resident/guest parking slots in their lot?
  • Oppose variances for alley setback.
  • Hope for building with LEED certification, but that will increase costs.
  • Developers need incentives and variances in order to proceed
  • Alderwoman Pihl – looking for feedback from neighborhood before making any recommendations or decisions.

MOTION: 

Take an informal vote of all attendees on the question:

SHALL THE WEST PINE-LACLEDE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION APPROVE THE PROJECT AS LAID OUT THIS EVENING?

18        opposed

5          abstention

0          approved

 

FURTHER COMMENTS:

  • As good neighbors we should stay at table and continue discussions
  • Variances and city incentives may be deal breakers
  • At $150/sq ft cost, developer can’t do much better – razor thin margins
  • We should work through/with our Alderwoman to negotiate further in hopes of a more acceptable proposal.

 

NEIGHBORHOOD INPUT IS ESSENTIAL TO ENSURE A BETTER OUTCOME.

>>  Please send your comments/suggestions to  Alderwoman Tina “Sweet T” Pihl at pihlt@stlouis-mo.gov  <<

 

The meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Diana Gualdoni, Secretary

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