Development plans for Fountain Park kick off with $13M mixed-use developments
FACET ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
By Steph Kukuljan – Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal
Construction will begin next month on Kingsway Development's long-awaited projects aimed at building density and activity just north of Delmar Boulevard.
About $13 million will be invested in two buildings in the Fountain Park neighborhood at 4731 and 4709 Delmar Blvd. that will host a variety of offices, retail and even a new ground-up 10,000-square-foot performing arts center.
It's a flurry of activity for Fountain Park, which sits north of the "Delmar Divide," a predominately African American area that has seen little investment compared to the white neighborhoods on the southern side of the street. Kingsway Development has master development rights for 207 acres that cross the Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods and is roughly bordered by Taylor Avenue to the east, Kingshighway to the west, Page Avenue to the north and Delmar to the south.
“With the job market being what it is, entrepreneurs are so important now because these are the people who can create their own income. And when you’re working in the type of community I've been working in, we were in a pandemic before Covid. So creating the type of opportunities for people who need to create something out of nothing has always been my strong suit, and now we have the brick and mortar projects to support it," Kingsway Development President Kevin Bryant said.
Tenants for 4731 Delmar Blvd., the former Union-Sarah Economic Development Corporation Building, include Elevation co-working and Park Central Development as well as UPS Store, The Original Hot Dog Factory and, potentially, Jamba Juice. A 10,000-square-foot performing arts center will be built on the north side of the building that Bryant hopes will become a neighborhood beacon.
Next door at 4709 Delmar, a building that once held a 1920s-era candy factory will be home to a business training center, an unnamed vegan restaurant and an unnamed radio station, he said.
The properties are one block east of LaunchCode, the St. Louis nonprofit that places aspiring computer programmers in tech apprenticeships and jobs, and two blocks east of a new apartment development called the Lofts @ Euclid that sits in the prime Central West End neighborhood, home to institutional anchors like BJC Health Care and Washington University Medical School.
That activity is what Bryant aims to draw upon for his commercial projects.
“We want to pull from LaunchCode and service the Central West End but also provide a place where the office inhabitants can feel good going downstairs without having to leave the community to just grab a snack," he said. "We tried to source the type of retail we think would work for the young people we’re trying to keep in the area."
Ameresco will do the construction work and Carl Karlen, design principal at Maplewood-based Facet Architectural Design, a subsidiary of CD Cos., is the architect. Also joining is Ballast CRE, Kwame Construction, Simms Building Group and ABNA Engineering.
“Buildings in this area have great bones, they have amazing detailing. It’s wonderful to see people bringing these buildings back to life. It keeps the history of the neighborhood alive," Karlen said.
There's also more development to come. A $30 million apartment project with 150 market-rate apartments is planned for the property across the street. Downtown St. Louis firm Trivers is the architect on that project, which is in the early stages of development. Trivers is also designing the $7 million infrastructure improvements for the area as well.