by Dan Rafter
Sometimes you have to wait for a project. Just ask St. Louis-based HDA Architects.
Seven years ago, the architecture firm began designing what would eventually become 212 S. Meramec, a 26-story high-rise luxury apartment building in Clayton, Missouri.
Then the national and regional economy went sour and the country headed into a recession. Activity on the new apartment project fizzled.
But today? Construction has finally started on 212 S. Meramec. And when the apartment building is complete, Clayton – an important submarket of St. Louis – will have 250 new high-end apartment units for rent.
“The city is real excited about this,” said Jack Holleran, who said that 212 S. Meramec should open to tenants in the summer of 2017. “The retailers in the area are excited. They want people to have a nice place to rent in Clayton. That will only provide more customers for their establishments.”\
The new apartment building was designed by HDA Architects. The development team is made up of White Oak Realty Partners and CA Ventures, both based in Chicago.
The project got its biggest boost last summer, when the city of Clayton received a controversial tax-abatement. Once that hurdle was cleared, the apartment tower was once again on track, Holleran said.
Like most new urban apartment towers, 212 S. Meramec will boast several high-end amenities. These include a rooftop deck with views of the famed St. Louis Arch and downtown St. Louis. A fitness center will come with views of Shaw Park, a sprawling urban park in Clayton.
Holleran said that these amenities are essential to modern apartment towers. Renters today want common spaces for working out or gathering with their fellow apartment residents, he said.
“People are not spending as much time in their apartments as they are in the gathering spaces,” Holleran said. “Those congregation areas are important. The residents of these apartment buildings want to be out and about, whether they just want to work on their laptops or if they want to gather on a rooftop and take in views of the city. They want comfortable environments. “
Holleran said that the demand for 212 S. Meramec is strong. He said that nearly 40,000 workers head to Clayton’s business district every day. There aren’t many multifamily buildings for these workers to choose from.
“Having an apartment building like this will be a benefit to the employers in the area,” Holleran said. “This will help make Clayton not just a good place to work, but a good place to play, too.”
212 S. Meramec is also a transit-oriented development. The apartment project will be located adjacent to the MetroLink Blue Line, giving residents the chance to walk public transportation.
There is also a parking garage and bus depot all on the same block as 212 S. Meramec.
“People can live here and use mass transit to head to sports events, restaurants and shopping,” Holleran said. “It won’t be necessary for them to have a car. This is truly a transit-oriented development.”