17 December 2019 / 6:45 PM / Missouri Foundation for Health
6:45 pm Meeting called to order (Vince Chewning)
Introductions (Vince Chewning)
- Vince Chewning read the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association mission statement
- Vince Chewning shared the goals of the evening
- Reintroduction from Drury
- To talk about a plan for an engagement process
- To hear from the neighborhood what they would like to have in an engagement process
- Vince ran through how Q&A would work
- Vince gave a brief history of the area Drury and H3 will be talking about
- 2007 – Drury start property acquisition along the western edge of the neighborhood along Kingshighway
- 2008 – A two-tower plan was presented to the neighborhood that did not move forward
- Over time, 26 properties have been acquired by Drury
- In September 2018, WASHU bought the MoDOT land at the intersection of Kingshighway and Highway 40. An RFQ for redevelopment was issued and then withdrawn
- In March 2019 a six-family structure partially collapsed
- A group of neighbors came together to gather information about the situation and to bring said information to the residents
- In November, Drury and partners met with that group of neighbors and members of the FPSE Development Committee. It was proposed that Drury and Partners come to the neighborhood association
H3/Drury Presentation (H3 – John Hoal, Tim Breihan, & Drury – Tom Milford)
Tom Milford, Director of Real Estate at Drury Development
- Apologized for the open property and for some of the state of the Kingshighway properties
- Noted that Tim Drury came to a Development Committee meeting about 18 months ago and said he was embarrassed by the state of affairs there, the open property in particular. Tom says they screwed up, and they’re sorry for not keeping that building tight to prevent incoming water and the wall collapse.
- About Drury: St. Louis-based, 1,000 local employees, 21 area hotels – five of which are the city, including three rebabs – the old railroad YMCA at Union Station, the Union Market building, and the fur exchange building downtown. Have a long history of proud project and wants to make it right here.
- Tonight is going to be what they hope kickstarts an incredible opportunity. They have the WashU land, which is 1.7 acres, right at the front door of the neighborhood that’s available. Says WASHU is willing to talk and that they engaged with them. Even though WASHU pulled the RFQ, they are still ready to listen, ready to engage. They want a broad-based community development process that creates a distinctive, unique boutique development.
- John Hoal is going to walk us through the opportunity. The opportunity is obviously a potentially transformational project at the front door of the neighborhood, and want to engage with the neighborhood. They want to get a community wide, all stakeholders up and down the line, feedback involvement in the project.
John Hoal, H3 Studios
- Did the form-based code
- The purpose of tonight’s meeting is to see whether they can take the next step and work out a planning process that all stakeholders can agree to. There will be no plans. It will be about process and how to get moving forward on a consensus
- A good planning process starts with the opportunity before you
- Gave a historical background of the layout of the neighborhood and how Kingshighway became a historical and continued extension of highway 40. Notes that there has been no comprehensive plan as result of the interstate intersection to really rethink that frontage. Says that when H3 was doing the form-based code, the WashU property was not available and MoDOT hadn’t rethought the design of that intersection that has now contributed basically 1.7 acres back into the neighborhood. It’s the neighborhood’s front door.
- Says after thinking and listening to various groups, he has heard no one who hasn’t had a strong desire that the front door of Kingshighway needs to be improved. In their mind, there is a pretty unified desire to do the improvements.
- Says from what he’s heard from general conversation, that the objective is to have a gateway to the neighborhood; something distinctive and high quality gateway that makes the front of the neighborhood and links in and repairs the damage of the Kingshighway evolution.
- Notes that our current community planning process and the code and the development review process has resulted in some really quality projects through the time
- Says the real estate market conditions are good for financing (compared to 2008 when the financing mechanism collapsed) and the market is pretty good for looking at hotels and boutique hotels and more comprehensive development. The real estate positivity should be an important consideration moving forward.
- At least two of the major land owners (WashU and Drury) are prepared to work together on the basis that there is a compressive and integrated plan. Says that often in redeveloping neighborhoods, each of the property owners work in isolation and don’t have the opportunity to leverage and mix and match the right type of needed neighborhood development. Here you have property owners that can come to the table and begin to have a discussion or prepare to work together. Says it would be quite sad for the neighborhood if land like this is developed in isolation – two groups doing their own thing doesn’t make sense.
- Reinforces the idea of putting property owners into the same room to work together with the neighborhood and all the other stakeholders to get a comprehensive plan.
- Says that of these assumptions can change, they’re not mandated, and it was just them trying to think about how one could go about a robust community engagement and development review process
- Process objective: Develop an agreed upon “Gateway” Redevelopment Plan for the South Kingshighway Boulevard Frontage, inclusive of the Forest West Properties & Drury Development Corporation-owned land which accommodates a new hotel and residential buildings, and other potential uses
- Planning & development review process boundaries: They were thinking from Highway 40 at the north to Wichita Avenue at the south; and from Kingshighway Boulevard to the west to approximately 3 properties east of the Kingshighway T-alleys.
- A “soft” boundary in terms of the planning. Can be changed as we move through the planning process.
- Planning and development review process: stakeholders: Property owners (Drury, Forest West Properties, Grove Properties, individual property owners) residents of FPSE, FPSE Neighborhood Association) Park Central Development, WUMCRC, City of St. Louis, MoDOT, Great Rivers Greenway
- Planning and development review process: Development Principles
- Potential to be private sector-led development with multiple development parcels and with parcels available for residential development through a partner (Koman Group)
- Instrumental in all of this is a four way intersection. Recalls that through all the form based code work, there is a sensitivity of this part of the neighborhood to traffic driving through and cutting through to the medical center, etc.
- Instrumental is also the 2.9 acres of property owned by Drury Development Corporation and the 1.7 acre property owned by Forest West Properties and seeing those two things come together. Says you don’t want independent development but unified development
- The objectives outlined in the Forest West Properties RFQ (what WashU put out for a developer of their property to maximize this)
- RFQ has been withdrawn
- Intent of the RFQ
- Quality design – A design concept that will add to the character and value of the neighborhood… per neighborhood planning documents.
- Appropriate use – The intended use is appropriate to the surrounding neighborhood, and aligns with the standards of the neighborhood form-based district.”
- Neighborhood plan – A neighborhood planning process designated the entire Kingshighway Corridor for larger scale mixed use and commercial development, for ‘reimaging the front door of the neighborhood
- Form-based district – requiring only minor variances as needed.”
- Planning _ Development Review Process: Form-Based District
- Notes that when the form-based code was made, they didn’t have the opportunity to reconsider the additional land
- Pointed out in the form-based code the area along Kingshighway was some of the more intense development patter and had a range of building types that matched that.
- Planning & development review process: Development Program
- A Drury-branded boutique hotel near the corner of Kingshighway and Highway 40.
- Says to lose the idea of the two tower building scheme
- Series of new residential apartment buildings (number and size TBD)
- Other uses determined through the planning and Development Review Process
- Chouteau Greenway integration
- Says you normally talk to people first and listen to the community in order to develop the planning process. Says they can’t walk in with a planning process that we haven’t heard from all of you.
- Think of it as three phrase process:
- Phase 1: Pre-Planning – We all agree to work together in a process and we outline the details of how are we going to do that and how it’s going to move. To work out the planning process.
- Phase 2: Community planning + development review. Execute that process and development review.
- Phase 3: Final development agreements. Implement what comes out of all of that.
- Planning + Development Review Process
- Proposes that between now and the next meeting is to work with the FPSE Neighborhood Association board, together with other stakeholders, to begin to map out a process in which we could bring back to the community.
- A commitment to keep coming back to all the meetings, as many as, as needed in order to create that agreement on the planning process
- All stakeholders (as mentioned earlier) need to be on the same page
- Have to start or and work out what the entire frontage plan is (e.g. – what goes where, what size the lots are, is that intersection at opened and will it work, along with all the necessary studies)
- If all stakeholders can agree to the process, Drury could go and make a deal with Forest Park West and get the property under control and move forward.
- And if there are any minor modifications to the form-based code or some public improvements, et cetera, or that could be done. An integrated plan is needed in order for WashU and Drury to get the properties in line and subdividing for all the regular preview
- If WashU doesn’t agree to the plan, then you’ve got two separate the landowners
- Emphasizes that he’s trying to provide a sense of kind of a sequence to start to think about this
- Once the regulatory framework is in place and the land is transferred prospered, there will be more community input and work with the City
- Drury and H3 will proposes to work with FPSE Neighborhood Association and other stakeholders to develop a draft of the Planning & Development Review Process in more detail, which would be presented back to the neighborhood for feedback
- Happy to meet as many times as needed
- FPSE Neighborhood Association wants regroup as a board and hear feedback from the community before entering further discussion with H3, Drury and other stakeholders
- Proposes having a discussion with the neighborhood to hear what they want to see in the neighborhood before further meetings with H3 and Drury
Vince: What did people plan on getting from the meeting?
- GM: Wants to know what’s been happening since 2011.
- GM: Lives in an apartment owned by Drury, wants to know how long she can live there.
- GM: Was in the 2007 meeting. Hasn’t heard anything and wants clarification and time to have a discussion apart from those who have a vision.
- GM: What’s plan B for all the properties if this doesn’t happen?
- Tom Milford: There is no plan B. Wants to work together. That is the plan. There is no other direction they plan to go.
- GM: Not aware if Drury has ever build a boutique hotel.
- Tom: Cites a unique, prototype hotel that will only be built in Nashville.
- John: Reminds the group that it has to match the form-based code (code cites a maximum height of seven stories).
- GM: Plan B might be necessary because of 12 years of neglect.
- GM: Was part of the form-based code process. Was told they had incorporate a potential hotel at the time even though that land was not possible to be zoned because it no man’s land because it was owned by MoDOT. Wants to know more information before agreeing to anything. Suggests that Drury/H3 is already modifying the form-based code, proposing ingress – one of the biggest concerns in the form-based code process. Wants to know why H3 can be a representative for the Drury’s when representing themselves.
- John: The form-based code was the general consensus of the community and it went through community and legal processes for approvals.
- GM: Thanks Drury for apologizing. Who represents the neighbors? Feels like the residents doesn’t have representation.
- John: A list of stakeholders and how they participate in the planning and engagement process is important
- Vince: Can you explain how you plan to engage with the community and getting their feedback?
- John: Has a typical process of doing it, but the process needs to be worked out with the, with the community and it’s important to have an agreement on that feedback and who’s in the room. Isn’t coming to us with a planning process but is coming to the community with a question in working out the planning process and work through how to best do it.
- GM: Lives on 4500 of Gibson. Attended Drury meetings in 2007. Is wondering after all this time, there wasn’t complete buy-in back then, and as Drury continued to acquire properties… We got to see first hand how Drury manages properties… doesn’t believe Drury has done anything to earn the trust of the neighborhood. Wonders why we’d ever work with them. Question is what are you going to do to regain that trust when you had a decade to prove you were good stewards of the property?
- Tom: Don’t trust us right now and let us keep coming back. You guys should be right to clap at that comment. The organization is embarrassed by the condition of the properties. Didn’t make sense to rehab the Kingshighway frontage properties. Has tried to maintain the properties and wants to know what they can do to do better. Properties are not for sale and will continue to be long-term investors. Will keep coming back and ask for engagement to get help figuring this out.
- GM: Speculates that the properties were not maintained the way they were was to make it more difficult for an objection to be raised about what was going on there. Wants to see examples. Only way he can objectively make a decision about whether it is a good plan or not is to see visual and quantitative examples of what can be done. Projects that he can evaluate.
- John: I completely agree with you. Says that examples will be totally embedded in the planning process. Seeing what can happen is critical in the planning process.
- GM: We’re not developers. Make it more tangible for us. Lay out the process so we can react to it.
- John: That would be the next step for us to come back with a planning process for you to say ye or ne and things to change.
- GM: Is interested in Drury/H3 listening to what opportunity is for the community, rather than Drury/H3 telling the community what the opportunity is for them. She says residents moved into the neighborhood to pay attention to the poor people, because they care about the homeless, and care about offering housing to people who can and can’t afford it. Wants them to shape their stuff with to fit in with the community’s kind of opportunities. Wants them to be inclusive and to be the flavor that has been worked on for years.
- Tom: Wants to hear from you to inform what they’re doing. Wants to know what you care about and to integrate it. Have almost 5 acres that can be talked about. They need 1 acre for their hotel. Open to ideas and what needs to be included from other partners.
- John: All good planning processes start with listening and giving people a voice.
- GM: The planning process feels like a process of inevitably. Wants some kind of ability in which we can say no to a hotel or whatever it’s going to be. Wants a lever to say no rather than a beating to consensus.
- John: Says there would be decision points along the way. Says the neighborhood would have a very different frontage if WashU and Drury don’t work together.
- GM: It’s okay to have a different future. Believes The Grove is the commercial and frontage of the community.
- John (on the feeling of inevitability) wants to work that out between all the stakeholders.
- GM: Wants know where the hotel, apartments, and ingress will be going.
- Tom: We don’t know. We can’t. We need input from you, WashU, PCD. There needs to be input from the community. Says it would be pointless and should start from scratch with a community-informed plan. About all they know and the only thing they can say with definitely is that in order to access the site, the most logical is at the Oakland/Kingshighway intersection, but where it goes from there they don’t know.
- John: The traffic issue and the entrance will have to be worked out. A lot of it will have to be worked out collectively, but it will have to go back to the Streets Department and MoDOT for study.
- GM: Wants them to elaborate on a plan B. Glad they included early maps of the neighborhood. Shares that when Oakland Expressway went in, it took up 50 acres from Forest Park. Eminent domain was used to take over 200 properties on West Papin and 80 additional properties from Choutuea to create the cloverleaf… so that’s over 1,000 families that had to relocate from the neighborhood… and now there’s talk about an access road that will cut off a further portion of the neighborhood… What if we can correct the past? Why would we want a hotel when we could get residents coming back into the neighborhood?
- Tom: Housing is a requirement. It has to be part of this project.
- GM: What if a hotel and access road is a no go for us? If there’s no plan
- GM: Does the NA have the ability has the stop the association to stop the development?
- GM: Asks that Alderman Roddy hear the voices tonight.
- GM: Wants to talk about the people who were displaced when Highway 40 came through. We need a lot more communication and not just plan A. Conversation would be different if there was a plan B.
- GM: Doesn’t think they gone far enough on plan A to have a plan b. Think plan B is too soon.
- GM: How long can a building be boarded up, driving down the value of home? Why is there no accountability to rehab them even if this plan is going to take 10 years to happen?
Vince: Clear that there is concern there is no plan B. Emphasizes that Drury and H3 were brought here tonight to engage with us so that we can hear and decide.
- GM: States that Drury knew about the meeting tonight but did not clean the sidewalks along their properties.
- Tom: We’re sorry. That sucks. We have property maintenance people.
- GM: Apologies ring hollow when you now want something. Gets you’re not interested in rehabbing those properties. Says it’s a legal responsibility as a property owner to manage your property. In favor of planning process but doesn’t like a planning process that is narrated as ‘there’s going to be a hotel and access road and how do we incorporate it in a way that’s best for the neighborhood?’ Suggests ‘what do even invision here? Is an access road and Drury Hotel part of that vision or is it something that’s not going to fit?’ Thinks they have to accommodate themselves to us, not us to them. Thinks we can afford to wait.
- GM: Mark, member of Development Committee. Has a question regarding the “assumptions.” Has been in some of the meetings where Tom has presented. Was his understanding that Drury had more absolutes.
- Drury would not do the development unless hotel was as close to the highway.
- Drury would not do the development unless there was access from Kingshighway.
- The access road would have to go into the neighborhood because the Lambskin Temple is a landmark building.
- Are there any other absolutes that were not part of the presentation?
- Tom: There is a current street grid that makes its way back there. Says it was a misspeaking on his part, that there are multiple ways to get to the WashU Land. Is correct that the Drury Hotel model is to have the hotel up against the highway. No other absolutes. None of the properties are for sale. May acquire more property.
- GM: Wants more objective data presented. Can the population support a hotel? Would Drury put the other hotel out of business? What happens to small neighborhoods like ours that are left with with an unsuccessful hotel?
- Tom: Doesn’t sell hotels. Are long term-holders and land and hotels. Haven’t closed a 5-year-old old hotel and just left it.
- GM: Doesn’t understand the zoning patch applied and wants to learn more about that. What would it take to require that any residential property included be mixed income and that there would be absolute set asides for low income and marketing rate to maintain the spirit and character of the neighborhood.
- Joe Roddy: Looking for the Neighborhood Association to provide some guidance… and a challenge to get consensus. A project like this require tax abatement or TIF or something similar which will require legislation. Problem with affordable housing is that the additional subsidy for that is over $50,000 a unit. Securing an additional $50,000 of TIF for affordable housing for a project like this is unlikely to happen. The larger need right now isn’t in new construction… but leaving people in their homes as opposed to affordable housing.
- GM: How many people does a Drury Hotel usually employ? Residents would have good job if it is developed.
- Tom: I don’t have the answer.
Tom: Thank you for the honest feedback.
Dan Scott: Encourages people who live in this neighborhood to be active participants in the Neighborhood Association, otherwise this meeting would not be possible.
Vince: Asks if the members would Drury back next month, or time to discuss amongst ourselves? General members vote for time to discuss.
8:00 PM Adjournment (Vincent Chewning)
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