The September 2021 meeting of the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association took place at Hot Java Bar in FPSE in order to hold an in-person community engagement session for LuxLiving’s Kingshighway development proposal. Representatives from LuxLiving outlined renderings and other impacts for the community to view and the FPSE NA will be holding a second community engagement meeting at the next regular meeting to answer additional questions.

21 SEPTEMBER 2021 / Started at 6:45 PM / Location: HOT JAVA & ZOOM

MINUTES  (reference the YouTUbe audio below to follow the minutes)  This was the first FPSENA meeting to offer both Zoom and In-Person.  There were several technical difficulties and the meeting began late.

Minute 14:14 The general manager of Hot Java introduced himself and described the venue (former Ready Room) which serves coffee, beer, cocktails, and smoothies.  Find info at 4193 Manchester Ave

18:18  FPSENA President Dan Doelling starts the FPSENA Meeting:

  • Welcomes Alderwoman Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl and those in attendance in person at Hot Java and those on Zoom
  • Reviewed Treasurer’s Report: Total FPSENA Budget is $2,600.12 with previous months expenses including the website hosting and Zoom account
  • Asked how people learned about tonight’s meeting: Flyers, Email, Facebook & NextDoor, word-of-mouth.  Let us know if you have other ideas regarding how to communicate with neighbors.
  • Nominations for FPSENA’s 2022 Board positions are due at next October’s meeting.  Any FPSENA member can run for a board position; elections occur at the November meeting.  Email if interested in being on the ballot for a FPSENA board position:
    • President 
    • Vice President
    • Treasurer
    • Secretary
    • Member-At-Large

*  Details available in Article 5 of the bylaws:

20:10  Goals for tonight’s meeting

  • For Lux Living to present their proposal to neighbors
  • For neighbors to offer feedback, Q&A

21:15 Introductions

  • FPSENA Board Members, FPSENA Bylaws
  • Special Guest: Chris Stritzel is the representative for Lux Living (Chris is Strategic Advisor, Midtown Locust Properties, Consultant to LuxLiving through 4th Street Partners)
  • Chris Stritzel:
    • Lux Living has conducted business under other other names:
      • ASPRIENT
      • CITYWIDE
      • And many other names
    • Other Real Estate Development Projects by Lux Living:
      • Steelyard (Soulard – 2016)
      • Tribeca (CWE – 2018)
      • The Chelsea (DeBaliviere Place – 2021)
      • The Hudson (CWE – 2021)
      • SoHo (Soulard – 2021)
      • McKenzie (Clayton – 2022)
      • Optimist International Site (CWE – Under Review)

29:00  Dan Doelling:  

  • History of the Site
    • Lux Living is proposing a development at 1070-1092 Kingshighway, where 6 boarded up four-family brick buildings are located
    • This property was formerly owned by Drury Hotel Company.  In 2008 Dury proposed to build two tower high rises (never built due to community opposition).  During COVID, Drury listed the properties for sale and most of the parcels were bought by Lux Living.  Lux Living did not buy all of the land formerly owned by Drury, however, Lux Living does own some parcels (east of the Kingshighway alley) that are not included in the proposal presented tonight.  
  • Ground Rules & Expectations for Tonight’s Meeting
  • Questions to consider: 
    • How will FPSE resident’s experience of the neighborhood be affected by the proposed Lux Living development?
    • What changes would FPSE residents request to ensure their experiences are positive throughout the life of the project?
  • Timeline for Community Engagement:  FPSENA will host an additional community engagement session regarding Lux Living’s proposal at the meeting on October 19th, 2021.  
  • Resident Comments / Q&A
    • 32:51 History of community opposition to Drury’s 2008 proposal, due to perception it would reduce resident’s access to Forest Park
    • 34:28 Question: Will community engagement feedback actually influence the outcome of this development being approved
    • 35:22 Long term residents of 4560 Oakland and 4568 Arco live in properties purchased by Lux Living, are concerned about being displaced, and have been unable to contact their new landlord regarding maintenance requests.  Lux Living employee Julie Brady attended the meeting and agreed to talk to residents.

38:54 Chris Stritzel: The Lux Living Proposal for 1070-1092 Kingshighway

  • Currently the site has 7 buildings (6 four-family buildings, 1 single family). 6 of the properties are boarded up and have significant decay.  Some structures have been damaged by fire, trees growing in mortar.  Lux Living proposes to demolish all 7 of these properties
  • 42:27 Lux Living wants to build a 6 story apartment building, designed by VE Design Group + Burkhart Elliott Creative (BE Creative), with
    • 144 apartments
      • 32 Studio Units
      • 101 One Bedroom Units
      • 11 Two Bedroom Units
      • Apartments feature balconies
      • Deed restriction prohibits AirBnB (operated by individuals or Lux Living) and Hotel
    • Current plan has 144 parking spaces in an underground garage accessed from the alley; this is permitted by the Form Based Code but results in increased traffic on 4500 blocks of Oakland and Arco. 
      • However, Lux Living has an alternative plan, which would require Alderman’s approval, to reroute their parking garage access via the currently-barricaded stoplight at Oakland & Kingshighway.  This would avoid increased traffic on the 4500 blocks of Oakland and Arco, but require 4571 Oakland (vacant residential lot) to become an alley (minute 48:00)
    • Publicly accessible bistro in lobby
    • Outdoor courtyard space
    • “Stepped-Design” with tallest 6-story portion on Kingshighway, with shorter building height closer to residential homes  
  • 45:00 Lux Living states that their proposal:
    • meets the Form Based Code (FBC) Regulations
    • will have exterior clad in brick, metal paneling, curtain wall glazing 
    • has garage access on an alley
    • does not require variances 
    • does not request tax incentives, immediately adds to city revenue
  • 48:39 Kingshighway elevation features main-entrance, courtyard, street-level windows to lobby, bistro, and fitness center.  
  • 50:03 Alley (east) Elevation will have various heights, stepping down from 6 stories.  Includes pool deck and amenities.
  • 51:06 Shows massing of project next to adjacent buildings

51:47 Question & Answer Session regarding Lux Living’s Proposal

Resident Concern/Question Answer by Lux Living
52:26 Where will visitors park? No visitor parking in current plan.  

* An alternative plan could make 1/4th of ground-floor visitor parking, but would reduce glass windows on Kingshighway

53:33 What will happen with properties along Arco and Oakland? No plans to develop at this time

Residents of those buildings were at the meeting, had issues with their buildings that they needed addressed. They spoke with Julie.

54:33 Will there be additional traffic?

Resident opposes additional traffic on Arco

Current plan does create  new traffic on 4500 Oakland/Arco due to garage access being on the alleyway.

* An alternative plan could prevent traffic by moving the garage entrance/exit to Oakland via  Kingshighway at the barricaded stoplight.  Requires 4571 Oakland (vacant residential lot) to become a new alley.

57:00 What if Lux Living tenants have more than one car? The current plan is for residents with a 2nd car to park it on the street 
58:18 Has there been a traffic study? Will changes to alley reduce existing residential parking? Lux reportedly completed a traffic study, and can share it at the next meeting; current plan is reportedly  the best solution.  Existing Oakland/Arco alley parking should not be impacted.
01:01:12 Will there be affordable housing? This is a mixed income community, would like to keep it that way No affordable housing in this plan. If Lux Living was requesting tax incentives, they might consider, but that is not the case.
01:01:58 What will the rent be? Not sure, but “Market-rate”
01:03:15 What’s the long-term plan for management? Will Lux Living  sell the building? Maybe, depending on purchase price offered. It’s a business decision.  May be a long-term hold.
01:05:32 Would Lux consider building something less than 6- stories tall? No.  Fits form-based code, building steps down in the back, not economically viable to build something smaller
01:07:00 How much foot traffic will there be? People currently trespass neighboring properties  Design of the building will direct foot traffic towards front of the building
01:07:40  How will Lux Living mitigate damage to adjacent, old homes, due to construction? Retaining wall will hold soil in place.  Utilities moved at the beginning of construction. 
01:08:40 Former renter of Lux developers (Asprient/City Wide) asked if Lux Living will be doing the property management.  Shared concerns about history of poor property management track record. Lux Living will be doing the management. Asprient is an old company, it is City Wide now. We’ve taken a number of steps, still figuring out maintenance. Lux and City Wide are two different entities with different offerings. Lux Living is nicer/newer/better taken care of.
01:13:39 If variances are not being requested, what motivation does the developer have to listen to the neighborhood? We still want to listen to you and be a positive impact on the neighborhood. If the architect was here, they could speak more to the variance question.
01:15:00  How do you enforce the ban on AirBnb’s in the deed? Written into the deed, so enforced by the city. Lux Living will enforce against residents renting out their own units through the lease agreement. 

* Question remains unanswered, if Lux sells.

01:17:30 Comment: 

  • Developer should be here to answer questions
  • Should have more detailed information available about traffic and parking
  • Intersection at Oakland and Kingshighway is a no-left turn.  This caused a huge problem to Drury’s prior development
  • Traffic, noise, parking could lower property values
Difficulty contacting city officials to address Kingshighway/Oakland stoplight and traffic.  Will look into this more.
01:20:10 Can amenities be used by the neighborhood residents? Bistro will be available to everyone. Will have to ask the developers if the other amenities, like the pool or gym, can be used for a fee
01:21:15 Neighborhood has gotten too expensive. Doesn’t want big apartment building, wants less density, more affordable units Supply/demand means that more housing will reduce costs
01:23:30  Will sidewalks stay open on Kingshighway during construction? What happens to the bus stop at the end of Oakland? Will it stay open, and can it be improved as part of the building plan? Bus stop will be covered and protected during construction, but sidewalks will be closed.
Good idea to  talk to the developers about improving the bus stop.
01:24:56 Can there be a curb cut for the bus to pull over into? Can look into that
01:25:48 How will this development help us cut crime in the neighborhood? We can have security cameras in place around the building
01:26:07 Residents want to see a light/shade study to evaluate how sunlight will be affected by the building Can look into that/address at next meeting
01:28:33 Concerned that the building does not fit the (brick) aesthetic of the neighborhood We can look into different colors for the building. Maybe instead of white, we can do a reddish brown. Will look into it.
01:29:30 Where will construction workers park vehicles?  * Resident say there is no room for construction workers to park on the street due to overflow parking from the hospital/WashU Once the garage is complete, they will park there. Until then, they will park on the street  Lux Living can look into shuttling the workers to the site from another parking location. Construction guy can speak to that
01:30:57 Regarding building height: is 3 or 4 stories possible? No, not economically viable.  Will be market rate units.
01:32:54 Can the streets/alley around the building be repaved after construction is finished? Yes, that is possible for Lux Living to contribute, similar to what GreenStreet is Doing.

01:33:59  Alderwoman Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl

  • At this time seeking community input, hoping to summarize it, and bring back to community and developers by next meeting in October.  Too early to weigh in.

01:34:40 FPSENA President Dan Doelling

You can view a recording of the meeting on YouTube below.

The September 2021 meeting of the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association took place at Hot Java Bar in FPSE in order to hold an in-person community engagement session for LuxLiving’s Kingshighway development proposal. Representatives from LuxLiving outlined renderings and other impacts for the community to view and the FPSE NA will be holding a second community engagement meeting at the next regular meeting to answer additional questions.

You can download a PDF of this month’s minutes below.