Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Apartments' Amenities Will Court Gen Y; Cortona's 280 Units Will Fill out the Highlands Development, on the Site of the Former St. Louis Arena near Forest Park

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Apartments' Amenities Will Court Gen Y; Cortona's 280 Units Will Fill out the Highlands Development, on the Site of the Former St. Louis Arena near Forest Park

Article excerpt

Cortona, a 280-unit apartment complex under construction just south of Forest Park, gets its name from the picturesque Italian town that shared top billing with actress Diane Lane in the 2003 movie "Under the Tuscan Sun."

More pertinent to the St. Louis project, the hilltop town in Tuscany is the favorite Italian city of Steve Brown, a principal at Balke Brown Transwestern, developer of the Cortona apartments. He said site work has been under way for about two weeks.

The project, known fully as Cortona at Forest Park, will occupy the southwest corner of Balke Brown's 26-acre Highlands mixed-use development on the site of the former St. Louis Arena. In 1999, demolition charges flattened the "Old Barn," as it was known to Blues fans.

Two office buildings, two loft-apartment buildings, a hotel, a restaurant and medical offices now sit on the old site. A fourth office building is planned.

Balke Brown brought in Humphreys & Partners, a prolific design firm based in Dallas, as the Cortona's architect. The five-story building will have an exterior "reminiscent of an Italian villa," with earth-tone panels, the developer said.

When completed in early 2014, the Cortona will have nearly 200 one-bedroom apartments and 80 two-bedroom units. A large courtyard will have a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse, a saltwater swimming pool, an outdoor kitchen and a spa, the company said.

Balke Brown hopes the Cortona will attract Generation Y, the tech- savvy younger professionals who can afford nice apartments.

"Research shows that Gen Yers put a premium on flexibility and mobility," Brown said. "Many don't want to be tied down with the title to a house. They also enjoy settings that create the opportunity for the informal interaction that sets the stage for establishing new social relationships."

Available to residents will be a car-detailing service, a chef who will give cooking demonstrations and a leash-free pet park, Balke Brown said. …

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